GENESEO, N.Y. – The SUNY Geneseo softball team enters the 2019 season in hopes of repeating as State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Champions, after posting a 32-9 mark, winning the conference tournament and competing in the NCAA Tournament in 2018. The Knights opened the season ranked No. 25 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll, and were forecasted to finish first in the SUNYAC preseason coaches' poll. They will travel to Clermont, Fla. to participate in the PFX Spring Games, opening the season on Saturday, March 16 with games against Nebraska Wesleyan and Lake Forest. Here are six things you need to know about Geneseo Softball entering this season.
The Knights will rely heavily on a seven-member senior class, all of whom featured in at least 19 games last season. The Knights' senior class includes five of Geneseo's six bats from last season as well as two of the team's top three arms. Senior outfielder Alyssa Persich led the Knights with a .364 batting average, 47 hits and 30 runs scored, earning All-Northeast Region Second Team honors a year ago. Senior outfielder Danni Napoli belted 10 doubles, three home runs, drove in 20 RBI and stole a team-high seven bases in 2018. Senior pitcher Taylor Moore finished 12-4 from the circle, recording a 2.35 ERA over 104.1 innings on her way to All-SUNYAC honors.
FULLY CHARGED BATTERY
Senior Jasmine Petrishin, junior Ashlyn Kersch and sophomore Nicole Schwartz all return to complement Moore on the pitching staff. Kersch finished last season with a 14-3 record, twirling 108.0 innings with a 1.10 ERA while Petrishin went 5-1 in 13 appearances. Senior catcher Taylor Fedor and junior utility Hannah Elmer will share catching duties, handling the pitching staff this season. Fedor caught seven runners stealing and allowed just two passed balls in 38 games behind the plate in 2018.
Persich enters the 2019 season ranked ninth in program history with 142 career hits, 69 shy of the program leader, Hilary Gangemi. She also ranks sixth in Geneseo lore in triples (6) and eighth in career batting average (.380). Napoli ranks second in program history with 16 home runs and sits seventh in career batting average (.383) and third in slugging percentage (.632). Both outfielders reached 100 career hits last season and each have a chance to reach 100 career runs scored. Moore ranks eighth in program history with 30 wins while her .731 (30-11) pitching win percentage ranks third. She also ranks 10th in innings pitched with 266.1.
SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND
Geneseo will travel to Clermont, Fla. to compete in the PFX Spring Games again this season. The Knights have posted a 22-10 mark in games played in Florida in the past three years combined. Last season, senior infielder Kylie Papagelos enjoyed the warm weather, batting .680 (17-for-25) with 10 runs, eight RBI and eight doubles in 10 games played in Clermont, including a pair of 4-for-4 efforts in wins over Gordon, 12-3 (Mar. 11) and Wisconsin-Stout, 5-4 (Mar. 16).
NEW IN THE ZOO
Geneseo brings on six first-year players, adding depth to the roster. First-years Taylor Riccardi, Phoebe Elardo, Alexandra Koutsogiannis, Stephanie Afonso, Katherine Hayes and Mattie Klein join the squad. Hayes will feature primarily as a catcher and Klein will join the pitching staff. Riccardi, Elardo, Koutsogiannis and Afonso will compete for time in the infield and the outfield.
ROAD TO REPEAT
Geneseo will play 12 games in Florida, including eight against teams that finished last season with 20 or more victories. Four of their Clermont opponents (Lake Forest, Benedictine, Framingham State and Calvin) earned NCAA Tournament bids last season. Once they return to New York, the Knights will play eight-straight games on the road, including doubleheaders at SUNYAC foes New Paltz (Mar. 29) and Oneonta (Mar. 30). The team will play its home opener on Wednesday, April 3 with a doubleheader against Nazareth. Geneseo will finish the season with 12 of their final 14 games played at home. The Knights will host their third-annual Little League Day on Saturday, April 20 when they host Brockport, inviting members of local little league softball and baseball programs to attend the games.
*Schedule is subject to change, visit GeneseoKnights.com for the latest schedule updates this spring.*