Softball is back in full swing for the 2019 season and Seton Hall currently holds a winning record after challenging openers against the likes of Lehigh and Saint Peter’s.
Sophomore Janae Barracato, is one of the rising stars of the team and is in solid form at the start of her second collegiate season. After 13 games, she has provided her team with 10 runs, nine RBIs and a walk-off home run in a win over Lehigh at the end of February. With the team trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Barracato stepped up to the plate and delivered a three-run homer to lift the Pirates to a 5-4 victory.
“It taught our team to never give up” Barracato said. “You can win even if it’s a 3-2 count and there’s two outs. We always have an opportunity to win.”
That “never say die” attitude streamed through the softball team during its preseason, and Barracato believes that it is one of the keys to her own and her team’s early success.
Off the back of an impressive individual freshman year, Barracato returned to training with the goal of improving her mentality. Learning to handle defeat and overcoming the mental and emotional obstacles it brings with it is a challenging skill for young athletes of any sport to master. The Pirates did not enjoy the best 2018 season, and the sophomore outfielder learned a lot about herself as individual because of it.
“My main goal was to deal with failure and to overcome it,” Barracato said.
She hopes that her efforts to change her mentality in the face of adversity or success on the field will progressively help her teammates who struggle with the same problems. The penultimate mindset, as Barracato sees it, is one in which she does not put herself down after a loss or become overconfident after a win.
Her current slugging percentage of .465 has improved from last year’s .427, and she is putting up better numbers in less time than last season. With nine RBIs for the season, Barracato is halfway to bettering her 17 RBIs from last season in a quarter of the games. She already sits at 10 runs and six doubles for the season which is quite the jump considering she managed just 26 runs and nine doubles all of last season.
The adjustment to her game has not been an easy one, but she credits much of her early progression to the support she receives from her team and coaches.
“My team, in general, is very supportive and positive,” Barracato said. “They all just drive me to be my best. They make me want to play for and help them every game.”
Consistency, Barracato added, is another challenge both she and her teammates need to overcome.
“Based off last year, I just want to be more consistent,” Barracato said. “The team in general wants to be more consistent, win more games, and, in the long run, make it to Big East.”
As an individual, her stats attest to the effort she has applied to improve herself and it seems to be transcending itself within the rest of the team with their positive start to 2019.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Sousa7474.