Softball eyes one last CSAC title run


2017 CSAC Pitcher of the Year junior Kirstie Alvarez delivering a pitch last season. Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Marywood Athletics

John Ferraro

Last season ended in disappointment for Marywood’s softball team.

After earning the #1 seed in the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC), the Pacers lost back-to-back games and exited the playoffs quickly.

With most players on last year’s roster back, the team eyes one last shot at a CSAC title before Marywood departs from the CSAC and moves to the Atlantic East Conference (AEC) this fall.

Head coach Bob Fitzsimmons, now in his 16th season, said the Pacers simply have to replicate last season’s effort if they want to get back in the title hunt.

“We just have to do the stuff that we did last year. We haven’t changed anything and have a good core back,” he said.

Fitzsimmons, who was the 2017 CSAC Coach of the Year, said experience is one of the biggest strengths of this year’s team.

“The freshmen who played big roles last year are now sophomores. Our juniors and seniors are becoming great role models for those underclassmen too,” he said.

The two senior team captains are catcher/shortstop Alexa Scala and outfielder Heather Schultz.

Schultz talked about the importance of being a role model, especially to the freshmen.

“We show [them] our work ethic both on and off the field. We show them the ropes on how Marywood softball players act,” said Schultz.

Schultz said the annual Florida trip helped with that process and brought everyone on the roster closer together.

“Once we got down to Florida, it’s like ‘this is it.’ This is who we need to develop friendships with. The chemistry we developed down there really translates to the field here,” she said.

Scala said the strong-minded personalities of the players are one of the most important strengths.

“We all have very strong personalities. We all can make each other laugh. That’s huge especially if someone isn’t having the best day or commits an error,” said Scala.

This collective strength complements the overall message for the team this season: stay positive.

“We need to have a short memory. We’ve learned that you can’t let an error in the first inning affect you for the rest of the game. You’re not going to hit a home run every single at-bat. You’re not going to get a hit every single time,” Scala said.

Marywood was slated third in a preseason conference poll behind defending champions Neumann University and 2017 runners-up Immaculata University.

The Pacers are currently 3-1 in the CSAC. They host Wilkes University tomorrow and travel to Gwynedd Mercy this Saturday.

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Twitter: @JohnFerraroTWW