Softball Gears For Stretch Run
The Marist College softball team has enjoyed more than its fair share of success over the last several years. An NCAA tournament appearance in 2016, followed by deep Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament runs in 2017 and 2018, mean that the bar is always set high.
For head coach Joe Ausanio, the 2019 season was bound to be similar, one way or another.
“Expectations are high for us every year,” Ausanio said. “We are lucky in the fact that we have won the M.A.A.C championship twice in the past five years, and want to accomplish that goal again this year.”
Ausanio has been aided by a strong core of seniors that have anchored his pitching staff. Megan Beiermeister ‘19, Kallen Leeseberg ‘19, and Brooke Peterson ‘19 have each served significant roles on the team for the last four seasons, and they look to cap off their Marist careers with a successful season.
With 31 games in the books as of Monday, April 1, the Red Foxes are just over the halfway point of the 2019 campaign. Sitting at 16-15, and still with 22 regular season games remaining, the Red Foxes are certainly in the MAAC tournament hunt. They’ve been anchored by strong hitting performances from Carolina Barratta ‘21, who has recorded 41 hits in 112 at-bats, as well as Ali Milam ‘20, who has provided the power with eight home runs so far in 2019. Despite the offensive production, Ausanio wants his team to do a better job of capitalizing on opportunities.
“We need to do a better job of getting timely hits when we have runners in scoring position,” Ausanio said. “We do a great job of getting runners on, and now we just need to do a better job of getting that clutch hit when we really need it.”
On the mound, the Red Foxes have been strong. In 21 of their 31 games this season, they’ve allowed five runs or less. Along with the aforementioned seniors, Beiermeister, Leeseberg and Peterson, the Red Foxes have benefited greatly from the shining performance of Callista Phippen ‘22, who has burst onto the scene as a freshman to become Marist’s most effective pitcher. In 12 decisions, Phippen is 10-2 with a 1.51 earned run average, and she’s struck out 87 batters while walking just 29. She also posted a nine-inning, 16-strikeout performance in a win over Bryant University on Friday, March 8.
The Red Foxes are right in the thick of their conference schedule, a slate of games that has proven to be a winning source for the team in the past. Ausanio is confident that his team is up to the challenge, as another potential run in the MAAC tournament nears.
“I think our team work ethic is outstanding...everyone knows what they need to do to prepare for our games,” Ausanio said. “They work hard on the field, but also in the weight room, and more importantly, in the classroom.”