With warmer temperatures and clearer skies right around the corner, Geneseo softball is ready for its first local games of the 2018 season.
The Knights spent spring break in Florida, where they played 12 games in the span of six days. The women had an impressive outing in the sunshine state, only losing two games, one of which came at the bats of nationally ranked Amherst College. With spring break over, the Knights are now looking forward to getting in some games on their home diamond, according to senior infielder Claire VanNewkirk.
“We’re more than ready to begin the rest of our season,” VanNewkirk said. “We’re really excited about the success we had in Florida, and we can’t wait to transition it into our conference play.”
While the Knights were looking sharp in Florida, they have not had the chance to play a game since then. Geneseo’s team is well equipped to handle inclement weather, and does not let the cold and snow stand in the way of training.
“We spend a lot of time in the gym working on fundamental basics,” VanNewkirk said. “It is always difficult because we can’t adequately practice everything we need to, but any day that we had remotely nice weather we would go out on the turf to work specifically on those things.
VanNewkirk, entering her fourth year on the team, mentioned how important turf is when preparing for the regular season. The Knights had the luxury of practicing on their home diamond last week in anticipation of their home opener against Alfred University on Wednesday March 28. The women fell 2-1 to Alfred on their home turf.
Women’s softball has undergone changes in the lineup this year that could excite fans. After losing a group of players who graduated in 2017, Geneseo worked during the offseason to recruit players from every corner of the state. The Knights added seven players, including two pitchers, two outfielders and three infielders, most of whom can play various positions.
Although fresh talent might be exciting, it means the team must overcome the “young and inexperienced” tag. The Knights only have two veteran seniors—VanNewkirk and infielder Tori Fahie. Despite the absence of other obvious leaders, there are multiple other players who will take on leadership roles. Junior pitcher Taylor Moore shot the lights out last season and has shown similar signs of success early this season. Additionally, sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Kersch and sophomore catcher Taylor Fedor have similarly boasted astonishing numbers in pitching and hitting, respectively.
“As a senior I am most excited about the talent this team possesses,” VanNewkirk said. “We had an incredible start to our season, and I can’t wait to show it off in conference games.”
The Geneseo softball program has struggled over the past few years, missing out on the conference championships since 2002, but VanNewkirk remains optimistic about the Knights’ chances this year.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time, but I expect us to make a run at SUNYAC playoffs this year,” VanNewkirk said.
The Knights will head up north to take on the SUNY Potsdam Bears on Friday March 30 and the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals on Saturday March 31.