The Plattsburgh State softball team recorded another strong season, posting a 10-8 SUNYAC Conference record that qualified the team for the SUNYAC tournament where the Cards were eliminated in the third day to Cortland.
“They needed to focus on winning one game at a time,” said Stephanie Conroy, head coach, about the team’s focus going into the tournament. “Every game we played, we put ourselves in a position to win, that’s really all I could ask for. They stayed together as a team, they picked each other up, they represented the program well.”
The fifth-seeded Cards played their last game in the tournament over the course of two days. PSUC ended day one trailing the Cortland Red Dragons 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning before rain prevented any further play. With three outs remaining, the Cards entered the game the next day determined to the extend their season.
The seniors stepped up with the season on the line as outfielder Dominique Zummo and first baseman Kelsey Gage provided the offense to extend the game to extra innings. PSUC survived two consecutive innings with bases loaded by the Red Dragons before Senior first baseman Skyler Hoyt hit a single and RBI, winning the game for Cortland in walk-off fashion.
Conroy was pleased with how the team played over the two days despite being eliminated.
“We were given an inning, and we ended up playing four.” she said. “Whatever the situation was, we were going to fight no matter what. When we did play, we definitely took advantage of that opportunity.”
Conroy felt the team was missing a timely hit; something she thought the team was in need of all season.
“That’s the one thing we needed all season.” Conroy said. “Every loss we had, we left people on base. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to control that, no matter how much positive attitude or effort you put into it, there’s nothing else you can do.”
The Cards left the tournament with two Cardinals, juniors catcher Jennifer Groat and second baseman Anna Fisher, earning All-Tournament Team honors.
PSUC will lose eight graduating players going into next season who include major pieces of the team, such as right-handed pitchers Katie Pitkin and Taylor Smith and outfielders Dominique Zummo and Amanda Tantillo.
Conroy knows she’ll have to retool for next season but is confident her current upperclassman can take over.
“It’s going to be a different looking program,” she said, “but I think we still have a good core of upperclassmen.”
The Cards’ coaching staff has four incoming freshman committed to playing next season. Conroy is looking for flexibility across the board from her team, and that will extend to the rookies. She’s also looking for her incoming seniors to assume more of a leadership role.
PSUC’s season began with an unexpected setback in reigning co-rookie of the year Ashley Agans’ left acl injury. The catcher would ultimately miss the entire season, meaning the Cards would lose a .410 batter who had 50 hits, 42 RBIs and 7 home runs last season.
Conroy is excited for Agans’ return to the batting line-up, believing she adds another offensive weapon alongside Groat.
“She brings that timely hit,” Conroy said. “She’s a solid hitter for us. I think the one thing she’ll be able to bring back is she knows how it feels to not play, so hopefully she’ll be a bit more motivated to do everything she can and more.”
Conroy’s looking forward to next season as her team will compete for a second SUNYAC title under her tenure, but will miss the graduating senior class.
“[The senior class] is a great group of kids,” she said. “They played hard for me for four years. I’m looking forward to seeing what the upcoming senior class will do because they have the potential to do even more.”
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