By Kristie Kahl
She is a quiet force with a career that seems to have gone under the radar here at Rider, and now it is coming to an end.
In two weeks, Rider’s softball team will have to let go of senior outfielder Tiffany Day-Neutill.
“She’s probably one of the most driven kids I’ve ever coached,” Head Coach Tricia Carroll said. “She tries her best in everything she does, but she doesn’t let it consume her. She works hard, and she can accept things for what they are. If every kid was like Tiffany, then I wouldn’t have to do anything anymore.”
During her past four years here, Day-Neutill has made a name for herself with her numerous awards and broken records, leaving her mark on Rider for years to come.
As a rookie, she started 44 games while leading off the batting lineup. She earned herself Second Team All-MAAC honors while leading the Broncs in runs scored and home runs, and went 9-10 in stolen bases.
Her freshman year was just an inkling of what kind of dynamic player she would continue to be. In 2005, Day-Neutill batted .350 in 13 conference games with 14 hits, including three home runs.
As a sophomore, Day-Neutill continued to grow as a key player for the Broncs while starting every game of the season. She continued to lead Rider in statistics, taking first in runs scored, doubles, RBIs and walks for the team.
Day-Neutill sparked her success as a power hitter producing 13 multiple-hit games, five multiple-RBI games and a .367 batting average against MAAC teams.
She continued to rise in the ranks as a First Team All-MAAC honoree as an outfielder. As a junior, Day-Neutill played in every game, starting all but one, to lead the Broncs in batting average, hits, triples, home runs, RBIs, walks and stolen bases.
Day-Neutill improved her stats from the previous season, having 18 multiple-hit games and six multiple-RBI games with a career high six RBIs in a conference game against Siena. Among the MAAC games, Day-Neutill batted .481 while going 4-4 with three runs in just one game against Manhattan. She became a dependable player during clutch situations as she came through for the Broncs with 12 two-out RBIs and batted .471 with runners in scoring position.
After the completion of her ’07 season, Day-Neutill picked up her 100th career hit and was ranked 17th in the nation for her .427 batting average.
With such a huge peak in her junior year, Day-Neutill continued to scale the ranks, becoming a two-time preseason All-MAAC honoree and MAAC All-Academic honoree. She was also honored as Rider’s Woman of the Year for the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
Day-Neutill began the year 16th on Rider’s all-time hit list with 154 hits. She has climbed the charts, currently finding herself at the fifth spot on the list with 190 career hits. She added yet another accomplishment when she scored her 100th career run in last Saturday’s game against Marist.
While topping the charts in almost every team category, Day-Neutill leads the team with a .356 batting average. She also leads with a .525 slugging percentage, a .454 on base percentage, 21 runs scored, 36 hits, 10 RBIs, four home runs, three stolen bases, 15 walks and 36 games started.
As a vital component to Rider softball, Day-Neutill has made the concept of smart batting look easy. She has continually made a name for herself, achieving numerous feats along the way.
“Tiffany is a special hitter,” Carroll said. “Tiffany understands that she’ll take any way to get on base to make things happen.”
Looking back on her time here, Day-Neutill has learned the ins and outs of the game.
“I’ve learned that I’m not going to be perfect,” she said. “There’s going to be times when I’m not going to hit well and I’m going to go through bumps or I’m going to have a bad game. I just really try to brush those things off and go get them next time around.”
Besides being a power hitter in the line-up, Day-Neutill excels in guiding her teammates on and off the field.
“I try to lead by example,” Day-Neutill said. “I want people to see me as someone that they can look up to. I do what I need to do, and hopefully people will see that and will want to follow.”
As Day-Neutill continues to strive for the team’s common goal of the MAAC Championships, she leaves her team with one piece of advice for when she’s gone: “Field the games. Just go out there and know who you are, know that you are good, and just go out there and play.”