Fresh faces for softball
Matt Gad—Sports Writer
The softball teams holds high expectations for this season, as this year’s squad features 10 underclassmen and what the team is calling a very deep lineup, one through nine.
Head coach Jillian Rispoli said the incoming class of athletes has already impressed her.
“We have a handful of fresh faces,” Rispoli said. “And those young kids have brought to the table an intense amount of talent – they are a phenomenal group offensively. This group of freshmen has so many different qualities and so many different weapons to bring to the game; they are really fun to watch.”
Along with the five freshmen the team acquired, catcher Jacqueline Dumont, outfielder Ally Petrella, infielders Liz DeRosa and Alexa Bacoulis and outfielder Ivy Geloso, the team also has some key returners that Rispoli is expecting significant contributions from.
“Our pitching has come a long way. Jazymn Martinez is a sophomore on the staff and she looks wonderful,” Rispoli said. “Every time we see her she is not just throwing but it is art; she has become that skilled with throwing her pitches and Kailey Westington just needs to bring it every day because she has the stuff and then seniors Madison Feshler and Delany Turner have the ability to get outs whenever they want them,” she said.
The team feels that its offense is much more complete this season and it should help them remain competitive in games, especially since they play exclusively doubleheaders in the regular season.
“We lost a lot of key position players last year – our starting shortstop, our starting catcher, our starting center fielder and one of our starting pitchers so that is definitely tough but the younger girls are doing a really good job coming in and filling those roles,” junior co-captain Sara Buscetto said. “One thing we have this year that we have not had since I have been here is a really strong hitting team top to bottom.”
She said that the bench players also consist of a lot of talent and depth that they can use when they need to, like to move runners over or to hit for average.
“We are a very strong offensive team at the plate and on the basepaths,” senior co-captain Madison Feshler said. “I have a lot of confidence in our offense this year and we also have the defense to win games.”
The way the team’s schedule is structured, they play a lot of games in a short time span. Starting with a spring break match-up against Rollins College. Every time they meet an opponent, at home or on the road, it will be for a doubleheader.
“It is a really long season. There are some really long days at the field, especially when we are traveling, but the goal is to do our best to mentally prepare for doubleheaders in advance,” Buscetto said.
The team is currently 1-3 throughout their four games played in Myrtle Beach, S.C, and after its six-game spring break stretch in Florida, the opening homestand will begin March 19 with LIU Post and continue with games against New Haven, Merrimack and Assumption College.
“The expectations are high because we play in such a competitive conference,” Rispoli said. “The NE10 is sending four to five teams to the regional tournament every year so we have to be prepared and we have to set the bar high because the competition is so fantastic.”
Last year the team went 11-31, but it was a three-game improvement over an eight-win year the previous spring.
“We want to lead [the underclassmen] so we do not get to those low points as often,” Buscetto said. “We want to win every inning, every pitch in every at-bat to really stay focused. We have a lot of young girls on a team of 16 so they have not really gone through the past two seasons so this is all brand new to them.”