Records don’t always tell the entire story.
Just look at last year’s women’s softball team who started out the season at 1-11. But, through the losing streak, the young team started to gel and finished the year by winning seven out of 10 games and concluded their streaky season by winning both games of a double-header at Skidmore College to capture the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association championship with a 6-2 record.
“We definitely accomplished our goals last season,” head coach Chris Shanley said. “I mean when you start out 1-11 you don’t have anywhere to go but up, we step it up a couple of notches and got ourselves a championship.”
And the team that won the UCAAs didn’t graduate any seniors last year and is in a good position to repeat again this season.
“We’re in a much better position than last year,” Shanley said. “We have good depth in positions, the girls exhibit a strong work ethic and almost everyone has game experience this year. Every sophomore currently playing pretty much played in every game last year.”
The team also added a good batch of recruits with either high school or summer ball experience.
Shanley and the softball team took that experience on the road to Florida again this spring to test their talent against some of the best Div. III softball programs. The team opened this year in much the same fashion it did last year, dropping six of eight games over spring break at the University Athletic Association Championships in Altamonte Springs.
While the 2-6 opening might not reflect it, the women played extremely well in Florida, sweeping Brandeis University and playing a close game with Washington University in St. Louis, ultimately losing 1-0.
The team played Washington tough, out-hitting them 5-4, but they ultimately couldn’t muster any offense against Washington pitcher Victoria Ramsey, who struck out six Yellowjackets in six innings of work. Washington scored on a single in the fifth inning to take the lead.
As bookends to the Washington heartbreaker, the team beat Brandeis.
“We really improved from our first to our last game down there,” senior third-base woman and captain Kristie Krivickas sad.
Shaley heralded the performance of three sophomores ? left fielder Liz Morrison, catcher Sara Dial and pitcher Melissa Adams during the trip.
Morrison was on fire in Florida, batting .500 in the tournament, while scoring two runs. Morrison started all 7 games of the tournament.
“I just had a really good couple of days down there,” Morrison said. “It was nice being outdoors in the warm weather. The conditions were really good.”
Dial was almost as hot, lacing 10 hits at an .455 average. She also hit her first career home run in the second vicotry over Brandeis.
Arms started five games and pitched over 29 innings on her way to a 1.89 ERA for the tournament. Last year, Arms finished with a 3.40 ERA and 31 strikeouts.
Both Shanley and Krivickas praised her performance.
“She pitched incredibly,” Krivickas said.
“I’m really proud of her,” Shanley said. “She did an unbelievable job. Her hard work in the off-season paid off.”
Shanley said what was most important for her young team was the outstanding leadership of Krivickas and senior shortstop Nelly Coats.
“Senior leadership is so crucial for making a young team successful,” Shanley said.
The team will play its first game in Saturday, March 30 at SUNY Geneseo at noon. On April 2, the Yellowjackets will host St. John Fisher at 3:30 p.m.
“It is going to be a very exciting [season],” Shanley said. “There should be a lot of good, competitive softball this year. On a broader scale, with our team being so young, we have the possibility of keeping this up for a couple years.”
Hildebrandt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.