The softball team scored themselves a ticket to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) playoffs after a solid sweep over Buffalo State on Sunday, beating the Bengals 4-1 and 12-5 to finish the regular season.
“We’ve really been trying to improve upon our offensive game,” said Hawks head coach Krysti Maronski. “We’ve been getting really good pitching from Emily [Fox] and Katie [Quagliana] all season with a quality defense, and I think we just have to keep rolling.”
New Paltz got a late start in the first game with Buffalo State, as the Bengals held a 1-0 advantage until the fourth inning, where an RBI double to right center by third-year first baseman Kelsey Trudden put the Hawks even at one. Fourth-year shortstop Taylor LaFrance followed with a home run to left field that brought two runners across the plate, giving New Paltz the lead 3-1. A final RBI single in the seventh by second-year third baseman Ashley Puig gave the Hawks their first win of the day, 4-1.
The Hawks weren’t going home without a second win, pushing hard in the second and fourth innings to get ahead of Buffalo State 6-0. A solid two-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth put the Bengals back in the game, but a sixth inning home run by second-year outfielder Julia DiSpiglia pushed New Paltz’s offense forward, grabbing an 11-2 lead with multiple rallies to take full momentum headed into the final innings.
Buffalo State came back in the sixth with a home run drive to left center, followed by a single that brought two runners home. Going into the seventh inning, third-year utility Meagan Blair hit a sacrifice fly out to left field that let first-year pitcher Katie Quagliana score and secure the win for the Hawks 12-5.
“We just had really good at bats, and I think that we were seeing the ball and hitting very well at the plate in Buffalo this weekend,” Maronski said. “We were just playing some good softball.”
The Hawks started the weekend with a series split against SUNY Fredonia on the road. With two steals of home and a solid two-RBI single to left field by second-year outfielder Celia Santini, New Paltz found itself up 4-1 in the fifth inning against the Blue Devils.
Fredonia, unfortunately, came back in the seventh inning and scored three runs, tying up the game 4-4. A throwing error in the field led to the crucial run the Blue Devils needed, leaving the Hawks down 5-4 to end the first fame.
“In the [first] game against Fredonia, I don’t think we did the best job adjusting to the weather and slower pitching. It was very cold that day and hard for a lot of us to stay warm,” Puig said. “I think outside causes like these prevented us from jumping on the pitcher early and stringing along a lot of hits and runs.”
The second game against Fredonia fared better for the Hawks, with a double by Puig putting the Hawks up first 1-0. In the second inning, the Hawks increased their lead to six with a double by Quagliana and a grand slam by DiSpiglia.
Another home run by first-year outfielder Nikki Bowen in the fifth inning and numerous line drive singles to the outfield secured the win for the Hawks 12-1, though the game ended after five innings due to lack of sunlight.
The sweep over Buffalo gave the softball team the advantage they needed to earn a playoff spot for SUNYAC. The girls will face off against SUNY Oneonta at Cortland on Thursday, May 2 at 1 p.m.