Women’s softball team ranks first in preseason poll

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics

As Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers begin to report for 2018 Spring Training, Ramapo College’s softball team has begun their workouts in preparation for the upcoming season as well.

“We are a very process-oriented team,” stressed senior outfielder Sisi Machinski. “Instead of fixating on NJAC Championships or NCAA playoffs, our main goals are to stay focused on getting better each day in order to peak at the right time, and to put ourselves in the best possible position for success.” Machinski collected 23 hits, four doubles and one triple while she led the outfielders with seven assists during the 2017 season.

This year, the Ramapo College softball team has been ranked #14 (tied at with Christopher Newport University) in the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25, announced last week by the NFCA. The poll was selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches who represent the eight NCAA regions.

The softball team has been working hard at practices during the start of their preseason in preparation of their first game. The Lady Roadrunners will travel to the Sunkissed Games held in Kissimmee, FL at the Osceola Softball Complex to face Plattsburgh State University on Saturday, March 10 at 11:15 a.m. followed by McDaniel College at 1:30 p.m. season opener.

“We are extremely excited for this season. We have a lot of returners this year and we’re hoping to learn from our past successes and to build on them even more to improve as a team,” said senior Nicole Hernandez. “One of our goals this year is to be consistent day in and day out whether it’s in practices or games. If we stay true to that, our goals will be reached.”

“We expect to work hard every day and leave everything we have on the field. Our main goal is to get better every day and focus on us as a team,” added senior second-baseman Ally Spellman. Spellman led the team in three offensive categories last year, including batting average (.402) while she was tied for first in runs scored (38) and hits (51).

It is evident that they have been working hard; the team has already been predicted to finish first in the 2018 New Jersey Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll announced this week after receiving seven first place votes.

Last year, the Roadrunners earned their way to the NCAA Tournament and the Super Regional for the first time in program history by winning the Ithaca Regional. They finished the 2017 season with a 32-11 overall record and a 17-1 NJAC record.

Fifth-year head coach Bridgette Quimpo has now had the team atop the NJAC preseason poll, as well as previously being ranked second in 2016. The team won the NJAC Tournament Championship in 2015 and made it to the tournament in 2017 also.

“It has been so exciting to be apart of such a great team, especially because we support each other so much. Our main goal is to trust ourselves and our process, because as long as we keep coming to practice doing those things, we will have a great season,” said junior third baseman Harper Patsko. Patsko led the team with 15 doubles, two triples and 80 total bases. She was tied for first in home runs (6) and hit .309 for Ramapo while she posted a .576 slugging percentage and 30 RBI.

The team will look to return seven positions this year. With plenty of returning starters and fresh new faces to replace the players that graduated, combined with the effort that the team has put in both mentally and physically in the off season, it should be another successful season for Ramapo’s softball team, and a great one to watch.