By Justin Rimpi
Coming off a season where the FDU Softball team increased their overall win total by 12 games and Northeast conference win total by seven games, the team is ready to hit the ball over the fence during their 2019 season.
The Knights are picked to finish sixth out of nine teams this season in the preseason NEC coaches’ poll. The team finished 17-26 last season, and 8-8 in NEC play.
The Knights were led last season by junior Reanna Cervantes who earned second team all-NEC honors. Cervantes hit .336 with four home runs while knocking in 24 runs last season. All three of these marks led the Knights last season.
Sophomore Abby England also provided a power boost for the Knights as she hit three home runs and drove in 21 runs. Both of these power numbers were second to Cervantes.
Baylee Ports, the ace of the Knights pitching staff last season with a 3.27 ERA, led the staff with 107 innings pitched.
Head coach Chris Foye, entering his second year at the helm, and believes the team made massive strides they can build on as this season gets ready to begin.
“The main reason our team was so successful last year was because everyone had a role on the team and contributed when needed. They bought into being one cohesive unit and had a ‘we’ attitude as opposed to a ‘me’ attitude,” Foye said.
“It’s not always the most talented team that wins but the team that comes together as a group that supports one another both on and off the field. I am confident we will have a few players again this year that will step up to make big contributions that will take us to the next level” Foye said.
The team plays a grueling schedule of 55 games including 19 instances of double-headers. The team also plays road games in Louisiana, Maryland and even California before conference play begins on March 30 when the Knights host Sacred Heart.
The Knights are returning their entire team from last season, losing outfielder Jaymee Jackson, who graduated in 2018. The team has brought in seven freshmen that Foye believes can come into the program and contribute right when the season begins.
“We wanted to change the culture of the program, which had a rough time the previous years and we feel we were very successful in doing that,” Foye said.
“As a coaching staff, we have seen vast improvements, not only from last year but also from just this past fall up until now. We know this will continue to translate to better team chemistry and more wins on the field,” Foye said.
The softball team’s season began in Louisiana where they played 11 games over the course of nine days from Feb. 16-24. Their record is currently 4 – 7.
“We are looking forward to a great season that hopefully ends with a conference championship and a trip to NCAA Regionals. I don’t see why these team goals along with a few others can’t be achieved this spring,” said Foye.
Baylee Ports is considered one of the best pitchers on the Knights staff. By FDU