BY KEVIN JONES, STAFF WRITER
As students trudge through the snow on their way to classes and bundle up for the cold, they wish for some indication that spring is on its way. At Susquehanna, along with warmth, spring brings baseball and softball season.
According to a Landmark Preseason poll, Susquehanna’s baseball team was picked to finish fourth this season.
“We need to make the routine plays in the field and put the ball in play,” Crusaders baseball coach Denny Bowers said.
Bowers explained that the team changed a lot since last year with the edition of 19 new players. He said the new players give the team more depth across the board and significantly improves the offense over last year. Bowers also said that the team’s goal this year is to win the conference title.
Sophomore Bryan Palsi led the team with a .363 batting average as a freshman last year.
“I hope to improve, and I have worked towards it but it is hard to say,” Palsi said.
Palsi said that this year, the team’s goal is to finish with a winning record, make the playoffs and win a conference title.
Meanwhile, softball experienced a whirlwind of a season last year, winning a school record 40 games, capturing a Landmark Conference championship and winning three games in the NCAA tournament before losing to Virginia Wesleyan.
Crusaders softball coach Kathy Kroupa said that another 40-win season this year may not be attainable, but that the team will be successful this year. Kroupa said that for the team to be successful, they have to play as a team, have good consistency and a strong work ethic and be mentally tough.
Although Susquehanna’s softball team lost a strong senior class and several all-conference players, Kroupa explained the team should still be successful due to their strong freshman class. Kroupa said that the team’s goal for this year is to compete and to win the conference championship.
Alyssa Cantalini, a junior third baseman for the softball team, had a breakout season last year hitting, .362 with six home runs and 34 RBIs. Cantalini said the playoff success last year does not affect the team because they are looking forward.
“We are not looking back on what we did, we’re looking towards the future at what we can do,” Cantalini said.
Cantalini said that for this season the goal is for the team to play at their best, whether that means playing as good as or better than they did last year. Cantalini said, “We have to work as one unit and support each other when we are down in games.”
Cantalini said she is looking forward to seeing how this year’s team matches up against some of the teams Susquehanna played last year.
“It will also be interesting to see how far we can go as a new team this year,” Cantalini said.
The baseball team’s first game of the season will be on Feb. 23 in a doubleheader against Shenandoah with the first game at 12 p.m.
Softball’s first game will be part of a doubleheader on March 2 in Clermont, Fla.