First-year SUNY New Paltz softball pitcher Erika Traina was awarded New Paltz Female Athlete of the Week on April 16, following the Hawks’ 3-0 victory over Western Connecticut State University (WSCU).
On April 15, Traina threw a two-hit shutout against WCSU, being the driving force that placed the Hawks on top of their opponent. The game gave Traina a 1-1 record on the season.
Traina said it was exciting to be named athlete of the week, as she didn’t expect to be honored as a first-year student. Head Coach Denise Marchese, however, was not surprised by Traina’s achievement.
Marchese said Traina expects good things from herself, and the coaching staff expects results from her as well.
“I was more confident in myself that game,” Traina said. “I went in with an attitude like I had nothing to lose. I was going to try my best and whatever happened, happened.”
The entire team rallied together for the game and had a “really good feeling overall,” Traina said.
Marchese said the Hawks were confident that they were going to play WCSU up.
Traina said college pitching is “way different” than her experiences at Bay Shore High School, located on Long Island. She said since joining the Hawks, she has gained experience from her coach and older players.
Traina said her coach is very positive and taught her to think from a hitter’s perspective when pitching, which helps her know what to throw and when.
“She is very coachable,” Marchese said. “We’re constantly challenging her and supporting her progress.”
The upperclassmen also play a part in her growth, Traina said. Veteran pitchers on the team have experience pitching to certain batters from past games, so they’ll communicate to Traina what they notice about the batters. Instead of being competitive among the other pitchers on the team, they all strive to help one another, Traina said.
Marchese also said the other pitchers help Traina’s improvement.
“[The upperclassmen] are absolutely wonderful role models. They’re great kids, great support and a great example of hard work,” Marchese said. “They give constant encouragement to get the job done.”
Traina said her best moment in the season was during the game against WCSU, where she struck three batters out to end an inning. The Lady Hawks scored their three runs of the game in that same inning.
Next season, Traina said she needs to work on staying ahead in the count. She said she would rather have fewer pitches and more hits than simply racking up strikes. In addition, Traina said she wants to put the ball in play more, but still provide her team with easy plays.
“This sets the bar,” Traina said. “Hopefully I keep at that level and not go down.”