Today: Jun 17, 2024

Softball season preview

Avery Martin Contributor

For Coach Jillian Rispoli, what makes the Southern Connecticut State University 2023 softball team capable of going far is their “great defense”. Coach Rispoli has drilled into the importance of making good defensive plays. She hopes it will get the team many wins. 

Ally Petrella, a fifth year outfielder, and Emily Lange, a junior outfielder agree. Both athletes also recognize the importance of being bonded as a team. Their mid-March trip to Florida will serve not only as an opportunity to play many teams from across the country in a “spring training” atmosphere but, also to help the athletes grow closer together.  

In Florida, the Owls will face IUP, Shepherd, Wayne State, Alliance, Molloy, University of Mary, Indianapolis and Slippery Rock. All of these games will count as part of the regular season and will take place over eight days. Lange and Petrella say that living together as a team during this time is an unconventional way to bond and learn more about each other. 

Lange said, “We are definitely looking forward to our Florida trip, it is a great way to start the season and it is great bonding time for us. Basically we are together for eight days straight”.  

“The Florida trip is a highlight every year, to get to play in really nice weather, the best we play in all year,” said Petrella. 

“One thing we promote with our coaches is hammering in our team work ethic. Wether that is at the plate, on the bases, or in the field we are always cheering for each other” says Lange. 

Petrella adds that if Lanage were to replace her in a game, she would “become her biggest fan from the bench”.  

Last year was full of ups and downs for the Owls. The team recorded 18 wins, 21 loses, and one tie. They made it to the Northeast 10 (NE10) Conference Championship. There, they beat Pace Univeristy, but fell to Southern New Hampshire University. 

There are 21 athletes on the team this year, all dedicated to getting Southern as far as possible in the conference championship. The owls were picked to finish seventh in the 2022 Northeast 10 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, announced by the NE10 on Jan. 17. 

As for expectations this season, Petrella says for her it is “definitely making it into another NE10 tournament in May and hopefully get further this time”. 

Besides looking forward to a great defense, Coach Rispoli is expecting to see “a great infield. They are going to be ‘lights out’, just really great. They will be the anchors of this team. We also have some really solid players in the outfield. There is so many things to be proud of with this team. Another goal is to have some great pitching to look at”.,Rispoli said.  

When asked what fans can expect to see at games, Coach Rispoli said, “You are going to see a lot of strength, a lot of fly ball and ground ball outs. That is really this team’s MO. You will also see some really great pitching”. 

Petrella says she is looking forward to her last season. “I am just excited to get out there and play with the team” she said.  

Another important player this year is Jaqueline Dumont. The catcher is returning from the 2022 season with All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. She is the first player in nearly a decade to be named to the All-Region team. Dumont led the NE10 in batting average, while ranking in the top five in other categories. 

Rispoli hopes Dumont will help propel the team forward.  

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