Softball team looking for answers
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
The Southern softball team is going through a bit of a rough patch. At 3-12 and with just one conference win, the Owls are just looking to build momentum.
“There are growing pains because we have a bit of a young team,” head coach Jillian Rispoli said. “We just have to learn to play with one another. It’s a matter of being comfortable.”
It was a mixed bag in Florida over spring break, where Southern won just two games, a 3-0 contest and a 9-1 game that was shortened to six innings, both to Franklin Pierce, and both in Clermont, Fla. Their entire spring trip took place there, facing off against schools like Truman State, Nova Southeastern, Pace University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
March 29 against Pace, in their home opener at Pelz Field, the Owls lost 4-1. They were due to open up at home March 25, but rain postponed two with Saint Michael’s and two March 6 with Saint Anselm, as well.
“I just think we need to execute earlier,” Jaime Conklin said. “We need to go faster than waiting until the last part of the game.”
In the seventh, Southern tried to set something up, but it went for not, and the Owls’ last baserunner was called out at first, despite heavy disapproval from the crowd. Earlier in the contest, the umpires also ran into a bizarre turn of events where a Pace baserunner was forced out at third prior to her teammate crossing the plate. The play resulted in two outs being called, much to the dismay of Pace’s head coach.
That landed up being an inning-ending double play, however, the Owls were not able to string that newfound momentum together. Southern finished with five hits and the lone run, while their opponent scored four times on six hits and no errors.
“We need to be comfortable seeing pitches and putting together quality at-bats,” Rispoli said. “It’s more of an on-the-field chemistry issue, and the only way to get better is to play games and see live-pitching.”
She said her players just want to prove that they are ready to win some big conference games. April 2nd’s come-from-behind 3-0 win at American International College should spark some momentum – it was Southern’s first conference win of the season. Today they play Adelphi at Pelz Field at both 2 and 4:30 p.m, and April 7 have another doubleheader against Dominican College, which is also at home.
The Owls have 13 seniors this year: Brooke Franco, Giuliana D’Archangelo, Jaime Conklin, Yesenia Evaristo, Arianne Tedeschi, Danielle Piazza, Zoe Fanolis, Carissa Wasikowski, Lauren Yaffa, Samantha Peltier, Jodi DiSanto, Arianna Medeiros and Holly Noe.
Last season, the team went 12-27, including 4-16 in-conference, still getting key wins to the likes of Saint Michael’s, Holy Family and Dowling College, to name a few. Back in 2013, the Owls went 32-22, a .593 winning percentage, and went 14-7 in the NE-10. A long season, Southern reached the Division II NCAA Tournament Regionals, going 1-2 keyed by defeating Caldwell by a final of 3-2 before falling to the likes of Molloy (5-3 in eight) and Caldwell again (3-2, eight innings).
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications