Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cards maintaining focus during stretch

The Plattsburgh State softball team hit a slight bump in its season playing against Oswego and Cortland this past week.

The Cardinals went 1-3 in the first stand on their home field. They split their opening series against the Oswego Lakers, but were swept by the #22 ranked Cortland Red Dragons.

The Cards have to look past that as they have Clarkson University and Postdam as their next opponents.

“We still feel very good about the end of our season, although we lost 3 out of the 4 games we know that that is not typical cardinal softball,” sophomore catcher Jennifer Groat said. “For our upcoming games, we know that we need to play like we know how and continue to dominate SUNYAC play.”

PSUC is currently 8-4 in SUNYAC play, placing them in a tie for second with New Paltz.

There isn’t much cause for concern, however, because in the only win of the weekend they were hitting on all cylinders, winning the game 11-0 in five innings of play.

Rhea Pitkin was on fire and could not be stopped on the mound. The Lakers managed to only hit once off of Pitkin.

She tallied nine strikeouts while only giving up four walks and one hit. Pitkin improved her record to an even 6-6 on the season.

Haleigh Agnas was another one of the bright spots during that series as she went 4-5, extending her hitting streak to 17 games. She also had two RBIs and scoring a run herself in their only victory.

Agnas’ stellar season gives the Cards coaching staff a glimpse of what she has in line for the next three seasons, as she is only a freshman, and one with a bright future in a Cards uniform.

“As long as we do all those things, it is a win in our book since it brings us closer to our end goal of winning SUNYACs,” sophomore second baseman Anna Fisher said. “At the end of the conference play, the only thing your record decides is who is hosting the post season tournament.”

The momentum from that game did not carry onto their next series against the Cortland Red Dragons (21-7).

The Cardinals dropped both games, losing by an average of four runs. Late game defensive execution was the problem for Cards in game one as they gave up four runs in the seventh inning.

Katie Pitkin’s pitching kept the Cards in the game for as the long they could. Pitkin gave up only one run, but the high walk count may cause a bit of concern for the upcoming series.

“Our main focus in practice this week is staying relaxed and having fun playing together,” Groat said. “We have the tendency to get really tense and that’s when we make mistakes. When we are laughing, having a good time, we are unbeatable.”

PSUC has not lost sight of its overall goal of the season, and that is winning a championship. The Cards are still in excellent position to capitalize on a somewhat weaker SUNYAC conference compared to previous seasons.

With a mixture of veterans and younger players, the Cards will find a solution for this small hiccup. All championship caliber teams know when to turn it on and this team is one of them.
“We just have to beat the teams in the postseason when it counts,” Fisher said.

After splitting their last doubleheader on the road against Clarkson on Tuesday, losing 2-0 and winning 11-9, improve to 18-14 on the regular season. Now, they shift their focus onto the Potsdam Bears for a doubleheader Saturday, April 22, starting at 1 p.m.

Email John Peralta at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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