By Matt Burrill
The softball team took its annual trip to western New York to take on Canisius and Niagara this past weekend in hopes of improving their 3-9 MAAC record.
After completing the nearly nine-hour northwest bound bus trip, the Broncs fell in both doubleheaders, losing to Canisius (16-26, 6-8 MAAC) 6-1 and 9-5 on April 26, and Niagara (16-28, 6-10 MAAC) 1-0 and 6-2 on April 27.
“Just a continuation of a really tough year, the kids are really working hard and we’ve just continued to come up short,” said Tricia Carroll, Rider’s head coach, now in her 20th season with the program.
Although the trip resulted in defeats in two doubleheaders, there were many positives for the Broncs (5-38, 3-13 MAAC) on this trip. Strong performances came from freshman pitcher Delany DeMello, who allowed just three hits in her 7.1-inning performance against Niagara; sophomore first baseman Dana Sensi, who went 4 for 11 and contributed four RBIs; and junior shortstop Gina McCool, who went 4 for 9, picking up her 100th career hit.
McCool came into the weekend just two hits shy of reaching her milestone. She became the second player this season to reach the milestone, after junior second baseman Amanda Irving surpassed 100 just four days earlier.
“Gina’s been great, serving as a general in the infield for us,” said Carroll. “She’s been able to keep the team calm and put most of the weight on her shoulders.”
Now sitting at 102 career hits, McCool is only one of 47 players in Rider softball history to reach the 100-hit milestone.
“Knowing that I am in Rider softball history is a great honor,” said McCool. “I am thankful to both my coaches and teammates for giving me the opportunity to swing the bat and make something happen.”
Although 2014 has not been the year that the Broncs had hoped for, the team has been working hard and making progress over the course of the season. With seven of the team’s 18 players competing in their first season at the collegiate level, the team features a large group of young players for years to come.
“The freshmen have really made tremendous strides from when they first arrived in the fall and have gained a lot of experience,” said Carroll. “We’re hoping that it pays off down the road.”
Now with only three doubleheaders remaining, including two against conference opponents Monmouth (18-18, 9-7 MAAC) and Iona (17-21, 11-6 MAAC), the Broncs want to end their season well.
“We’re looking forward to finishing on a strong note and working hard for the remainder of the season,” said Carroll.
Before finishing their MAAC conference schedule, the Broncs will be hosting La Salle (18-20, 9-7 A-10) on April 30 at 3 p.m. for a weekday non-conference doubleheader.
“We know we are a good team and we plan on proving that with these last six games,” said McCool.