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Softball's struggle-filled season comes to a close

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Tue, Apr 30th 2019 03:00 pm
Junior first base and third baseman Jessica Koneski drives a ball over the fence in the doubleheader against Potsdam.
Junior first base and third baseman Jessica Koneski drives a ball over the fence in the doubleheader against Potsdam.
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The doubleheader against Potsdam marked the end of the season for The College at Brockport softball team. The team ended the season on a losing streak that not only crushed its postseason hopes but placed it at the bottom of the SUNYAC standings. The season did not go as planned, but there were some positives to take away from it.

At the plate, junior infielder Meghan Cullen managed to hit .400 for the second straight year. Also, junior infielder Jessica Koneski hit seven home runs and drove in 33 runs this year, a career-high in both categories. In the circle, sophomore pitcher Julia Palopoli collected seven wins while recording a team-low 5.29 earned run average.

This week’s games were good opportunities for players to finish out their final stat lines of the year and for the team to figure out who will be contesting the starting lineup for next season. The games against St. John Fisher on Wednesday, April 24 and Potsdam on Saturday, April 27 did just that for Brockport.

St. John Fisher proved to be an obstacle too large for the Golden Eagles. The Cardinals tallied six runs in the first inning, which was enough to win the game. Brockport scored one run in the bottom of the first when junior outfielder Casey Danko blasted a solo home run. St. John Fisher tacked on five more runs in the top of the fourth to take an 11-1 lead. Brockport managed to score two runs in the bottom of the fifth as junior outfielder Lexi Abernathy doubled to score Cullen and freshman catcher Amanda Lucas. After the shortened game, Brockport was on the wrong end of an 11-3 contest.

The second game, which was also only five innings, did not go any better for Brockport. If anything, it was much worse. The Cardinals once again started the scoring by tallying one run in the first inning. They followed that up by scoring five runs in the third and six more in the fourth. The Golden Eagles’ bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth inning. A double by Lucas scored freshman infielder Cami Duggan and sophomore infielder Kacie Hubbard. Later in the frame, a single by Cullen drove in Lucas and Abernathy. St. John Fisher followed that up by scoring five more runs in the top of the fifth. Once again, the Cardinals dominated the Golden Eagles, this time by a score of 17-4.

Following the two games against St. John Fisher, Brockport desperately needed a confidence boost. Potsdam came into the series against the Golden Eagles as the only team in the SUNYAC without a conference win. Brockport did its best to keep the Bears winless in the doubleheader.

After Potsdam struck first in the first game, Brockport’s offense came alive. Down 1-0, Hubbard drove in senior infielder Morgan Flamholtz in the bottom of the second to tie the contest. In the next inning, Danko drove in a run and Flamholtz hit a two-run home run to give Brockport a 4-1 lead. Potsdam answered with three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to retake the lead. The Golden Eagles retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth off two solo home runs by Koneski and Flamholtz. Potsdam re-tied the game at six in the sixth inning, which set up a walk-off scenario for Brockport in the seventh. Junior infielder Allison Missavage singled in sophomore pitcher Maggie Dorgan, who was the winning run. Brockport kept Potsdam’s losing streak alive with a 7-6 victory.

Game two was not as favorable for the Golden Eagles as the first. The Bears struck first again, this time for two runs in the third inning. Brockport answered with two in the next half inning when Koneski hit her second home run of the series to tie the game. Potsdam scored three more in the top of the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead. There was no scoring the rest of the game and Brockport dropped another close game to a beatable team.

With the season ending, Brockport’s final overall record was 12—20 with a league record of 3—13. Not much went right for Brockport during the season, especially the pitching. Palopoli, the staff ace, has worked on her mental fortitude during the season and believes it will make her better next year.

“I’ve learned how to bounce back and get back at it after a tough game,” Palopoli said. “There’s always going to be tough outings, but you have to mentally pick yourself back up. I think if I just get stronger and carry that mentality into next year it’s going to get even better.”

Koneski, who will be a leading senior next year, found a communal aspect that she hopes the team takes away from the difficult season.

“One thing I learned is that you have to stay positive and finish the game,” Koneski said. “Each team in the SUNYAC is almost equal to one another and the teams that win are the ones that are able to finish the game. That means staying strong throughout each inning and all the way to the end of the seventh. As a team we struggled with that this year, so next year we need to finish the game and play hard every inning, every pitch, and even every at bat.”

The Golden Eagles’ only senior was Flamholtz, who enjoyed a productive season. Despite that loss, the rest of the roster is returning, which provides a lot of optimism for Brockport’s 2020 campaign.

Photo of the Week

Taken by Vincent Croce:
Staff Photographer

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