For those of you who took a road trip away from the northeast for spring break – you made the right choice. It seems as though winter procrastinated, so we’re getting the season in all its glory one week before the commencement of spring. It’s going to be depressing when we all get back to campus and there’s still two inches of snow on the ground, but that’s just how life goes up north.
Anyways, Springfield Athletics also ventured to a much warmer setting for spring break. The baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse team, and tennis teams competed in Florida to kick of their 2017 campaigns. There’s been similar starts compared to last year’s season for some, and decent starts for others. Then there are the teams for the Pride who have taken competition by the horns and have tallied an overwhelming amount of W’s to start the season. Here’s a look at what Springfield’s done down south thus far…
Baseball (Season Record: 5-3 | Fla. Record: 5-3)
Coming off of a 12-21-1 finish in 2016, the Springfield baseball team traveled to Florida in search for a jump start to its ’17 season. The Pride currently sits at 5-3, and has shown early signs of encouragement. Springfield began its spring break trip 2-1, following an 4-3, rain shortened, opening day loss to Lesley, and back-to-back victories against Olivet and William Paterson. Following the win against William Paterson, the Pride dropped its next two contests, with three games remaining on the Florida schedule.
When examining Springfield’s three losses, two of those defeats were decided by only one run, the exception being a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Roger Williams. So far, the Pride has yet to be blown out (if you consider a 6-2 final score a close game). In its 5-4 loss to UMass Dartmouth, the Pride took the lead in the bottom of the third with a four run surge to come back from a 3-0 deficit. But Springfield could not hold the Dartmouth bats, and the Pride offense fell silent for the remainder of the contest.
In victories, Springfield has scored at least five runs in each win. There has also been plenty of standouts thus far for the Pride. Colin King has powered the offense with 10 hits in his first 21 at-bats. He leads the team with five RBIs. Brandon Russo and Peter Marsicano have both slashed .500. Shawn Babineau and Brian Johnson have turned in the three best starts for Springfield so far. Babineau went a strong seven innings of work against Roger Williams yet walked away with a loss. The freshman was strong against the Hawks, limiting Roger Williams to four hits and two runs while striking out seven batters faced. However, Springfield was unable to keep pace with the Hawks offensively. Johnson, in the rain shortened game against Lesley, went four innings and held the Lynx to one run, despite surrendering six hits. He struck out four in a no decision. The highlight of Johnson’s trip however, was by far his seven strikeout gem against Colby Sawyer, as the sophomore tossed the first no-hitter of his career, and the program’s first no-hitter in 16 years.
Springfield would go on to flex its offensive ability at Lake Myrtle Park in a win against Colby Sawyer, by the football-esque score of 26-14.
After plating 40 runs in eight games, the Pride will head back up north to face Fitchburg State on the road on Tuesday.
Men’s Tennis (Season Record: 6-1 | Fla. Record: 4-0)
It seems as though all it took was a trip to Orlando to get the men’s tennis squad fired up for spring competition. Springfield swept its spring break stretch 4-0 and has won five consecutive matches. This will mark the third time since 1999 where the Pride has fired off five straight victories. With its 6-1 record, Springfield has also tied its best start to a season since 1996-97.
The Pride put an exclamation point on its Orlando stint with a 9-0 rout of Transylvania, and none of the four matches were particularly close. In addition to the win against Transylvania, Springfield posted final scores of 8-1 against Roger Williams, 7-2 against Gettysburg, and 7-2 against Scranton.
The Pride takes the competition back to Alden Street on Thursday, as it prepares to face Rhode Island College at 4 p.m. in the second home match of the season.
Women’s Tennis (Season Record: 10-6 | Fla. Record: 3-0)
Women’s tennis bounced back from a 5-0 NEWMAC quarterfinals loss to Babson in October, with a revitalizing spring break effort. Springfield posted a perfect 3-0 record and will head back up north on a three game winning streak. Much like the men, the women also showed domination against its opponents. Springfield opened its spring season with a 9-0 win against Goucher, 8-1 win against Wesleyan (Ill.), and a 7-2 win against Transylvania.
The Pride played flawlessly in doubles competition, as Emily Etter/Stephanie Foster, Rachel London/Melissa Parrish, and Rebecca Link/Cara Freadman each earned three victories in three tries for Springfield.
The Pride will host AIC next Saturday (March 25) at 10 a.m.
Women’s Lacrosse (Season Record: 3-2 | Fla. Record: 1-1)
Women’s lacrosse has begun its 2017 campaign closer to the .500 mark than the 1.000 mark, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is also a very familiar March scenario, as Springfield returns to Massachusetts with a split spring break record of 1-1 for the second straight year. Last year the team was able to rebound for a 16-6 record. With that being said, the offense has showed signs of aiding the team to at least 15 W’s. The attack unit has scored at least 10 goals in its three wins.
Denison kept the Pride’s record modest with its 8-7 win over Springfield in Clermont. The Big Red defense came through in the clutch during crunch time, as they extinguished the Springfield attack with two caused turnovers late in the second half.
Although falling to Denison, the Pride remained resilient and was able to claim the follow-up contest against Endicott 11-5.
Goalkeeper Gabby Anderson stopped 24 shots on the trip, and was a key player in both the close contest against Denison and win over Endicott, keeping the Pride within striking distance of the Big Red and assisting the defense in shutting down the Gulls in Orlando.
Early in the season, Allie Goddard has emerged as a very effective option on offense for Springfield. The sophomore netted three goals in one game for the third time in her career against Endicott. If Goddard can remain consistent, the Pride can add her productivity to an attacking unit that includes Shelby Corsano (13 goals), Amanda Nusbaum (eight goals), Ann Mahoney (five goals), Katie Stallone (four goals) and Kristen Steidler (four goals).
The x-factor for the Pride this year however, will likely be defender Andie Stone. During the Florida trip, the sophomore tallied five ground balls in the tight contest against Denison while collecting two caused turnovers. In the win over Endicott, Stone tallied two draw controls, two ground balls, and two caused turnovers. Springfield has an overpowering offense, however when analyzing its two losses of the season, it’s fair to say it will come down to defensive effort, if it wants to separate itself from other NEWMAC contenders. With this being said, the defensive unit is rather young (four underclassmen, two upperclassmen). If Stone can continue to lead the defense into conference play, Springfield can prove itself as more than a legitimate threat.
The Pride’s next matchup will be a road game against Amherst on Tuesday.
Softball (Season Record: 9-1 | Fla. Record: 9-1)
Outside of men’s volleyball, record wise, the softball team is second in line for the title of Springfield’s best ’17 spring squad. The Pride is off to its best start since 1996, and has scored 52 runs in its first 10 games while slashing .322 as a unit. The season got off to a thrilling start in Kissimmee against TCNJ. Springfield boasted nerves of steel in the clutch as the Pride held a 3-3 tie for 10 innings, before Kirsten Drobiak finished off TCNJ with a one out double to left center in the bottom of the 10th to give Springfield the 4-3 win in extra innings. Talia Loda also held a no-hitter up until the tenth frame.
Eight members of the Pride’s lineup are hitting over .300. Freshman Gabby Alfieri has helped lead the charge at the plate, as the first year catcher is slashing .563/.632/.688 (average/on-base/slugging percentage) in six games. Springfield’s biggest offensive threat thus far however, has been junior Carianna Gasdia. The third year outfielder has collected 19 hits, scored 11 runs, and has swiped eight bases, while hitting .543. Allie Wheeler is ranked fourth on the team in hits with 10, behind Gasdia, Drobiak (14), and Loda (12).
When Springfield returns to western Mass., it will face off in a double header against the NEWMAC’s No. 2 squad in the Coast Guard Bears. The first pitch is on Saturday at 12 p.m. while the follow-up match is set to begin at 2 p.m.