By David Pavlak
As the semester ends, it is time to take a look at the positives and negatives of the spring sports played at Rider. The results were split, with some showing affirmative team play, while others seem to be lost in the dark. Though the semester is coming to a close, the teams will continue to finish up their seasons. Hopefully those who have lost their way will be able to turn some things around, at least trying to finish with a moral victory. The teams that are competing fiercely will continue to battle it out until the end of the season, and try to not slip and fall while coming across the finish line.
The baseball team, coming off a recent MAAC championship, has been performing up to the preseason standards so far. The Broncs are 23-14 overall, but in the MAAC, where they face some of their toughest opponents, they have flourished. Rider is 10-5 against MAAC competition, losing one game to Iona and two games to Fairfield. The bats have come alive at the right time for the Broncs. Against MAAC opponents, Rider is outscoring them by a total of 90-55. Seniors Mason Hayne, A.J. Albee, John Ralston and Steve Galella, as well as junior Brandon Cotten, sophomore Adam Wayman and freshman Nick Crescenzo, are all hitting over .250, and are continually producing in the clutch.
Pitching hasn’t been bad for the Broncs either, as senior Mike Thomas, junior Patrick Devlin, sophomore Chris Taylor and freshman Kyle Kennett all have winning records. If the Broncs continue their strong pitching performances, Rider will be a strong contender during the MAAC championships. Head Coach Barry Davis has his team in a positive state of mind right now, and they are showing that by consistently playing good baseball. With the coaching experience of Davis and the heart the Broncs show on the diamond, this team could be a contender for years to come.
Baseball’s counterpart has had a dismal season so far. After going 2-8 in their first 10 games, nothing has seemed to spark passion into the team’s play. Runs have been tough to come by, which severely hampers the team’s ability to win. On top of that, the pitching efforts have been lacking, as opposing teams are chalking up plenty of runs, turning a lot of games into blowouts.
The women had a season-high nine-game losing streak that spanned from April 9-21. A few of the Broncs have shown the ability to play through the rough times, though. Senior Jen Steward, junior Lucy Higgins, sophomore Alyssa Paul and freshman Kehli Washington all have had fairly successful plate experiences.
Pitching has been a mystery all year for the Broncs. Junior Rachael Matreale, the team’s usually consistent ace, is 4-19 and has allowed 153 hits through 143 1/3 innings pitched. Her 3.17 ERAis lowest of the pitchers. Freshman Krysti Maronski has shown promise for the Broncs, but will need to become more consistent. Maronski is 3-6 with a 5.14 era. If there is a positive for the softball team, it would be that the season is almost over. This will allow the Broncs to regroup, strategize and come back ready to perform next season.
Positive: Track and Field
The track and field team has showcased strong performances the whole season. It has consistently competed and performed to the best of its ability. The highlight of the season so far was the Rider Invitational, the first meet of the season on Rider’s home track, where the men finished first and the women finished second. To come out on your own field and take control over your competition was a big step for track and field.
There have also been many noteworthy individual performances. Personal records were set, and the competition was pushed to the max. If the team continues this style of intense play, it will be a tough competitor in the MAAC championships. Hopefully Rider will be represented proudly in both the ECAC/IC4A and the NCAA championships.
Negative: Tennis and Golf
The tennis team has been facing the same struggles that have repeatedly haunted it year after year. The men finished 2-19, with both victories coming over Wagner, 6-0 and 4-3. The women fared a little better, finishing 3-15. The women defeated Saint Francis once and Wagner twice. Both seasons were punctuated with long losing streaks. Senior Mallory Garbaravage, juniors Tricia Ashmore and Danielle White and sophomore Marly Roche all won three single matches throughout the season. Sophomore Alexa Manforti and freshman Kim Leder finished atop the win list with four each.
For the men, sophomore John Spellman and freshman Rollie Malfitano were the top two winners. Spellman finished with four wins in singles play, while Malfitano finished with five. The tennis team will need these individual stars to shine brightly next season, because team play is lacking against the more powerful schools the Broncs face.
The golf team faces a similar struggle. Stronger competition and inconsistent play has hampered it throughout the season. There were some bright spots for the Broncs though.Freshman James Buttermark has put up consistent numbers throughout the season. He will be a vital part of the golf team as it continues to grow through the next couple of years. If Buttermark can gain the attributes of a leader, this team has the possibility of moving forward in the right direction.
Senior Brian Accorsini has shown veteran leadership with the team on and off the golf course, and hopefully others will pick up where he has left off.
The team is preparing for the MAAC championships, where other teams might underestimate them. If they do, the Broncs have the opportunity to turn some heads, but that’s only if their putters allow them to.