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Softball suffers minor setback after hot start

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Wed, Apr 3rd 2019 02:00 pm
The College at Brockport women's softball team stands in uniform for a group picture.
The College at Brockport women's softball team stands in uniform for a group picture.

As seen in past seasons, the College at Brockport softball team typically banks on a good beginning to propel the team forward. This season, the team got off to a scorching hot start. While last year’s team showed that a solid open is not indicative of a strong finish, there is still optimism this time around. Everyone has an extra year of experience and wide-eyed, talented freshmen are looking to fill holes left by graduated seniors.

This year, Brockport used its annual trip to Fort Myers, Florida to get off to a start even better than last year’s team. Despite only playing 10 games instead of 14, the Golden Eagles still managed to win seven games. Brockport’s offense was rampant through most of the week. The Golden Eagles averaged a whopping 7.4 runs per game, which included games of 19 and 14 runs against Crown College and Knox College, respectively. Junior outfielder Casey Danko and junior infielder Jessica Koneski both clubbed two home runs during the week. Danko also led the team with 13 runs batted in. Behind the fantastic offense, the Golden Eagle pitching made sure the runs translated into wins.

While their earned run averages are not sterling, sophomore Julia Palopoli and freshman Cheyenne Wilson battled through a long week. Both pitchers logged close to 30 innings and combined for five complete games. They got off to a rough start but were able to reel it back in toward the end of the week. Palopoli and Wilson each started two of the last four games in Florida and did not give up more than three runs in any of them. The pitchers’ emergence toward the end allowed the Golden Eagles to round out a great week.

Leaving Florida with a 7—3 record would make a lot of people on the team happy, but senior infielder Morgan Flamholtz said that the team was also able to turn its bond off the field into success on the field.

“Spring break gave us a chance to mesh as a team,” Flamholtz said. “We were able to become stronger together and bring that confidence back to New York.”

Once arriving back to New York, Brockport had two doubleheaders against SUNYAC opponents to prepare for. The Golden Eagles traveled to Oneonta and New Paltz to play, but the games against Oneonta were postponed. The doubleheader against New Paltz still provided Brockport with a challenge it had not seen in Florida.

The one test the Golden Eagles did not see on its spring break trip was a league opponent. The intensity for SUNYAC games is higher than non-conference games and can push a team to its limits, which was reflected during this doubleheader.

Brockport started the first game off strong, with Koneski driving in junior infielder Meghan Cullen and Danko. The game remained 2-0 until the sixth inning, when Flamholtz drove in freshman catcher Mandi Lucas. Palopoli, who started the game in the circle, was unable to complete her shutout by losing the strike zone in the bottom half of the sixth. After recording an out, she allowed a hit and walked three batters, forcing in a run. Wilson came in to relieve her and allowed one of the remaining runners to score. New Paltz managed to tie it in the seventh inning to send the game to extras. The Hawks won the game 4-3 in the eighth inning when freshman pitcher Katie Quagliana singled off Wilson.

Despite not winning the game, Brockport’s pitching was strong for the majority of the game. Palopoli managed to record three strikeouts and only allow one run over her 5.1 innings of work. She attributed her good day to a few different factors.

“It’s all about feeling good and just having a good mental attitude,” Palopoli said. “Every game I go in with a clear head and just focus on getting the job done no matter what team. Today I felt good and I was able to move the ball around to keep them off balance. My defense played great behind me and the coaches called a great game.”

In the second game, New Paltz used its momentum from the dramatic win in game one to put Brockport on its heels early. The Hawks scored four runs in the first inning, one in the fourth and two in the fifth, all off Wilson. The Brockport offense was unable to launch a serious comeback effort, and the final score ended up at 7-4.

Brockport has two more SUNYAC doubleheaders this upcoming weekend. On Friday, April 5, the Golden Eagles travel to take on Buffalo State. The next day, Saturday, April 6, Brockport visits Fredonia.

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