By Michael Battista
The softball team opened their season last Sunday, March 8, with a doubleheader in Salisbury, Md. taking both an impressive win over SUNY Cortland by a score of 5-1 and a disappointing loss to Salisbury University, 12-1.
The Lions came into the games wanting a fresh start from last year’s rough season and were able to show significant improvement in their first game against the Cortland Red Dragons. Junior pitcher Ashtin Helmer took the mound for the team and put on an impressive display, holding the Dragons to only four hits over seven innings.
Helmer was very happy with the work of her team in the field.
“I couldn’t be more happy with our performance both defensively and offensively against Cortland,” she said. “Everyone did executed their jobs perfectly.”
Speaking of the offense, the team was able to get eight hits during the game with players like junior Steph Vuono and freshman Bria Bartsch, both of which helped the team score three runs in the first. The remaining runs were scored by junior Jamie Purcell in the seventh, whose single up the left side helped bring in a run, and Bartsch again, who brought in two more runs in the seventh.
Helmer says this first game success was all about the team coming together.
“We all synced together for the first game,” she said. “I knew that any ball hit would be properly fielded. This really gave me confidence and allowed me to throw all my pitches fearlessly.”
This newly “synced” Lion’s team was able to come away with a 5-1 win, and looked ahead to their next game against Salisbury University, which took place immediately after in a double-header.
Junior pitcher Katie Hourihan started off the game for the team and knew the Sea Gulls were going to be a tough opponent.
“I knew the Salisbury lineup would be a challenge to throw to,” she said. “They’re a great team and are super aggressive.”
That aggression was shown right away as the Gulls were able to score six runs in the first, and scored in every single inning after that.
The defensive performance by Salisbury was also commendable, as they kept the Lion’s to one hit and only one run in the entire game, as they picked up 12 runs.
The Lion’s tried to keep the game going by scoring in the top of the fifth, but since they were still down by over 10 runs, the game was called due to the mercy rule.
The team has to look past this loss and toward their upcoming spring trip in Clermont, Fla. The team will have games starting on Saturday, March 14, against Concordia University Wisconsin and SUNY Oneonta and will have six more games over the next five days down there.
Hourihan says that she isn’t worried about the team lingering on the past.
“I have no doubt that the team will be able to bounce back from the tough game,” she said. “We just need to stay aggressive and focus on the little things, like catching and throwing. I know we can be successful, and going forward, we just need to stay confident and make the basic plays.”