The Oswego State softball team returned from its spring break trip in Clermont, Fla. with high hopes for its upcoming season.
The Lakers finished with a 3-5 overall record, which included a split doubleheader against their first SUNYAC opponent, SUNY Plattsburgh. The Lakers, due to the levels of competition, posted a wide variety of scores varying from winning 8-4 against the Cardinals to losing 12-2 against Clarkson University.
“I believe that our scores were tighter against our tougher opponents,” said head coach Kevin Ahern. “We played teams that are projected to win their conference,” Head Coach Kevin Ahern said. “We split with Platty and I believe from that point on we played some great ball.”
Despite their record, the Lakers already have one-third of the wins they recorded in the previous season when they finished 9-18 under then-head coach Casey Price.
“What I learned from this trip is that our team has a very positive attitude,” Ahern said. “It is not a group of nine, but a group of 21 who are all positive and in it together.”
A bright spot from their trip was junior pitcher Lisa O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan recorded all three of the Lakers’ wins over break. She posted a team best 2.13 ERA, three complete games, 19 strikeouts and held hitters to a .161 batting average against her.
“She hasn’t come close to reaching her potential,” Ahern said. “She throws hard and throws consistent. When she pitches like that she gives us a chance to win.”
O’Callaghan has been a part of the field hockey team for the last three years, but this is the first year she has played softball at Oswego State. Before coming to Oswego State O’Callaghan was an integral part of her high school team.
“I’m so happy to have been that good over the trip,” O’Callaghan said. “The last two seasons I thought it would be too hard to play two sports and keep up with my other school work, but the team has been so supportive. I have fit right in and the pitching is just from memory.”
Hitting was also a strong point for the Lakers. Freshman 2B/OF Melanie Klauser’s bat is one reason for the Lakers’ high hopes this season.
“She goes full speed into whatever she does, and that carried over into her play,” Ahern said. “She hit the ball hard into play and it worked out for her.”
Klauser enjoyed her trip to Clermont posting a .455 batting average, .455 on-base percentage, .545 slugging percentage and producing two RBIs.
“All of the extra batting practices before the trip really help me, and I am thrilled that I could start my first season here the way I have,” Klauser said.
Klauser just inched above sophomore shortstop Ashley Lyman who posted a .444 batting average. Lyman hit just above the .270 mark last year. She clobbered a three-run homerun in her first at bat of conference play. She also doubled and brought two more runners home to account for five of her team-leading nine RBIs. She also posted a .444 on-base percentage, as well as a team leading .778 slugging percentage.
Senior Jessie Terrano, junior Melissa Mulvaney and freshmen Erin McNeely all hit above .300 and posted at least a .400 slugging percentage.
One area of improvement the team is looking to work on is fielding. The Lakers had 19 errors in their eight games over break. They also only had a handful of the starting players above the .900 fielding percentage mark.
“It is definitely something that you want to cleanup,” Ahern said “I’ll take aggressive errors when a kid is trying to make a play, but the concern is when it is constant mental errors. Those will be cleaned up as we go along.”
Things to watch for as the Lakers return home is that this is Ahern’s first season as head coach. He was the assistant coach up until this point, and is looking to bring a laid back approach to the team.
Also, this season marks the return of junior Tori Trovato. She took her sophomore season off to focus on ice hockey. During her freshman year she led the team with a .415 batting average, 34 runs, 49 hits, 11 doubles, six homeruns and a .678 slugging percentage. Defensively, she also led the team with 83 assists.
“She was hitting the ball, and hitting the ball hard,” Ahern said. “She is going to be right in the middle of our lineup, and she is going to do damage.”
The Lakers were scheduled to play two doubleheaders this weekend at Laker Softball Field. The four games have been canceled due to snow on the field. The Lakers are scheduled to play a doubleheader at Cazenovia College on Wednesday April 1.