Softball looks to improve, start rebuild with young core


Ed RudmanContributor

As the warmer weather starts transform the foliage and warm up campus, spring sports are beginning to gear up for the 2020 season. With a youthful roster, the softball team is looking forward to the new year’s campaign.

The Owls kicked off their 2020 season with a trip down to Myrtle Beach, S.C. where they played six games; the games were broken up into three double headers.

The Owls left Myrtle Beach with a record of 1-5, but head coach Jilian Rispoli said the team left with an optimistic attitude.

“We’re swinging the bats well, we’re making contact well, we’re on time, and those are things you expect to see later on in the year,” said Rispoli. “Some stuff we need to work on a bit is probably consistency on defense but that will come with time.”

Currently, there are only 11 players active on the roster due to some minor injuries, but Rispoli acknowledged this and said they would be back to full health in no time.

After six games, the Owls are hitting with a .273 team batting average and have driven in 15 RBI’s thus far. Out of 154 team at-bats, the Owls have struck out only 20 times.

Infielder and catcher Sara Buscetto, a senior who has spent four years with the team, during the time in Myrtle Beach, put up a batting average of .467 and an OPS of 1.219, a quick start to the 2020 season.

“I think we learned a lot about our offense and it gave the younger girls a chance to see the kind of competition we’ll be playing against all season,” said Buscetto. “We got to see a lot, like how our lineup worked, our runners, who could steal when, who can make it to from first to third on a base hit. All of that stuff.”

Out of 15 players on the roster, eight of them are underclassmen with less experience in the college ranks, so the Owls are more than happy to get them as much game time experience as they can before conference games start rolling in — the first NE10 matchup of the year comes on March 21 against Assumption, followed the day after by NE10 opponent American International, both at home.

One of the aspects of college ball that the younger players will have to get accustomed to is that of playing double headers, which outfielder Cailey Botteon, a junior, highlighted.

“[The games in South Carolina] gave the newcomers a chance to see what our season was going to be like because we did play two games a day and they were back to back, which is how it will be all season,” said Botteon. “It gave them a little taste of how that’s going to be.”

Looking forward into the season, the Owls do not play again until March 14 against Purdue Northwest, in which the team will travel down to Winter Haven, FL and play six games, similar to the first trip in Myrtle Beach.

When reflecting on the team, Rispoli said one big factor that comforts her is the amount of chemistry the team has achieved.

“I’ve been tremendously impressed with the amount of cohesion that kind of has happened over the last year,” said Rispoli. “I think our girls really rely on one another, make sure everyone is doing their jobs and to show up every day being productive.”

Photo Credit: http://www.southernctowls.com

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