Softball sees silver-lining at end of an upsetting season

Matt GadSports Writer

In a down year for the Owls on the softball field, junior infielder Sara Buscetto made history with 23 stolen bases, the most in a single-season in program history.

During the team’s final home game of the season, Buscetto achieved the mark with a steal of second base in the bottom of the third inning, giving her one more stolen base than Megan Caporossi in the 2009 season.

“Speed is always something you can’t teach,” Buscetto said. “So since I’ve been playing softball I’ve always tried to use it to my advantage. This year I think coach had more confidence in me so they gave me the green light to go when I felt like I could.”

Not only did Buscetto set a new single-season school record for her performance on the basepaths, but she also leads the NE10’s Southwest Division in that category, too.

“For her, it’s natural; it’s God-given speed. She gets a great jump off the bag and she slides very well into second base,” head coach Jill Rispoli said. “When she was growing up and working on it she constantly went to the back corner [of the base] to make sure she stretched out the defensive player at second base.”

Buscetto stole 13 bases  her sophomore year and just one stolen base as a freshman, but really got to her mark this year, pushing herself into fifth on the all-time list in that category and going past Khristle Lee’s 32 stolen bases from the 2008-2010 seasons.

“I really didn’t even know I was close to the [all-time] stolen base record until I saw it written up and [then] I started applying the pressure,” she said.

Next season, the team will get Buscetto’s speed back, as well as the bat of freshman infielder Alexa Bacoulis, who is currently in the top five for batting average in the entire league.

Bacoulis, who hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning of the Owls’ thriller over Le Moyne on April 13, has scored 17 runs this year and also has 37 hits and 14 RBI.

“For me, it’s really just about putting the ball in play and doing what I can for the team,” Bacoulis said. “It’s really just watching the ball come in and trying to make contact.”

In the 4-2 loss over Pace, she finished with a hit, a walk and two RBI as she got the start at third base, driving in the Owls’ only two runs of the game.

“Personally, I know I make some mental errors so I need to adjust and learn from [my] coaches,” she said.

Eleven of the team’s 15 players are underclassmen, which keeps Rispoli very excited about heading into the future.

“We just try to keep talking about all the good things that are happening,” she said. “We want [the underclassmen] to learn from these experiences and these opportunities to grow from every game and every at-bat so by the time they’re seniors, we’ve reversed this record.”

This year, the team was limited to just two wins at home and seven overall, but with so many doubleheaders and games in consecutive days, the focus is kept more on the positives, not the negatives.

“You have to realize that this is a game of ups and downs. We just try to  keep it positive as much as possible and focus on the things that we’ve been doing well, like defense and pitching, to just keep humming along because the hitting is gonna come along eventually,” Rispoli said.

The Owls, who finished up the season over the weekend with games at Saint Rose, in Albany, N.Y., know that they are only losing two players to graduation next month and that most of the team will be the same next spring.

“We have two girls leaving, [Madison Freshler and Delany Turner], obviously both extremely important for our pitching staff, but other than that the rest of our defense is back,” said Buscetto. “So next year hopefully it’s only up and our record improves and then after I’m gone [after next season] I hope they continue to do big things.”

Photo Credit: Will Aliou

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