New Paltz Women’s Softball is Back Up To Bat

The New Paltz women's softball team is gearing up for a season of highs. Photo courtesy of Monica D'Ippolito.

In their 2024 campaign, the SUNY New Paltz Women’s Softball Team has been off to a hot start. After only 10 games, the team boasts an impressive 7-3 record, playing games all over the country, from Boston to Raleigh. 

On their trip to North Carolina to play the first games of the 2024 season, SUNY New Paltz went 3-1, defeating Oberlin College, Randolph College and William Peace University only falling to Pacific Lutheran University. Three days later, the Hawks headed north to play a doubleheader in Massachusetts, going 1-1 versus Smith College. 

Every game the team plays is important, but some are more highly anticipated than others, specifically, the weekend of March 16 and 17. 

“We started with Manhattanville, who is traditionally a powerhouse in their conference and Division III and we have Muhlenberg, who was 10-2 into going into our game,” said Head Coach Krysti Maronki. “[Also] NYU who is a great program and Salisbury [University], who is the defending national champs. So, every single game this weekend, I knew would be a test for us.”

Down in Maryland, the team participated in the Margie Knight Tournament, winning three out of their four scheduled games, their only loss being to Salisbury University. 

Reflecting on last year, the previous season was statistically the best season the Hawks have ever had. It was also the first with a 31-13 overall record and 16-2 in conference play. So, Coach Maronski and the team had a lot to play up to this season.

“We have kind of kept the same game plan,” said Maronski. “We like to add really competitive drills, game-like situations to our practices so that way we’re prepped for the games.”

Maronsky, who along with assistant coaches Rick Spriggs and Taylor LaFrance, earned Sandra Hollander SUNYAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors last season, said that the program is returning “a big nucleus” of their players from last season. However, a couple of fresh faces have taken the field as well. 

“I think the biggest thing [is] we have six freshmen and three transfers, so that’s a big group of newcomers,” said Maronsky. “You can have a team of really talented people, but if they don’t buy in and understand the concept that it’s a ‘team-first’ mentality, you may have some problems.”

Fourth-year captain Jillian Shelbourne is one of the veteran players on the team and led the Hawks during their initial few games, while reaching the accomplishment of 100 career hits during that time. 

“So far, our season is going really well, [and] in our non-conference games, we have been able to see what we have been doing well,” Shelbourne said. “But also we have been able to figure out what we need to work on more in practice before we start conference games.” 

Shelbourne, an All-SUNYAC Second Team pick from 2023, is one of the many key players on the roster. Other standouts include third-year outfielder Jackie Rometo, named the SUNYAC Player of the Year and SUNYAC Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2023, who led the team in seven statistical categories. Second-year infielder Jaycee Filancia will also return, an All-SUNYAC Second Team selection last season. But with a graduating class of three All-SUNYAC players, there was room for other players to step up — notably second-year infielder Kelsey O’Brien and fourth-year infielder Kelly Marmorowski.

Regarding Marmorowski, “She’s primarily our DP but she’s gone into catch some games to which has been really helpful,” said Moronsky. “Catching is a very physical, tough position…[and] her bat, she’s been getting up there taking her swings and she’s been seeing success because of that. It’s been really good to see her step up.”

O’Brien has been making strides both behind the plate and on the field. “She got some good time last year, but stepping into left field, it’s a new position for her,” said Moronsky. “The loss of Sydney Bonewit this year is definitely big on our outfield, but she’s done a really good job of learning the outfield position and having a really good approach at the plate as well.”

The Hawks pitching staff stands strong this season, with veteran players fourth-year Lindsay Roman and third-year Sydney Waldon returning. Roman was named SUNYAC Pitcher of the Year in the 2023 season; she pitched the lowest earned run average (ERA) in program history and struck out batters 110 times. Waldon was named to the All-SUNYAC Second Team and earned a 10-2 record with 63 strikeouts total. Joining them on the mound this year is second-year Alyssa Zangrilli, who transferred after playing a year at The College of Staten Island. 

The Hawks will be on the road for the next 10 games, until their home opener and first conference game on April 5, against SUNY Cortland. “As a team, we have been looking forward to playing some home games,” said Shelbourne. “We are away for all of our non-conference games, so we can’t wait to finally play on our home field.”

Not having a conference game for a few weeks, the Hawks have a lot of time to prepare for SUNYAC games. Last year the Hawks fell to Geneseo in the final game of the SUNYAC tournament, ending their championship run. But this year, the Hawks look to take the chip. 

“I have been looking forward to my senior season and hopefully ending my career with a SUNYAC Championship this season,” said Shelbourne.

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