The New Paltz Softball Team is currently off to a 9-7 start.
The Hawks began their season on Friday, March 4 in New Jersey and took a 12-8 and 11-1 back-to-back wins against Rutgers University. After those games, they traveled to Clermont, Florida and participated in a week-long tournament. They faced 12 different schools, including Utica, Clarkson, Alfred and Springfield and were 7-5 in the tournament.
On Friday, March 25, the Hawks had their first games back in New York against Farmingdale State. Unfortunately, New Paltz lost both games, 6-1 and 5-2, respectively. Despite the setback, there were many highlights.
“Florida was a good learning experience for what we need to improve upon as a team. We played well but there are definitely some aspects of the game that we can perform better,” said second-year shortstop Rhionna Bianchini.
The first game, which began at 3 p.m., saw many Hawks on base. The first New Paltz hit was during the top of the second. Third-year catcher Jessica Graepel singled to shortstop, followed by fourth-year left-fielder Carol Ann Campsey doubling to bring Graepel to third. Unfortunately, New Paltz could not capitalize and left them stranded on the bases.
During the bottom of the second, Farmingdale got their first two runs off of a double, an RBI single and by home plate being stolen.
First-year right-fielder Jackie Rometo had some action in the top of the third, singling to right center and advancing Bianchini to second base, who walked. Again, New Paltz could not take advantage of these base runners.
Farmingdale added two more of their runs in the bottom of the third, and their final two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
During the top of the fifth, New Paltz came together to stop Farmingdale from shutting them out. Rometo was the hero of the inning. She kicked it off with a single, then stole second. After that, she advanced to third on a wild pitch, and eventually managed to score on a Farmingdale error. The score was now, and would remain, 6-1.
A few hours later, at 5 p.m., New Paltz gave it another attempt and fared a little better. Farmingdale scored a run in the bottom of the second, but New Paltz quickly tied them during the top of the third. Fourth-year pitcher Katie Quagliana singled to left field, and made it to third on two wild pitches. Third-year second-basemen Madison Maggs then got an RBI single to tie the game.
“During the break between the Farmingdale games we talked about how we have to take advantage of the opportunities that we get throughout the games,” Bianchini said. “In addition, we talked about how we have to want to win and have the drive to succeed in order to produce the results that we are looking for. We also discussed how in the first game we were getting hits, but not with runners on base. So, in the next game we looked to improve upon having productive at bats with runners on.”
Sadly, the Hawks could not keep their lead, as the Rams had many hits to bring girls around the bases and even a homerun. New Paltz never gave up, though. During the top of the sixth, Campsey singled and advanced to scoring position. Second-year designated-hitter Kelly Marmorowski grounded out next, but the hit advanced Campsey to third. Finally, Graepel came in as a pinch-hitter and scored Campsey on a ground out.
“Although we lost the second game as well, I believe we made some of the improvements to make it a closer game,” Bianchini said.
From the game a few hous ago to this one, New Paltz tacked on another run, and managed to hold Farmingdale to one less. It’s clear that the Hawks were able to gather information and use it to make valuable corrections for the second game.
New Paltz has two more games before SUNYAC competition starts up.
“I think that we have the talent to succeed in the SUNYAC games that are approaching. I think that we are ready for the SUNYAC games and the games coming up this Wednesday against St. Joseph’s will give us a chance to make adjustments and corrections before playing our first conference game,” Bianchini said.