Paige Smith, second year head coach of the Seton Hall Softball team, wants everyone to know that her team is fully prepared for the upcoming season.
“Right now all I told them is that we’re ready,” Smith said. “So we’re just going to work our buns off. I don’t know anybody else who practices in eight inches of snow, outside.”
The Pirates will begin their season in the Hampton Inn Campbell Stampede Tournament in Buies Creek, N.C. The team is slated for a Friday night game against IPFW, followed by a Saturday double-header against Campbell and Valpariso and a Sunday tilt against UMass-Lowell.
The team was picked sixth out of eight schools in the softball preseason coaches’ poll.
The Pirates finished with a 21-30 record in the 2013, including an 8-13 mark in Big East play.
The team has returning veteran stars such as junior pitcher Danielle DeStaso and senior infielder Maria DeLuca. Both were named to last season’s second-team All-Big East.
DeStaso shined in a 14 win 2013 season, accumulating 163 strikeouts in 39 appearances on the mound. She also led the team in home runs (9) and drove in 37 runs.
DeLuca lead the team with 39 RBI’s and boasted a .344 batting average last season. She was also named to the preseason first-team All Big East for the 2014 season.
Also returning to the team is sophomore Yasmin Harrell, a centerfielder who broke the schools single-season record with 31 steals last season. Harrell also led the team with a .357 batting average and 61 hits.
Senior third-baseman Meredith Henze is confident that the team will strive now that they have a better grasp of Smith’s system. “It helps our team a lot that we understand her system this year,” Henze said. “So helping the freshmen through it is not going to be a problem.”
The Pirates are welcoming six freshmen to the club this season. Freshman pitcher Lauren Fischer has become comfortable with her coaches and teammates.
“In the beginning it was overwhelming, but all the upperclassmen and coaches did a really good job making it easier for us,” Fisher said.
Fischer has been pleased with the leadership the upperclassmen have displayed.
“There’s different types of personalities that help me out but they all work,” Fischer said.
Other freshmen joining the club are Valerie Suto, Chelsea Caynon, Jennifer Sansilo, Noel Lent and Joelle Arrante.
Smith put a lot of importance for the 2014 season on winning the close games.
“We play a crazy game, it’s always a one-run ballgame,” Smith said. “If you win half of those one-run ballgames then you’ve got a good season.”
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.