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Brockport softball's toughest challenge: the schedule

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Tue, Apr 9th 2019 09:00 pm
Sophomore middle infielder Kacie Hubbard takes a small step to load up on an incoming pitch from the New Paltz pitcher.
Sophomore middle infielder Kacie Hubbard takes a small step to load up on an incoming pitch from the New Paltz pitcher.
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Baseball and softball seasons are often said to be long and strenuous, and The College at Brockport softball team has begun to figure that out. After playing 10 games in five days in Fort Meyers, FL, the team started a long stretch of games in New York. Beginning with the doubleheader against New Paltz on March 30, the Golden Eagles will play 16 games in 15 days. Of the 16 games, 12 will be against fellow SUNYAC opponents. The stretch will go a long way to determining how the team’s season will turnout.

This past week, Brockport played six games, including four conference games. Brockport took on D’Youville College on Wednesday, April 3, Fredonia on Friday, April 5 and Buffalo State on Saturday, April 6. The four games against Fredonia and Buffalo State were in enemy territory.

The difficult stretch has the team intent on keeping its focus. Junior infielder Meghan Cullen understands that the season is long and will provide ups and downs for her and her teammates.

“With such a long, but short, season, it’s important for us to push through and do our best,” Cullen said. “Softball is a huge mental game, so we just have to do our best to stay focused and want every pitch.”

The Golden Eagles started their week off strong against D’Youville. Brockport won the first game by a score of 7-3. Cullen and junior infielder Allison Missavage each drove in two runs in the contest. Sophomore pitcher Julia Palopoli threw a complete game and racked up seven strikeouts. 

Game two brought similar fortunes for the Golden Eagles. The final score was closer, but a different group of players did the damage. Junior infielder Jessica Koneski, senior infielder Morgan Flamholtz and junior outfielder Casey Danko all drove in multiple runs in the contest to secure a Brockport victory, 10-9.

The matchup with Fredonia proved to be much more competitive. The Golden Eagles were able to strike first in game one. They kept their foot on the gas and cruised to an 8-1 victory. Sophomore infielder Kacie Hubbard and junior outfielder Aren Schwab knocked in two runs apiece for Brockport. Once again, Palopoli dominated in the circle, throwing a complete game and striking out four.

The second game against Fredonia brought about the beginning of a losing streak. Fredonia was able to reverse the theme from the game before and strike first. The Devils scored four runs in the first inning, and Brockport eventually answered in the fourth to tie it. After the Golden Eagles took the lead by one in the sixth, Fredonia struck for four more. Brockport would end up losing by a score of 8-5. Cullen drove in four of the five runs in the game.

Buffalo State ended up being a tougher test than originally expected. The Bengals offense was pesky all day, testing the resilience of Brockport’s pitching staff. Palopoli did not have her A-game against Buffalo State, allowing six runs during two innings of work. Freshman pitcher Cheyenne Wilson relieved Palopoli in the third inning with the bases loaded and allowed all the runs to score. After the third, Brockport was down 7-1. The Golden Eagles scored four runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth, tying the game. Wilson promptly allowed the Bengals to score a go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth. The game ended with a score of 8-7. Cullen, Koneski and Missavage all drove in two runs in the losing effort.

The second game brought about the same heartbreak for Brockport as the first. Cullen, Missavage and Schwab all drove in runs in the first inning to give the Golden Eagles an early 4-0 lead. Freshman pitcher Megan Van Dorn did her best to make it hold up. She allowed two runs in the third and one in the sixth to give Brockport a one-run lead heading into the seventh inning. The Bengals figured out Van Dorn in the bottom half of the seventh and two runs scored on a single gave Buffalo State a 5-4 win in walk-off fashion.

After the tough end to the week, Brockport will look to put an end to the heartbreaking losses. Palopoli believes that, despite the collapses at the end of the week, the pitching staff competed and did its best to win.

“I thought, overall, the pitching staff competed hard,” Palopoli said. “We had a few tough innings this weekend, but other than that our staff had a very strong performance. Being that our season always gets crammed into multiple games a week, we have to make sure that we stay up and tough each game to stay fresh. Each game is a new one so you cannot carry what happened last game into a new one. We must have a stronger mentality to be able to compete at this level day in and day out. As a staff, we simply have to learn to finish strong.”

Brockport will endure another six games, this time in a matter of four days. The Golden Eagles play Wednesday, April 10, against Nazareth at home, Cortland visits Brockport on Friday, April 12 and Oswego comes to play the next day. The games against Oswego will be the team’s Pink Game.