2018 Softball Season Recap

2018 Softball Season Recap

The Warriors Softball program has been in a rebuilding phase and there is a real sense of "turning the corner" in that process.  The Warriors were in the hunt to make the Final 8 in the CACC conference tournament, right down to the final week of the season.  Rare in college softball, the Warriors raised their team batting average by 40 points, to a team batting average of .262.  Leading the way both in the CACC and on the Warriors team were senior shortstop Aferdita Sinanaj and freshman Erin O'Brien.  Sinanaj, a four-year starter, finished 8th in the CACC with a batting average of .382, which included 7 home runs.  O'Brien, a freshman centerfielder and leadoff hitter, hit .371.  She also was named Warriors Defensive Player of the Year, bringing much-needed stability in the outfield.  Sinanaj was named Most Valuable Offensive Player, for the second year in a row, and junior first baseman Morgan Hans was named Most Improved Player, leading the conference in doubles, at one point, and hitting over .300, for most of the season.

Softball also garnered two of the three most coveted end-of-year Athletic Awards, for a Nyack College Student-Athlete.  Senior first baseman Katalina Padilla won the Bowman Award, an award for Character and Community Achievement.  In a rare feat, Padilla was a repeat winner, winning the Award in 2017 and 2018.  Padilla is a Nursing major who is extremely active on campus and in the community.  She spearheaded such events as Breast Cancer Awareness during a women's basketball game, the American Red Cross blood drive, she is a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and she went on a January trip to India, to work in a hospital overseas!   Sinanaj, who hails from nearby Tappan Zee High School, was honored with Nyack College's highest Athletic Department honor - winning the Gainer Award, as the top student-athlete at the college.  In addition to her junior/senior hitter accolades, she was also named Most Valuable Defensive Player as a sophomore.  Head Coach Jeff Aumend, who has been both a Division I and Division II head coach, has stated that Sinanaj is the best shortstop he has coached, in 18 yearsof coaching.  Sinanaj won the award while serving an exhaustive number of hours in a Social Work internship, her second semester.  She is now enrolling in the Nyack master's program of the same discipline.  Softball was also among the top three Nyack teams in team Grade Point Average.
 
Following Nyack's annual Spring Break trip to Florida, the Warriors returned to prove that their program's softball progress was for real, as they upset number-two CACC team Wilmington College, 5-4, on a walk-off single by junior Gabrielle Placencia.  The Warriors also upset number-three CACC team, Georgian Court; winning game one of the doubleheader by the 'mercy rule" in five innings, 10-2.  Late in the season, the Warriors earned a sweep over ECC non-conference opponent Bridgeport, delivering a blow to their quest to make their conference tourney.  The future is bright for the Warriors, who graduate just 3 seniors.
 
"There is no doubt in my mind, after 18 years of coaching and assessing teams, this team definitely turned the corner in its progress as a program, this year," noted head coach Jeff Aumend.  "We defeated the number two and number three teams in our league and lost a heartbreaker, in extra innings, to the number 4 team.  We started to play with a confidence and an attitude that is needed to win in NCAA Division II athletics.  If God has gifted you with mid-Division II to mid-Division I athletic skill, it is your responsibility to perform with a confidence at that level. We are excited about our future."