The softball team is off to a 2-10 start to their season after a series of games in Clermont, Florida from Thursday, March 21 to Saturday, March 25.
“It’s still early so I think we are just really trying to focus on staying positive, capitalizing on the little things and really trying to keep getting better each day,” fourth-year catcher Nicole DeCosta said. “Ultimately we did not leave our spring break trip with a desirable record, but it was still a really good learning experience with ample opportunities for growth.”
The Hawks earned their first victory of the season against Hendrix College on Tuesday, March 21 by a score of 6-5 in a nine-inning contest.
New Paltz held a 4-0 lead going into the seventh inning, but the Warriors tied the game 4-4 highlighted by a game-tying two-run triple from fourth-year third baseman Sydney Ozersky. Third-year third baseman Alexa Mastando gave New Paltz the lead in the top of the eighth with an RBI single. Hendrix tied the game in their half of the eighth on another game-tying triple by second-year pitcher Dasha Donahoe. Hawks second-year second baseman Shannon Fee broke the tie in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI single and in the bottom half of the inning third-year pitcher Lauren Cappello retired the side in order to preserve the victory.
Hawks second-year shortstop Taylor LaFrance and fourth-year center fielder Fallon Spriggs each went 2-for-4 on the day, with LaFrance recording a double and an RBI. Fourth-year pitcher Kiersten Carlomagno tossed the first 6 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs while striking out one. Cappello earned the victory pitching the last 2 1/3 innings, giving up just one unearned run on one hit while striking out one.
“We battled to the very end,” DeCosta said. “Our pitchers threw a great game and our defense and offense showed up and came through in extremely clutch situations. This game it all came together and there were a lot of positives that we can take away from the game.”
New Paltz won their second game of the season on Friday, March 24 against Colby College by a score of 8-0 in six innings. Cappello tossed six shutout innings in the circle, giving up only five hits while striking out six.
Offensively, third-year outfielder Taylor Leonette led the way with a 3-for-4 performance, scoring three runs and stealing two bases. Cappello helped her own cause by going 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a stolen base. Fee also enjoyed a 2-for-2 day with a double and two RBIs, while fourth-year catcher Nicole DeCosta went 2-for-3 with two triples and two RBIs.
During the trip, the Hawks had the chance to attend a University of Florida softball game and assistant coach Jennifer Rocha spoke to the New Paltz players following the Gators’ 8-0 victory over the University of South Florida.
“She is one of the biggest names in college softball,” Hawks head coach Samantha Miller said. “She put emphasis on what it takes to be a good teammate, how consistency in games is key and then she gave us a tour of their stadium, their dugout, locker room and we were able to take pictures in front of their national championship billboard. It was an experience that we will not forget as a team and I was happy that each one of the girls was able to take away something different from the experience.”
The Hawks will next start up State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play against SUNY Plattsburgh on Monday, April 3 and SUNY Potsdam the following day with both contests being held at Frozen Ropes Training Center in Chester, New York.
“As conference play approaches, we are hungrier than ever,” Miller said. “Our team returned with a champion’s attitude and they are working even harder to be the best they can be. We are breaking down each position and fixing the mistakes that we made in Florida.”