After finishing the season with the most wins and best record in program history, the softball team’s historic season came to an end May 3 in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) championship tournament after losing twice to SUNY Geneseo 4-3 and Oswego State 6-3.
The Hawks came out firing in the first day of the tournament, fighting tooth and nail with SUNY Oneonta to pull out a 7-6 victory and stay in the winners bracket. The two losses in the double-elimination tournament bounced New Paltz out however, ending the 2019 campaign with an overall record of 26-12 while finishing 12-6 in the SUNYAC.
Oneonta put the Hawks in a tough position in the first game of the weekend, scoring a crooked number in the top of the first inning to go up 4-0. New Paltz quickly answered to stay in the game with second-year third baseman and utility Ashley Puig getting the scoring started off of an error. Third-year utility and first baseman Kelsey Trudden knocked in two more runs off an RBI single, and the Hawks were suddenly back in it down 4-3.
With both teams going quiet in the second and third innings, SUNY New Paltz tied the game in the fourth inning off an RBI single by fourth-year outfielder and second baseman Shannon Fee to even things at four.
The Hawks fought to get another run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but ultimately left three runners on base to go scoreless. The Red Dragons answered in the top of the sixth inning, grabbing two runs off an error and RBI single to go up 6-4 with six outs remaining.
Puig, who was red-hot for New Paltz down the stretch this year, came up with her clutchest moment in the sixth inning, blasting a three-RBI double to give the Hawks the 7-6 lead. Second-year pitcher Emily Fox shut the door in the seventh inning, giving New Paltz the much needed victory to start the weekend off.
In a full out pitchers duel against SUNY Geneseo in game two of the tournament, the Hawks were the first to score in the top of the fifth inning when Puig knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly and third-year catcher and third baseman Michaela Damore followed with a two-RBI single to put SUNY New Paltz up 3-0. The cushion was short lived however, as the Knights came right back in the bottom half of the inning with two runs to stay in the game down 3-2.
With the Hawks only three outs away from victory, New Paltz gave up the tying run on a double that later resulted in a run off a muffed throw. SUNY Geneseo would walk-off on another bad toss on a ball hit right back to the pitcher, taking the matchup 4-3 and putting the Hawks against the ropes.
Oswego State put New Paltz in a tough position early in game three of the tournament, taking a commanding 4-0 lead. The Hawks chipped away however, scoring a run in the third inning off a single by third-year outfielder Julia DiSpigna, a run in the fourth off a Fee single and another in sixth off a single by Damore to come behind 4-3.
The Lakers shattered New Paltz’s hopes in the seventh inning, scoring two runs off a home run to seal the 6-3 victory and knock the Hawks out of the playoffs.
First-year coach Krysti Maronski will be graduating three players after the historic 2019 campaign. Fee, fourth-year catcher Madison Rappold and third-year outfielder Nicole DePaola all end their careers as Hawks with the best season in program history.