MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College softball team will be hitting the field for the first time in the 2018 season Tuesday, as they travel to Clermont, Florida for The Spring Games scheduled Monday through Friday.
Morrisville State will continue to take the steps needed in growing the program, as third season head coach Brittany Stroop will rely on the contribution of both newcomers combined with the experienced upperclassmen to guide the way through the season, including within North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play.
The Mustangs will see seven familiar faces return to the lineup this season, including senior captains Holly Gamlen (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Allison McGuire (Gilboa, N.Y.). "We expect Holly and Allie to have their best seasons as seniors, both offensively and defensively," Stroop commented.
Gamlen recorded 29 hits from the plate in 88 at bats a year ago, registering 16 runs, eight RBI's and a batting average of .330. Her efforts lauded her as a second team All-Conference selection at her short stop position. Defensively, the senior registered 58 put outs and 93 assists, to go along with four double-plays.
McGuire registered a 5.32 ERA on the mound for Morrisville State last season, making 23 appearances, 17 starts, while throwing 106 innings. Offensively, she posted 14 hits in 58 at bats, nine of which were RBI's, for a .241 batting average on the season.
"Offensively we are also looking for junior Amanda Labe (Friedensburg, Pa.) to rebound from injury last season, and jump start our lineup at the leadoff position," Stroop said. Labe, a versatile catcher/outfielder saw limited time, but in 32 appearances at the plate collected nine hits, two RBI's, six runs and had four stolen bases.
Preseason workouts have certainly had its test for the Mustangs, as they have been concentrating more on small ball and contact in hopes of advancing runners once on base.
"We were very inconsistent last year with runners in scoring position," said Stroop. "We cannot afford to leave runners on base this year and will utilize our training in the preseason, to better position ourselves in those situations."
Stroop commented that the Mustangs are also looking for another solid year from fellow returners Bailey Dillabough (Massena, N.Y.) and Jada-Faye Bennett (Manhattan, N.Y.) to drive runners in. Dillabough and Bennett combined for 36 hits, including 10 doubles, 15 runs and 14 RBI's last season.
Morrisville State has added six new faces to the squad in 2018, including transfer Emily Vesely (Johnson City, N.Y.) who has played a season at North Park University. "We expect Emily to jump in and contribute right away," stated Stroop. "She will be a big part of the middle of our lineup and contribute defensively at first base and behind the plate."
"Chyne will provide some pop from the left side," Stroop commented. "She will most likely anchor our outfield defense in center, when not on the mound."
"Leah will surprise a lot of people this season," she said. "She is working hard to establish herself as a switch hitter."
"I see a break out season from Jada on the horizon, but also feel that sophomore Brooke Terrier (Hubbardsville, N.Y.) will lend as a pleasant surprise as the season progresses, both on the mound and in our regular lineup in the outfield."
Morrisville State will have an early test beginning Tuesday as they hit the diamond against Mount Union and North Central (MN) in Florida. Playing a total of six games the South, they will hit the field again against Nebraska Wesleyan and College of St. Elizabeth on the 8th before wrapping up their spring break training with bouts against Elizabethtown and Lebanon Valley the following day.
The Mustangs will return to the field the 17th, traveling to Notre Dame (Md.), and follow a week later with another road trip to Nazareth College on the 24th.
Weather pending, Morrisville State will be making its home debut on the 28th with a double against Elmira College, before opening NEAC play on the 30th against SUNY Polytechnic.
They end March's lineup with a road double at Penn College, and open April with a double-header at home against SUNY Canton, in preparation for the heart of the conference schedule.
Morrisville State resumes NEAC play on the 7th at Gallaudet University, facing the Bison for the first time in program history, and following suit with Lancaster Bible on the 8th.
They return North on the 10th to host Wells College, and will make the short trip down Route 20 to rival Cazenovia on the 14th.
Morrisville State will wrap up the weekend action with a double on the 15th at Keuka College, before heading up to Potsdam on the 17th for a dual with the Bears.
The final week of the regular season will see the Mustangs hitting their home field for four double headers, including a program first against Penn St. Abington on the 21st, followed by Wilson on the 22nd.
A final non-conference bout with Oswego will take place the 24th before Morrisville State wraps up regular season play with a double against SUNY Cobleskill on the 27th.
"We are looking to qualify for the conference tournament and post an overall record of .500," Stroop said. "I expect to continue to make strides in growing the recognition and respect for our program both within the NEAC and regionally as well."
A full roster and schedule can be found on the college's athletic web site at www.morrisvillestateathletics.com.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.