It’s that time of year again. The snow is melting, flowers are blooming and it’s time to play ball!
Last season, the Hawks finished with a 18-20 record. However a solid in-conference record of 10-8 placed them fifth in the conference, clinching them a State University of New York (SUNYAC) tournament berth.
That is where their season would end, falling in back to back games on May 4 to SUNY Oswego by a score of 3-2 and to SUNY Oneonta by a score of 14-5, respectively.
The New Paltz women’s softball team opened the 2018 season with four games this weekend at the Virginia Weslyan Beach Blast in Virginia Beach.
The Hawks games consisted of a pair of double headers on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10, respectively.
Their season began with a dominant 16-6 victory over Allegheny College on Friday at 12 p.m. Third-year shortstop Taylor LaFrance did her part, going 3-6 while also driving in four runs.
The Hawks followed their dominant effort later that day at 2 p.m. with their only loss of the weekend. A 14-5 defeat to Frostburg State University.
On Saturday, March 10, the Hawks continued their winning ways, defeating Hunter College by a score of 12-4 at 10 a.m.
LaFrance continued her hot hitting, smacking a double and two singles, while second-years Caroline Alicandri and Julia Dispigna tallied three hits and two RBI’s and three hits and four RBIs, respectively.
The Hawks closed out the opening weekend of the 2018 season with a dramatic 5-4 walk-off victory against SUNY Cobleskill.
After battling back and forth all afternoon, fourth-year Lauren Cappello came up clutch with a two-run, walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Fourth-year outfielder Taylor Leonette is proud of the teams start to the season.
“As a team we are off to a great start this season,” Leonette said. “However, in order to reach our full potential we need to keep up the focus and intensity that we displayed this weekend.”
Even this early in the season, Hawks head coach Samantha Miller is always looking for ways to help her players grow and improve.
“I’m a true believer that if you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing,” she said. “I hold high standards for our team so I am always looking for new drills, warm-ups, visualization techniques, etc. We have brought in a mental and visual performance trainer this year, Tony Abbatine, who also trains the U.S. women’s national softball team.”
As a fourth-year student, pitcher Lauren Cappello feels it’s time for her to take a leadership role and “help [her] team reach [their] full potential [by helping the] younger pitchers get used to college ball.”
With regard the teams approach to the 2018 season, coach Miller feels that her player’s passion is key.
“If anything else has changed [since last season], it is the positive atmosphere and 21 student-athletes with a ton of pride and heart. It is the belief in their own abilities that will fuel success for this season.”