Today: Apr 23, 2024

Softball prepares for a new season

Dillon Flanigan- Sports Editor

With an equal mix of seasoned veterans and incoming freshmen, the softball team brings a wealth of experience to the diamond this season. 

“No matter if you are a first year, senior, grad student, we are all here to do one thing, to get a job done,” starting pitcher Jessica Perucki, a graduate, said. “It was an easy decision for me to return because athletically our program has a little bit of unfinished business.” 

After back-to-back seasons under five hundred, the Owls are looking to take the next step as a complete and more experienced unit. 

Everyone performing up to the level they are expected to be is a tall task to answer, but multiple players are poised for breakout seasons.  

It seems whether it is baseball or softball or any sport in between, defense is a must. Projected starting centerfielder Emily Lange, a senior, is presumed to be tasked with patrolling center. But not only does the outfield defense need to be cleaned up, so does the infield. 

Projected starting shortstop Nadia Cestari, a sophomore, is expected to take the next step defensively. “I think she is poised to explode defensively,” Head Coach Jillian Rispoli said. “That is what we need from her. We need her to be a great shortstop.” 

Cestari can lean on her double play partner, second baseman Katrina Roy, a senior. Roy took a leap offensively last season from two years ago. Her average is up, as are her hits and walks compared to her strikeouts, which have trended downwards. 

Experience is key this season, as there are several younger players returning after a season under their belt. One, starting pitcher Ashley Lewis, a sophomore, has a year of starting under the watchful eye of Perucki. 

“I am not worried about Ashley Lewis in the slightest bit,” Rispoli said. “I think she is going to be a stellar pitcher for us. She is good at what she does.” 

Rispoli echoes the sentiments on the experienced pitching staff led by Perucki. Followed by Perucki and Lewis, Rachael Miller, a senior, and Madison Pryor and Dominique DeLutri, juniors. However, as DeLutri can contribute to the stable of arms, she is in competition with Nicole Spinelli, a freshman, for the starting first baseman role. 

“I had a lot of help from Dominique DeLutri,” Spinelli said. “She’s kind of led me in a path where I am learning new things, even if it is little technical things like where to move on certain plays and stuff like that.” 

As DeLutri assists Spinelli in her defensive play, the calendar will shed another year or two before Spinelli ascends the experience ladder. She, like other freshmen today, will be looked upon to lead their group a few years from now. 

Though, as the Owls put on their spikes, they understand they might not swing for fences but take one base at a time. The graduates and seniors currently have experienced the lowest of the lows with COVID-19 and the highest of the highs of an NE10 Tournament run in 2021. 

Four years later, win, lose or draw this season, the upperclassmen have one clear message to their younger teammates. Have fun and stay in the moment. Enjoy today and the future tomorrow. 

“I have realized more this year that one day I am not able to play this game,” Roy said. “So, focus more on having fun, and put your best attitude forward rather than focusing on something that is not really going to matter three months from now.” 

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