Softball ready for big season after No. 2 NJAC ranking

The College’s softball team was projected as the No. 2 team in the NJAC preseason poll. In a tight race where each of the top four teams received two first-place votes, the Lions received three first-place ballots. Head coach Sally Miller will be eying her 450th career win this season. In her 17th season as the coach of the softball team, she is only nine wins short.

“We have several goals for this year, and if we play together and stay healthy I believe all of them are attainable,” junior shortstop Ashley Sogluizzo said. “Our first goal is to open up in Florida with a very strong showing then to win the NJAC, and then our region which would get us to nationals.”

The team looks ready for another strong season as it comes back with a number of veteran starters. The Lions will look to return this year with two prominent fixtures in the outfield, All-NJAC first-teamer Crystal Lee, senior left fielder, and junior center fielder Liz Huttner, a second-team All-NJAC selection. Huttner led the team last season with a .358 batting average, while Lee posted a league-high 33 stolen bases.

“We have a solid team defensively and dominating pitchers,” Lee said. “We just need to really focus on hitting consistently throughout the lineup so that we can be even more of a threat to our competitors offensively.”

Senior Lauren Fitzsimmons returns on the pitcher’s circle after posting a team-high 12 wins last season. Also returning to the mound is sophomore Alex Carisone who had a very strong freshman campaign last year, winning nine games en route to an All-NJAC second-team selection. The staff will receive a boost from experienced senior catcher Michelle Kent, who has started 143 games in her collegiate career.

The Lions softball team also returns a strong core in the infield, including junior third baseman and first team All-NJAC selection Kelly Hommen, veteran shortstop Ashley Sogluizzo and senior first baseman Katelyn Congilose.

“We were fortunate to only lose two seniors from last year’s team and add a few talented freshman to complete the roster,” Sogluizzo said. “Going position by position we can compete with anybody.”

The team will be opening the season with a string of 10 straight games in Florida beginning on March 5 against Misericordia University and Elizabethtown College. Their first home game will be on Saturday, March 24 against SUNY Cortland.