Spring is officially here. The sun was out, base path drawn and softballs flying at Vic Raschi Field in Geneseo on Sunday April 2, as the Knights hosted the SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles, coming out victorious.
In the doubleheader, the Knights were finally able to play their first home game after multiple events were postponed due to inclement weather. Since conditions aren’t favorable for softball until mid-April in this area, many teams including Geneseo are forced to play doubleheaders to make up for the lack of games.
Not being able to practice on an actual field certainly has its disadvantages, but senior infielder Abby Dennett said that the team has been able to cope with the situation.
“We practice six out of seven days in a week, with an off day on Sunday. We start our formal practices in mid-January each year and we are typically found practicing inside the gym on campus for the first month or two,” Dennett said in an email interview.
When it comes to softball, the qualities of strength, agility and accuracy are important for success—and all three of those things do not require a field.
Another disadvantage the Knights have seemed to overcome was the loss of several upperclassmen. As a matter of fact, there are only seven returning juniors and seniors, leaving Geneseo with a very young team.
The age difference can sometimes be an issue with teams, but the women have managed to find a special balance and chemistry.
“At this point in the season, our team chemistry feels really special,” Dennett said. “We all love coming to practice each day to work together and a lot of nights we hang out with each other outside of practice and games.”
With all those struggles averted, the Knights moved into conference play against the Golden Eagles and came out successful. In game one of two, sophomore pitcher Taylor Moore pitched a shutout, giving up only three hits to the Brockport offense. Sophomore outfielder Danni Napoli hit a solo homerun and senior outfielder Alyssa Presutti knocked in a RBI in Geneseo’s 2-0 victory over Brockport.
Game two of the doubleheader was a little more intense for Geneseo fans, however, as the Knights trailed by two going into the fifth. With only three innings left to make a move, the Knights tied the ballgame on Napoli’s sacrifice RBI and a sophomore catcher Anna Merante homerun in the fifth.
Geneseo was able to keep the game tied into the seventh. Freshman outfielder Abbey Whitney was called to pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh and became the hero of the night, singling in Napoli for a Knights walk-off win.
The women added another two victories to their record after defeating Nazareth College in a doubleheader on Wednesday April 5.
Despite having a few obstacles during pre-season, the women have begun to come together and prove that Geneseo has a strong softball program, too. Dennett summed up their dynamic perfectly by stating, “Combining the younger player’s drive and eagerness with the older player’s experience and wisdom has made a really special dynamic on our team.”