Softball Ends Road Trip with Doubleheader Sweep

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The softball team is currently pushing for a playoff spot with four games left in the regular season.

The Hawks split doubleheaders against The College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 and seek to move up in the conference standings.

They currently sit in fifth place in the State University of New York Athletic Conference standings (SUNYAC). The top six teams make the 2016 SUNYAC Tournament, which will be held from Thursday, May 5 to Saturday, May 7.

Hawks head coach Brittany Robinson said she looks to see consistency in the last few games in order to make the playoffs.

“We just didn’t have focus for both games in the doubleheaders,” Robinson said. “We played really well one game and played terrible in the other game, so we just need to figure out how to put two wins together.”

Prior to the doubleheader against The College at Brockport, New Paltz had lost their previous nine games played against the Golden Eagles.

The first game saw the Hawks jump out to an early lead, as first-year shortstop Taylor LaFrance came home on an error. However, the Golden Eagles countered with a six-run second, with a two-run sacrifice fly giving the home team a 6-1 lead.

In the fourth inning, Hawks third-year designated player Nicole DeCosta cut into the lead with a two-run home run to make it a 6-3 game. Brockport extended the lead to four with an RBI single from fourth-year designated player Amanda Yuhas in the fifth.

An RBI single by second-year right fielder Danielle Bruno brought the Hawks deficit back to three in the top of the sixth, but Brockport closed the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out the victory.

After losing their 10th straight to the Golden Eagles, New Paltz responded in game two with a six-run fourth inning. Six different Hawks crossed the plate in the fourth en route to a 9-1 win in six innings.

New Paltz scored the first four runs off errors by the Golden Eagles, then second-year third baseman Alexa Mastando drove in two more after hitting a triple down the left-field line.

Hawks first-year second baseman Shannon Fee plated one run in the fifth off a sacrifice fly before New Paltz scored two unearned runs on miscues in the sixth to grab a 9-0 advantage. Brockport scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to bring the score to 9-1, but were unable to get any closer, as the Hawks managed to split the series.

DeCosta said that the team did not play their best in the first game against Brockport, but was happy with the turnout in the second game.

“I think we really need to buckle down and play the game like we know how to,” DeCosta said. “We have to remember that it is a game and that we know how to do the simple things and make routine plays in order to win.”

The Hawks carried their momentum into the doubleheader against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, April 23, winning the first game with another nine-run performance.

New Paltz scored in three different innings, and had another strong performance from fourth-year pitcher Katie Rutcofsky to grab the win.

The second inning saw LaFrance drive in a run followed by a bases-loaded walk by fourth-year catcher Jordan Fiore. After Geneseo recorded an out, Bruno scored on an error and third-year center fielder Fallon Spriggs finished the scoring outburst with a bases-loaded walk of her own.

Geneseo cut into the lead with two runs in the fourth, but the Hawks quickly responded with a two-run fifth, with runs from Bruno and Fiore to extend the lead to 7-2. The Knights were unable to comeback as New Paltz scored two more in the seventh with RBIs from Fiore and second-year left fielder Julia Perhacs.

Rutcofsky notched her 10th win of the season by giving up only one earned run and three hits, while striking out three.

“Katie [Rutcofsky] has pitched great,” Robinson said. “We challenged her towards the middle of the season to do better and she has stepped up to the plate and performed well.”

Geneseo bounced back in game two by exploding for 14 hits, with the Knights using a seven-run fifth to claim the victory.

However, the game was back-and-forth until then, as the Knights built a 3-1 lead early in the game. The Hawks answered back in the top of the fifth with a two-run home run by Perhacs.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Knights responded with seven runs off six hits, and finished their scoring outburst after first-year center fielder Alyssa Persich stole home to give the Knights the 10-3 win on their home turf.

On Wednesday, April 27, the Hawks swept the doubleheader against SUNY Potsdam. Both games went to extra innings.

Spriggs hit a home run in each game and broke Gina Marotta’s all-time program home run record (12) with her 13th of the season. Marotta set the former record of 12 from 1995-98.

The team will conclude their season over the weekend at home against SUNY Oswego on Friday, April 29 and SUNY Cortland on Saturday, April 30. New Paltz has an overall record of 17-14 and 8-6 conference tally. Oswego is looking to sneak into the playoffs as they are currently tied for the sixth and final seed.

“We have to mentally prepare for the weekend and know how important the games are,” DeCosta said. “Especially for our seniors, it will be the last time they play a game on our field in New Paltz and it’s something that will help us push to get a few wins this weekend.”