Lakers stay hot in preparation for deep playoff run

The Oswego State women’s softball team has evened up its record thanks to a recent five-game winning streak after getting off to a rocky start this season.

Following its doubleheader sweep of Nazareth College on Tuesday, Oswego State (14-14, 7-7 SUNYAC) moved up to sixth place in the SUNYAC conference with just six games remaining. The Lakers’ final home games of the season, a doubleheader against Morrisville State, were postponed due to poor weather on Wednesday, leaving six road games remaining this season.

The Lakers opened up the season with a tournament in Florida during spring break and lost seven of their first 10 games before their recent hot streak. Oswego State faced nine non-conference opponents in Florida and did not fare well. Their losses, however, did not come without a glimmer of hope.

“We played an extremely difficult schedule in hopes that it prepares us for our regular season,” head coach Casey Price said.

Their struggles included two losses against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and losses against Ramapo College, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Macalester College, University of Wisconsin-Stout and Hope College.

They were able to muster up victories against Keene State, Bowdoin College and Lawrence University. Junior outfielder Sammie Schroeter played a key role in the Lakers’ victories, as she went 7-for-11 with three runs scored and three runs batted in the three wins.

After returning from Florida, the Lakers were scheduled for eight consecutive home games. Oswego State’s home opener consisted of a doubleheader matchup against SUNY Cortland. The Lakers split the twin bill with Cortland.

Oswego State’s win in the opening game of the series represented the Lakers’ first win against the Red Dragons since 1987. Senior infielder Nicole Ouellette contributed to the Laker victory with two runs batted in. Freshman Alexis Nasca relieved senior pitcher Sarah Thayer in the first inning and posted six and two-thirds shutout innings, en route to her third win of the season.

Oswego State’s home stand continued a week later against Buffalo State after its doubleheader against Cazenovia College was canceled. The Lakers lost two straight against Buffalo State before rebounding with a doubleheader sweep of SUNY Fredonia.

Oswego State scored 16 runs in two games against Fredonia. The offense was paced by freshman standout Tori Trovato, who had six hits and four runs batted in, and junior Dee Apps, who homered and drove in four runs in the sweep of the Blue Devils on April 6.

The Lakers then hit the road and traveled to SUNY Plattsburgh for two games against the rival Cardinals. Oswego State failed to get their offense going and dropped both games to Plattsburgh.

Despite losing two games against their biggest rival, the Lakers bounced back with a big win against SUNY Potsdam. Oswego State recorded a convincing 18-0 win against the Bears. Apps had four runs batted in and Nasca tacked on two more in Oswego State’s defeat of Potsdam. The win showed the fight of the entire Laker team, according to Price.

“The kids have really battled this season and have shown a lot of character,” Price said. “They never give up.”

After their series with Potsdam, the Lakers returned home for two games against Wells College only to have the games cancelled. Oswego State hit the road two days later and traveled to SUNYIT for a two-game set against the Wildcats. The Lakers swept the Wildcats behind the bat of Trovato. The freshman recorded five hits and batted in two runs to pace the Laker offense. Thayer pitched in game two of the doubleheader and recorded a complete game, her second of the season. She gave up only two runs while striking out six batters. Price credits Thayer for her outstanding effort this season.

“Sarah Thayer is throwing better than she has ever thrown,” Price said. “She has really stepped up on the mound.”

The Lakers traveled back to Oswego with a 9-13 record, but were starting to climb back to .500. The Lakers opened their weekend up a loss against SUNY New Paltz. After the loss, things began to click for Oswego State, as the team embarked on a five-game winning streak. The Lakers won their second game against New Paltz and followed that with back-to-back sweeps of SUNY Oneonta and Nazareth College. Schroeter has been on a tear lately, recording ten hits, scoring six runs, and plating five runners during the winning streak.

Oswego State’s win in the opening game of the series represented the Lakers’ first win against the Red Dragons since 1987. Senior infielder Nicole Ouellette contributed to the Laker victory with two runs batted in. Freshman Alexis Nasca relieved senior pitcher Sarah Thayer in the first inning and posted six and two-thirds shutout innings, en route to her third win of the season.

Oswego State’s home stand continued a week later against Buffalo State after its doubleheader against Cazenovia College was canceled. The Lakers lost two straight against Buffalo State before rebounding with a doubleheader sweep of SUNY Fredonia.

Oswego State scored 16 runs in two games against Fredonia. The offense was paced by freshman standout Tori Trovato, who had six hits and four runs batted in, and junior Dee Apps, who homered and drove in four runs in the sweep of the Blue Devils.

The Lakers then hit the road and traveled to SUNY Plattsburgh for two games against the rival Cardinals. Oswego State failed to get their offense going and dropped both games to Plattsburgh.

Despite losing two games against their biggest rival, the Lakers bounced back with a big win against SUNY Potsdam. Oswego State recorded a convincing 18-0 win against the Bears. Apps had four runs batted in and Nasca tacked on two more in Oswego State’s defeat of Potsdam. The win showed the fight of the entire Laker team, according to Price.

“The kids have really battled this season and have shown a lot of character,” Price said. “They never give up.”

After their series with Potsdam, the Lakers returned home for two games against Wells College only to have the games canceled. Oswego State hit the road two days later and traveled to SUNYIT for a two-game set against the Wildcats. The Lakers swept the Wildcats behind the bat of Trovato. The freshman recorded five hits and batted in two runs to pace the Laker offense. Thayer pitched in game two of the doubleheader and recorded a complete game, her second of the season. She gave up only two runs while striking out six batters. Price credits Thayer for her outstanding effort this season.

“Sarah Thayer is throwing better than she has ever thrown,” Price said. “She has really stepped up on the mound.”

The Lakers traveled back to Oswego with a 9-13 record, but were starting to climb back to .500. The Lakers opened their weekend up with a loss against SUNY New Paltz. After the loss, things began to click for Oswego State, as the team embarked on a five-game winning streak. The Lakers won their second game against New Paltz and followed that with back-to-back sweeps of SUNY Oneonta and Nazareth College. Schroeter has been on a tear lately, recording ten hits, scoring six runs, and plating five runners during the winning streak.

Price credits Schroeter, along with junior infielder Katie Bredin to jumpstarting the offense during the streak.

“Sam Schroeter and Katie Bredin seem to be the key that gets things going offensively,” Price said. “When they lead us off and are successful, the wheels just keep turning.”

In the Lakers’ most recent series, freshman catcher Alexandra McKay has stepped up her game at the plate. McKay launched two home runs in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Nazareth. She also scored four runs and drove in four while nearly doubling her runs scored and runs batted in for the season.

The Lakers have six games remaining in the season and will be traveling to SUNY Geneseo and The College at Brockport before concluding their season in Utica against the Pioneers. After a rocky season, the Lakers are in prime playoff position and are looking to finish the season strong.

“I hope to have a very successful weekend,” Price said. “We are playing very well and just at the right time. Our kids are very confident.”

Once the playoffs begin, Price sees no end in sight for her team after watching the way they have been playing recently. Their hot play has given her lofty expectations moving forward.

“I think we can win it all,” Price said. “The way we are playing right now and with the fight the kids have, it is very doable.”

Trovato will look to stay hot at the plate, as she leads the team with a .430 batting average to go along with four homeruns, 35 runs scored and 22 runs batted in. Schroeter is right behind Trovato with a .406 average and 20 runs scored.

Trovato is tied for the team lead in homeruns with McKay and senior Brook Radley. Thayer leads the team on the mound, having logged 77 innings pitched and recording eight wins. Freshman pitcher Alexandria Connelly leads the team in earned run average with a 3.93 mark.