Softball season has promising start, focuses on fundamentals

The Geneseo softball team was catching some sun and fly balls in Florida this spring break.

The Knights were hard at work in Clermont, Florida. as they began their 2018 spring season in a part of the country that is actually experiencing springtime conditions. 

Geneseo—amongst a large handful of northern schools that struggle to have favorable softball weather in March—saw a ton of field time over the span of spring break. The Knights played two games every day from March 10 to Friday March 16—totaling at 12 games. 

The playing schedule’s intensity proved no match to the women’s enthusiasm to return to the field.  

“We’ve been in the gym for six weeks now so it was really exciting to get on the field even if it was 12 games and an everyday thing,” sophomore first basemen Abbey Whitney said.

Despite playing so many games in such a short span of time, the women performed exceptionally well. The Knights were able to pull out 10 of 12 wins, five of which they mercy ruled their opponent, meaning that they secured at least a 10-run lead after the fifth inning. 

Of their two losses, one came against the University of New England Nor’Easters and the other came against the Amherst College Mammoths. 

The ball was certainly popping off the bats of Knights hitters last week as Geneseo managed to rack up a grand total of 120 hits. Geneseo also allowed just 34 runs over 12 games which, relative to their 86 runs scored, is nothing to worry about. 

The ground out/pop out ratio had most Geneseo batters keeping the ball on the ground. Although early in the season, this stat can be an indicator of a team hitting for average as opposed to a team hitting for power. In addition, the Knights were only able to hit a collective five home runs so far.

“Especially this year, we are focusing on keeping it simple and getting the base hits. All we do in practice is tee work and hitting up the middle,” Whitney said. “We aren’t aiming for the home runs, but when they happen it’s awesome. But for now, we are trying to not leave runners on base and do the clutch base hits that bring them in.”

Pitching also played a major role in the Knights’ success over the break. Veteran junior pitcher Taylor Moore maintained a 2.04 earned run average over 24 innings for Geneseo while sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Kersch rocked an impressive 0.41 ERA over 17.0 innings with 15 strikeouts. When combined with a stellar offense, great pitching has the ability to make or break a team. 

Not only did the trip allow for the team to work on mechanics, but it also allowed for the team to establish chemistry. With seven freshmen on the roster, the 2018 Knights team certainly has some new faces to get used to. 

“It’s a major bonding moment for the whole team, especially the upperclassmen getting to know the freshmen,” Whitney said. “There really are no breaks from each other so we get to really know each other.”

The Knights home opener is scheduled for Wednesday March 28 against the Alfred University Saxons, pending appropriate weather, beginning at 3 p.m.