Softball Swings Into New Season

The Hawks finished 20-18 last season and are hoping to improve this spring.
The Hawks finished 20-18 last season and are hoping to improve this spring.

The last thing the softball team’s  Head Coach Denise Marchese wants anyone to think is that her team will not perform to standard because they are in a “building year.”

“They call it a building year and I hate that,” said Marchese. “It’s a cop-out. It is a building year but it’s not an excuse not to do well. I think our secret weapon is going to be what we have in our lineup.”

After a 2010 spring season that saw the Hawks go 20-18 overall, the team is ready to jump back into the game starting over spring break.

Last season the team parted ways with seven fourth-year students who were described as a “very hard-working, very talented” group of players. Marchese said that the team exceeded expectations last year and that they plan to do the same thing for spring 2011.

“We finished sixth in the conference, which is actually higher than what we were picked to finish,” said Marchese. “We were picked to finish eighth, so we actually did qualify for the SUNYAC tournament and we played really well there.”

Marchese is entering her second season as head coach for the Women’s Softball team. She was assistant coach at a Division I school (Connecticut State) and in her first season as head coach she lead the team to their best record in program history. Marchese said she and the team are looking to go even further this season then they did last.

There are many question marks that surround the team’s roster. This season, the team welcomes five first-year students and two transfer students who are looking to make a large impact for the team. The excitement from these players is apparent, both in manner and determination to get onto the field and start playing.

“We’re really looking to get a contribution from all of our new players,” said Marchese. “As far as the freshmen, we definitely have a few key players who we’re expecting contribution from. I would say Chelsea Kull is going to do very well for us defensively and her offensive projection is very high and she’s a very good hitter.”

Kull, a shortstop and second baseman, arrives this season as an MSG Varsity Scholarship recipient with a milieu of accolades from her high school career. Kull said she is excited to contribute to the team this season.

“I’m really excited to get started,” said Kull. “We’ve been working really hard, using live situation plays and getting into that mentality that we need to have so we don’t lose our focus during games.”

Other first-year students who will make contributions to the team are pitcher Melissa Kump and infielder Alyssa Quartuccio.

“I’m really excited for the trip that we’re going to be taking to Florida soon,” said Quartuccio. “I already know that it’s going to be great…I also know that if I had gone to another school, it wouldn’t have been as awesome. The team and coach are great and I couldn’t be happier here at New Paltz.”

The team will travel to Florida over spring break to compete in Clairmont. The tournament is described as being more competitive than the tournament they competed in last season over spring break, but Marchese and her team are more than ready to take on schools such as Tufts University, Hope College and MIT.

“They’re a really great group of kids,” said Marchese. “Hands down, people are not going to expect us coming and we’re going to surprise a lot of people with the talent level that we have and the competitiveness that we’re going to bring to every game.”