Baseball and Softball finish off preseasons

Matt GadSports Writer

Preseason game activity for the baseball and softball programs has come to a close after baseball played three games this fall and softball played seven.

“[Last] Saturday finished our traditional fall season and now we just have some skills, so we do two hours of baseball a week on the field and that’s kind of where we’re at until just after Thanksgiving,” baseball head coach Tim Shea said. “January 10 we start back up, full speed ahead.”

The Owls hosted UConn-Avery Point, Yale and the Community College of Rhode Island at the Ballpark this fall, in planned 18-inning games, as a way to face some outside competition as they look for what they need to build on and what they may need to correct before the regular-season starts creeping up.

“It gives us an opportunity to see everyone in a live setting against guys other than ourselves. Obviously, there’s a little bit more competitiveness; we’re hitting off of different arms and able to work on some stuff in practice against outside competition; win or lose, it’s all about getting reps and evaluating our guys,” Shea said.

They also hosted their annual alumni game prior to opening their fall slate and recently played a seven-inning “Halloween Game,” where players dressed up and played in full costumes in a bit of an intrasquad environment.

“We’re really just in our offseason now,” Shea said. We still do some strength and conditioning stuff and then there’s a week off for final exams and then we’re back January 10 and going full blown.”

On the softball side, head coach Jillian Rispoli said they started their preseason with a week of practice and then they played games this fall against Brandeis University, Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Bridgeport, Post University and the “City Series” with Quinnipiac, Yale and the University of New Haven.

“It was a lot of fun,” Rispoli said. “The whole fall was enlightening; it was nice to see the girls mesh together and start to gel as a team, and for the younger girls to step up into roles and do the things that we thought that they’d do when we were recruiting them.”

Baseball usually plays the “City Series” as well, but Yale Field’s infield is currently being dug up for the installment of a turf playing surface. Rispoli said they played the series for softball this year over at Quinnipiac rather than at Yale because there is also construction going on there.

After softball went 8-27 last season Rispoli said 12 student-athletes graduated so “we lost a huge chunk of people,” but noted that they brought in six freshmen and one sophomore who walked on when an extra spot became available.

“We [now] have a young squad but they’re talented, athletic, smart [and have a] great softball IQ. We usually keep the roster around 17 and we were able to bring one more kid in. She’s a lefty slapper . . . very strong, fast, athletic and a great kid; [she’s] always smiling.”

Rispoli said every year is a new year and they can turn the page and just work on the little things. The baseball and softball schedules will be released shortly; all baseball home games take place at the Ballpark and all softball home games are at Pelz Field.

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