Teamwork. Responsibility. Commitment. Keri O’Meara, head coach of the Wellesley College softball team, lists those as some of the values she tries to instill in her players. When she talks about Emilyrose Havrilla ’15, you can hear O’Meara checking off those three values in her mind.
Havrilla has anchored the Wellesley infield as shortstop for the last four years, and the team has flourished under her watch: In Havrilla’s junior year, the Blue won the NEWMAC conference championship—thanks in large part to a clutch home run by Havrilla to catapult Wellesley over Smith College in the championship game—and clinched the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. Havrilla earned 2014 NEWMAC Player of the Year honors for her effort: She ran up a .433/.470/.758 line at the plate (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage), including a team-leading 41 runs, 10 home runs, and 34 RBIs.
“Emilyrose has become an outstanding shortstop,” O’Meara says, “and she’s probably one of the best players to have come through our program. I continue to be impressed with her every day, mostly because of her work ethic. She clocks additional hours all the time. She’ll go on her own to hit off a tee, for example. She’s very driven, very determined, very motivated to be the best player she can be, and her hard work has really paid off.”
Havrilla explains her motivation simply. “My teammates have told me that they’ve never met anyone who loves this game as much as I do,” she says. “I never want it to end. I never want to stop taking ground balls. So I guess my role on the team is to get everyone to enjoy playing as much as I do, and to not take one pitch for granted. It’s gone by so quickly, and I’ve tried to give it my all and set an example for my teammates.”
This year, as a senior, she was able to check off another of O’Meara’s values: leadership. Havrilla helped power the Blue back into the NEWMAC tournament, highlighted by a two-run double she hit in a late-season conference game against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. “The team looks up to her,” O’Meara says. “The team respects her as a strong leader, and as someone they want to be like as they continue their careers at Wellesley.”
Havrilla will apply the values she learned playing softball at Wellesley this fall when she begins graduate school: The psychology major plans to study for her doctorate and have a career researching autism and other developmental disorders. “I’ve learned a lot about softball,” she says, “but the program has given me so much more than just the skill set I learned on the field. I’ve learned so much about communication, about how to speak to people, and about how to care about and for other people. I’m so happy, and I’m so proud to have played my best and done everything I could.”