The Plattsburgh State softball team (23-17) ended the regular season on a reasonable note after its weekend series against Buffalo State and Fredonia.
The Cardinals split their series against both Buffalo State and Fredonia. With the regular season wrapped up, their focus is now shifted to a new season, the playoffs.
“I think we are confident but we also don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” junior outfielder Felicia Torres said. “We are going to take it one game at a time.”
The Cards have hit a bit of inconsistency, dropping four of their last 10 games. Although fours losses may not seem like much, for a contending team, ending off strong is always at the top of the list.
PSUC adapted to playing from behind and building momentum as the game progresses, but in order to succeed in the playoffs the team must come out strong.
During their series against the Buffalo State Bengals, the Cards found themselves behind early in game one.
The Bengals scored nine runs in the first two innings to build an insurmountable lead. They broke the game open with a seven run inning in the second that ended any hope for a comeback. If the Cards want to win a championship, they have to get back to their roots.
“I think we can go pretty far,” Torres said. “As long as we play our game and keep all of our cardinal values and team expectations.”
After dropping the first game 10-2, the Cards bounced back and evened the series with a 9-1 game two victory.
PSUC had its own monster second inning, scoring six runs, mainly contributed by senior designated hitter Hope VanBrocklin and freshman first baseman Haleigh Agnas.
VanBrocklin and Agnas each hit three-run home runs that ballooned the Cards lead to 7-1.
Agnas continues her Rookie of the Year campaign with another dominant week, which resulted in being named the final Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week award.
Freshman pitcher Rhea Pitkin continued her stellar campaign as well. She allowed one run on two hits, while striking out seven batters in her outing.
“We usually get really tense and that’s when we make mistakes,” sophomore catcherJennifer Groat said. “When we are laughing and enjoying ourselves, we are unstoppable.”
With Fredonia coming into town the next day, the Cards had one more series to solidify their position in the SUNYAC.
The Cards also celebrated Senior Day during the weekend series.
VanBrocklin is the only senior on this team and this day was made special by her teammates.
“Hope has meant a lot to the team,” Torres said. “Being the only senior, a lot of us went to her for advice and guidance throughout the season.
Poster boards hung up against the dugout cage, filled with love and admiration for the lone senior.
In its game one victory against Fredonia, PSUC overcame a 2-1 deficit and used a two-run sixth inning to put the game away. After winning game one, the Cards clinched the third seed setting up a round one match against the Buffalo State Bengals.
VanBrocklin had one hit in the first game, but that didn’t stop her from making the pitcher work at the mound on her final days as a Cardinal.
Jennifer Groat had something of her own to celebrate that day. Groat joined the 100-hit club, joining Dominique Zummo in the rare feat.
In game two against the Fredonia Blue Devils, the Cards were unable to keep the momentum going as they dropped game two 4-0.
Rhea Pitkin shouldered the loss allowing three runs on four hits, but striking out seven batters. In her last regular season game, VanBrocklin had time to reflect on her previous four years at Plattsburgh.
“These four years of being a cardinal has shaped me into a bright, confident young woman that is ready to go out into the real world,” VanBrocklin said. “I became involved in so many things, which really helped me grow.”
VanBrocklin has been a vocal and emotional leader for this young Cardinal team. Whenever down, she was the one to rally the troops and get them ready for the next day. It was always about being a professional on and off the field.
“My message for any upcoming Cardinal is to immerse yourself in SUNY Plattsburgh as there are so many opportunities here,” VanBrocklin said. “Never be afraid to try something new!”
Now, after defeating Buffalo State 5-4 in the first round of the SUNYAC championship, the Cards are slated to face off against Oswego State Friday 11 a.m.
Email John Peralta at email@example.com