Softball fights hard for playoffs

The softball team is in an intense battle for a playoff spot after losing their last three games. The losses were not what the team or head coach Dave Sylvester were looking for. 

“This team is working hard and looking to peak at the end of the year,” Sylvester said. “We have an uphill battle left to make the playoffs, but I believe if we can win five games in the next eight games, we will make it to the SUNYACs.” 

Geneseo was only able to win three of the eight games, however, of which Sylvester spoke. Two of the wins came on the road at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Knights then dropped two games to the Buffalo State College Bengals. 

The team then sought two easy wins against low ranked SUNY Fredonia, but only managed to take the first of two games. Following the upsetting performance, the Knights then faced the Alfred University Saxons on the road; their struggles continued when the Knights lost both of those games. 

This set of losses was certainly a frustrating one for the Knights, as their conference record dropped to 6-8. Despite currently having a losing record, Geneseo is still on the hunt for a playoff spot. The current setup of the SUNYACs demonstrates the possibility for the Knights to snap a six—or even a five—seed in the playoffs, but the Knights need two things: wins and luck. 

The top six teams with the best conference record are granted a playoff spot in the SUNYACs. The Knights are currently sitting in seventh place, right ahead of SUNY Brockport, Fredonia and SUNY Potsdam in that order. Potsdam and Fredonia have both been eliminated from the playoffs, but are still a major threat—especially seeing as Fredonia served the Knights a loss on Sunday April 23. Buffalo holds the six seed, making the Knights’ two losses to the Bengals even more detrimental to their playoff hopes.

Looking ahead, the Knights do not have a particularly easy schedule. They host the SUNY Oswego Lakers on Friday April 28 at 3 p.m. and at 5 p.m. and then the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons on Saturday April 29. 

All four games are must-wins, none of which will be easy. The Lakers are in a tie for fourth place with a 9-5 record and the Red Dragons are comfortably at the top of the conference standings, only raking up one conference loss in their past 15 games.  

So what needs to happen? The Knights need to drive runners in. They are leaving too many players on base in crucial situations, which is causing them to win close ball games. The Knights have been shut out twice in conference play the entire season, showing that they are swinging the bats well, but ultimately failing to come up successful in clutch situations.

Seven of the 22 players on the team are batting above a .300 average. Geneseo’s pitching, too, has been top notch.

Not only is it important, however, that the Knights win—the other teams need to lose, too. The Bengals are the team the Knights are chasing; they will face SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday April 28 to wrap up their season. Realistically, the Bengals will rack up at least one win, making it that much more important for the Knights to secure victories. 

Geneseo’s chances of going to the SUNYACs, which begin on Thursday May 4, are not completely farfetched, but they are nowhere near secure.