The Plattsburgh State softball team (26-15, 13-5 SUNYAC) continued their impressive season by advancing to the next round of the SUNYAC playoffs with a 6-2 victory over New Paltz in the Cardinals’ first playoff game since 2013.
After surrendering two runs in the top-half of the fourth inning, the Cards responded immediately in the home-half of the fourth by tallying all six of their runs, capped off by freshman catcher Jennifer Groat’s grand slam with two outs to break the 2-2 tie, which ultimately decided the game.
“We definitely worked hard to get here, and we just want to focus on one game at a time,” head coach Stephanie Conroy said in regard to clinching the number two seed for SUNYACs.
After a grueling two season dry spell from the playoffs, PSUC knew it had to ramp up their scouting after consecutive unsatisfying seasons in order to get back on top.
“They’ve worked extremely hard,” Conroy said. “We knew they were going to be a great freshmen class. They’re very talented, and I worked hard recruiting them, so we’re seeing the things that we thought would happen now pay off for us, but I am proud of them for living up to their expectations.”
Throughout the season, the Cards have used one game to propel them into the next, and PSUC’s regular season finale did just that by sweeping Potsdam in two competitive one-run affairs, 2-1 and 4-3.
During the second matchup against the Bears, Groat once again proved herself to be a consistent and timely hitter in her first season at PSUC and was the entire offense in the 4-3 victory over the Bears, with a run-scoring double in the third inning and a three-run homerun in the fifth.
“I’ve learned that it’s really good to have a short-term memory, to stay focused on what is coming next and to not worry about what happened in the last play or at-bat,” Groat said.
Senior pitcher Morgan Anderson, who picked up a complete-game victory on her senior day and a season best nine strikeouts, has a ton of confidence in her teammates behind her whenever she is on the mound.
“We mesh really well as a team, and being on the mound never makes me nervous when a ball is hit to someone,” Anderson said. “I trust the whole team because we work so well together.”
These wins propelled the Cards into the playoffs on a high note, which also carried them to victory over New Paltz in their first game of the playoffs.
“We played them earlier in the season,” Anderson said before the game against New Paltz. “We already know what they can do, and they know what we can do, so we just have to bring our best game.”
PSUC will carry this momentum onward throughout the playoffs by continuing to perform as a powerful and cohesive unit during practices and as well as in the games.
“We’re a different team than the last time we faced New Paltz, but there are definitely positives to having played them again,” Conroy said before PSUC’s first playoff game.
The Cards have proved themselves all year that they are contenders and deserve to be at the top of the SUNYAC standings. This season is undoubtedly the turn-around PSUC needed in order to stay optimistic for the future of this softball program.
Following the victory over New Paltz, PSUC is locked in for another playoff battle today against Geneseo at 11 a.m. in Cortland, New York.
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com