BY LOUIS FREY
The Sacred Heart University club softball team is off to a 7-1 start through their first eight games of the fall season.
On Oct. 21, the Pioneers won their series against the University of Connecticut (UCONN). They won two out of the three games in the series.
According to senior co-captain Stefani Antoshak, UCONN is Sacred Heart’s biggest rival, and the series victory is the team’s highpoint of the season so far.
The Pioneers started off the season on Sept. 29, defeating Fordham University in three straight games. The next day, Sept. 30, they defeated Montclair State University twice, both by forfeiture.
On Oct. 27, the Pioneers’ series against the University Rhode Island was postponed due to rain. The series has not been rescheduled.
“A low point to the start of the season was not being able to play the number of games that we anticipated,” said Antoshak.
Each week, someone new has contributed to the team in order to achieve wins.
“We have had two freshmen named Player and Pitcher of the Week. Freshmen Hailey King as the Player of the Week and Daniela Miceli as Pitcher of the Week during the first two months,” said head coach Ray Mencio.
Mencio said that the upperclassmen have contributed to the team’s success as well. He said that Antoshak, along with fellow senior co-captains Allie Hall and Julia Collins and juniors Jackie Noftle and Carly Pease, have steered the team in the right direction.
“Our approach at the plate is to simply hit a single and move our runners. We want our fast runners to be scrappy and get on base and then our big hitters to hit them in,” said Antoshak.
The Pioneers also follow a method on defense.
“We do not rely on pitching to strike everyone out. We utilize players on the field. We have a very strong infield with five returners. The outfield is fast and all have great arms,” said Antoshak.
Mencio believes that aside from their offensive and defensive play, there are other reasons for the team’s 7-1 start to the season.
“They are there to pick each other up when they need to and do what it takes to win. They deserve a lot of credit for the pride and dedication they all put in,” said Mencio.
Mencio credits the players for putting in the time and effort both on and off the field.
The Pioneers will be playing against the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Hofstra University during November.
“Both teams are in our conference and have always put up a good fight in the past. Our goal for those two series is to sweep them because that will give us the best chance at being division champions,” said Hall.
If the team goes on to win the division, they will reach Regionals for the sixth consecutive year. The Pioneers will go head to head against Hofstra at home on Nov. 10.