Posted: Feb 09, 2018
WARRIORS SOFTBALL SEASON OUTLOOK 2018
The Nyack College Warriors Softball team was a young group, last season, with no seniors. Head Coach Jeff Aumend feels that may have been a blessing in disguise.
"This group has had a chance to grow, on and off the field," noted Aumend, in his third season as the head coach at Nyack College, and 18th overall. "Yes, we lost a lot of games, last year. But, you could see the improvements. I've never lost so many close games in a season. And, this Fall, our improvements were obvious, finishing with a 6-2 Fall record, including going 3-0 in one tournament."
Despite a record of 7-37 overall and 5-21 in the CACC, the close games Aumend mentioned were clear throughout the schedule. 16 games were lost by 2 runs or less and 8 of those were 1-run losses. The Warriors feel good about their chances, this year.
"This team is a close-knit group which could become the best defensive team in the conference," noted Aumend. "Our pitching was young, last year, and has improved, greatly. Offensively, we have some work to do but, this Fall, we saw progress."
The Warriors have three seniors in shortstop Aferdita (Dee) Sinanaj, 1st baseman Katalina Padilla and outfielder Shelby Davidson. "These seniors have been through a lot, during their four years. But, they are coming out of the fire as better people. Dee is one of the best defensive shortstops I have ever coached, won our co-most valuable offensive player last year and I believe that the CACC will recognize her, this year. She's doing great in her major and is a team leader. Kat is a dangerous hitter and a campus leader. Shelby earned starting time in the outfield, last year, is improving as a hitter and is on track to be a successful teacher."
Sinanaj hit .297, last year, with 10 extra-base hits including two homers. Sharing top offensive honors with her was 3B-2B Alissa Brugnoli, now a junior. Brugnoli hit .305. mostly from the leadoff spot and is also one of the Warriors most versatile defensive players.
Returning pitchers are two juniors in Stephanie White and Brittany Blair, along with sophomore Nicole Wisser. "This pitching staff could be easily overlooked because there isn't one star," shared Aumend. "But, as a group, they have a variety of pitches and, when their defense supports them, they are very,very effective. I look for a big jump for this group to really blossom, this year."
Junior catcher Katie Lupinacci may be one of the best kept secrets in the CACC. She hits for power and she throws out runners at a 40% clip. With her and valuable junior utility player Morgan Hans as a backup catcher (who also plays 1st base/outfield), this battery group is becoming experienced.
Newcomers are: Freshman 2B/SS Tia Celano; freshman outfielder Erin O'Brien and junior outfielder Gabrielle Placencia. Placencia is a proven JUCO hitter, O'Brien brings speed to the outfield and Celano is a valuable utility player who will likely earn some starts. Rounding out the roster are sophomore outfielders Kayleigh Vandover and Angelique Alires. Vandover is a solid defensive outfielder and defensive leader while Alires gives the Warriors speed on offense and defense and can also play infield.
The Warriors open at The Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. on Thursday, March 1 vs. Kentucky Wesleyan; the 1st of a 14-game spring break trip. Nyack opens conference play, when it returns, as it travels to Chestnut Hill, to open up league play on Saturday, March 17. The Warriors 1st home date at the South Orangetown Little League Complex is against league-power Caldwell, Tuesday, March 20.