Softball team off to strong start after two-year hiatus


Photo courtesy of Laurel Simer.

Matthew Robinson, Staff Writer

Utica College’s softball team has played well so far this season, posting a 7-5 record. The team posted more than 10 runs in each game against SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Sage College, SUNY Canton and Alfred State University. 

Senior Sara Stransky leads the team with 11 runs, 14 hits and is posting a .412 batting average. Right behind her is Junior Emily Joss with a .441 batting average on nine runs and 15 hits. 

Photo courtesy of Laurel Simer.

“It felt great to come back after not playing since 2019,” Head Coach Pat Mineo said. “We have come a long way since we stopped playing and I think that will help us down the road. I am happy with the way our team has been able to play through cancelation during the season.”

Games were split last Saturday against Alfred State. Alfred won the first matchup 3-0 and the Pioneers won the second game 9-6. 

Sophomore Jordyn Conte pitched both games, a total of 13 innings and giving up 9 runs. Conte has played solid this season pitching every game and pitching at least 4 innings and posting a 3.23 ERA with 21 strikeouts. 

“We played well in the first couple of games,” Mineo said. “What we want most is to be the best team and have the best record so that we can get home field advantage.”

Junior Kaitlyn Paul was recently injured, which will affect the lineup. Although her teammates can pick up her role for now, Paul is looking forward to getting back to the action. 

“After I broke my leg in my last game, I knew someone would be there to step in and play,” Paul said. “I am also very excited to be able to be back with the team after last season was cut short and be able to get familiar with the freshman.” 

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The upcoming season schedule is loaded with conference play. On April 17, the Pioneers will play home at noon against Nazareth College followed by games against St. John Fisher, Elmira College and Keuka College. With better weather approaching, playing in warm temperatures is something the team is looking forward to. 

“I am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us,” Mineo said. “We have talent all around the field, we just have to execute, and we will be successful.”

Being out of competition for a long period of time can put a strain on the players physically and mentally. Not every game is guaranteed with COVID, last Sunday a doubleheader was scheduled against Houghton College, but that was postponed to another date down the road due to COVID. 

“We are molding the pieces together very well at this point in the season, Paul said.” “There are still challenges to overcome while playing, but that won’t get in the way of our end goal, to win an E8 championship.”