Softball begins a hopeful 2017 season

The Geneseo softball team escaped the brutal New York weather and enjoyed some time in Florida, where they played multiple games against teams from around the country. The women saw success as they left with a record of 7-3. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

While New York State residents dealt with the blistering winds, frigid temperatures and enormous snow fall, the Geneseo softball team kicked off their season with warm weather in Florida. 

The softball team strives to have another above 500 season. Geneseo finished with a 25-17 record and recorded a .309 team batting average in the spring of 2016. Additionally, the Knights went deep into the playoffs, eventually losing to the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons, who went on to win the entire tournament. 

For the fifth consecutive season, head coach David Sylvester will be at the reigns, who also serves as the principal at York Central School District’s middle and high school. The team has shown improvement under Sylvester, where in 2015 he led the women to a 28-12 season—the most wins the organization had achieved since the 2004 season. Although last season was successful, yes, the women look to do even more this year. 

Of the Knights returning this season, one key player to their team is sophomore infielder/outfielder Danni Napoli, who was the only Geneseo player to represent the school on the 2016 SUNYAC Softball All-Conference First Team. Napoli batted .436 with 22 runs batted for the 2015-16 season and is already off to a hot start, exiting the team’s games in Florida with a .348 batting average. 

The Knights will also be welcoming back seniors outfielder Alyssa Presutti, senior infielder Abby Dennett, catcher Taylor Knowles and pitcher/infielder Alexis Kidder. Additionally, the Knights had a very strong recruitment class, as they picked up nine new players. 

So how did Geneseo do in Florida? Considering their matchups, they performed pretty well. The team went 7-3, putting up some impressive numbers in a few games. Geneseo faced the United States Coast Guard Academy to kick off the season and only gave up one run—all the while tacking on seven. Sophomore outfielder Alyssa Persich and sophomore third baseman Anna Merante both went three for four, while pitcher Taylor Moore pitched to the tune of a one-run shutout. 

Moore had an even more impressive start on March 12 against the Lancaster Bible College Chargers; Moore gave up only one hit to the Chargers, and the Knights went on to win the game 5-0. 

Although the Knights had some great feats in Florida, they also had their share of poor performances. Geneseo struggled against the Susquehana University River Hawks twice, but kept the score close in their first game, as they only lost by a 5-3 score. 

Their second matchup with Susquehana, however, was a complete blowout. The Knights desperately tried to switch up their lineup in an attempt to get at least one run on the board, but their efforts failed in the end. Only managing three hits, Geneseo fell 11-0 in their second meeting against the River Hawks.

With the Florida games behind them, the Knights look ahead to colder temperatures and conference play. Geneseo will host the 9-3 University of Rochester Yellowjackets in a doubleheader on Saturday March 25. Although the Knights are not in the same division as Rochester, the matchup is sure to be a good one. 

Game one begins at 3 p.m. and game two will start at 5 p.m.