Sunday, September 19, 2021

Cardinals enter season ranked seventh

The Plattsburgh State softball team and last year’s SUNYAC quarterfinalists return this season younger and ranked seventh out of 10 in the SUNYAC. 

This year, the Cardinals had to overcome a lot of changes from the prior season. Nine-year head coach Stephanie Conroy stepped down at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester with a 204-151 record.  

Her assistant coach, John Flynn, took the head coaching job after Conroy. He said he was ready for the job after serving as assistant coach for two years. 

He wants to change the culture for the softball girls and make it a successful year and have fun with his team.  

Senior Jennifer Groat said, “We are really young and people aren’t really expecting a lot from us.”  

Pitching was a concern walking into the 2019 season. Flynn did not doubt his team at all despite being ranked seventh out of 10 in the preseason poll.

“So people aren’t really expecting a lot out of us, which we like,” Flynn said. “We play hard, and we don’t roll over. This team is gritty. This team has a little bit of an attitude. The senior girls are tough girls, they don’t like to lose.”

Seniors Kaitlyn Preiss and Jennifer Groat, stepped up this season by taking on the task of learning to pitch.  

“The joke was that I always wanted to pitch, but our coach last year said maybe for Senior Day,” Preiss said. “It’s kind of been a running joke up until this year.”

Flynn was very excited for his seniors this year.  He expects a lot from them on the field and in practice, and he also asks them to be leaders for the younger girls. 

Their pitching team added two freshmen to the mix this year in Elliana Bowlen and Hannah Furest.

“They are a really good group of seniors. They know that being such a young team that they needed to kind of step up, and they all have stepped up to help us,” Bowlen said.  “They are really positive with the lower classmen and they really helped prepare us.” 

Flynn commented on the freshmen pitchers by saying, “They both did really well for being freshmen, and I was excited that they did as well as they did.”

 The Cards started off the year by going down to Kissimmee, Florida, where they competed for a total of 14 games in 10 days, coming home with a 6-8 record.  

Senior Anna Fisher said the team came together over spring break and made a statement that they would not go down without a fight. 

“In Florida,” Fisher explained, “we were such a close team.” 

Flynn could not say enough positive things about their Florida trip.  

“I said, ‘How many people thought we would do as well as we did down here when we left Plattsburgh?’’ and not one person raised their hands,” Flynn said. “So everybody was really excited that we did that good. So that was a good feeling.”

Coming back from Florida, sophomore Bella Spadinger was awarded SUNYAC’s Player of the Week.  

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it because Florida is just getting back into the swing of things,” Spadinger said about her award.  “I was just surprised honestly.”  

Her teammates were just as proud of her. 

“I love that for her,” junior first baseman Haleigh Agans said. “It’s good to see her shining.”

PSUC is off to a strong start this season and the seniors are excited to pass their knowledge on to their younger team.

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