Coming off a 30-17 season, without last year’s top two hitters, the Stony Brook softball team is poised to have its most interesting season. Its 2016 journey starts in Charlotte, North Carolina, against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks.
Last season saw a four win dip, but the Seawolves are poised to rise back up this year. However, it is important to note that this is a team which will look quite different than last year’s. With five players having graduated and four freshmen on the squad, only time will tell how the players will adapt to their new roles.
When asked about losing top hitters Bria Green and Shayla Giosia, Coach Megan Bryant said “Bria and Shayla enjoyed outstanding careers here at Stony Brook and we miss them, but every team is a new beginning. We have a very solid lineup 1-9 and a lot of hitters who have the ability to contribute.”
Senior catcher Alexandra Pisciotta will have to step up her production to help fill the void left by Green and Giosia. Her outlook on the potential added pressure of having to be the team’s number one offensive threat is simple.
“Every year I try to get better and better and focus on my weakness,” Pisciotta said. “There is never a time when there is something you cannot improve throughout all facets of the game.”
The team’s main advantage seems to be in their willingness and ability to play small ball. “We will still hit our share of home runs but will rely on situational hitting to move runners and score runs,” Bryant said. Rather than living and dying by the long ball, this team is poised to shine because of their great execution of the often overlooked “little things” in softball.
They can also rely on senior pitcher Jane Sallen. She went 15-10 last season with 13 complete games and a 2.59 ERA, an improvement from her 3.51 ERA in 2014. She was the go-to pitcher last season, and likely will be again this season.
“We obviously want to win the conference tournament, but more than anything, we want to be feared by every team we play and be that team that’s never counted out,” Pisciotta said regarding the team’s expectations for the season.
A small ball squad can certainly catch some teams off guard, and with Sallen’s arm, the Seawolves might be able to make waves this year.
This team will start the season ranked second in the America East Preseason Coaches Poll, receiving two first-place votes. Expectations are high, but only time will tell if the new-look Seawolves can succeed.