Softball playoff preview

Dan Almasi and Anthony Reyes

Buffalo State’s women’s softball team (18-15, 11-7 SUNYAC) is the fourth seed going into the double-elimination SUNYAC playoffs. They will take on third-seeded Oneonta on Thursday at host Cortland at 1 p.m.


The two teams split a doubleheader that resulted in two similarly lopsided five-inning contests just over a week ago on April 18. As has been the trend for Buffalo State all season long, early momentum was the deciding factor. Buffalo State dropped the first game, 9-1, then turned the tables on the Red Dragons, taking the second contest 11-1.


Buffalo State lost just one game after leading at the bottom of the first scoring inning all season long; the Bengals opened the March 24 contest at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a 2-0 lead after the first inning, but ultimately fell, 8-6. Buffalo State has not won a game in which they trailed by more than a single run at the bottom of an inning all season long. The team to lead after the first scoring inning has won 28 of the 33 games the Bengals have played this year, four of which resulted in the Bengals’ favor, with the fifth being the aforementioned 8-6 loss.


The Bengals can’t rely on their rally caps, they haven’t worked all season long. They need to stress stepping up to the plate and scoring runs early, as it may very well be the deciding factor against Oneonta, considering it has been all year. The rules and consequence may change once the postseason rolls around, but telling trends tend to stick around regardless of the situation.


An early start often sets the tone of a game and provides a morale boost that pushes a team throughout the contest. Junior Stephanie Novo knows that more than just talent and ability play into the end result of any softball game.


“When we played some of the games, when we were loud and excited and all that stuff, we were so much better as a team,” Novo said. “So, I think just being into it, it’ll all come together talent wise.”

Novo feels the team has improved and taken the right steps to make a deep run after losing out in the second round last season. The Bengals were eliminated after a 6-3 win over New Paltz was sandwiched by two losses to Cortland, 14-6 and 6-2.


“I think this team hits a lot better than last year,” Novo said. “I think we’re a lot more confident than last year. Honestly, I think we can beat anybody.”


Senior pitcher Maddie Coneys seconded Novo’s statement.


“We have a lot more talent than we did last year,” Coneys said. “It’s a different chemistry, which is good.”

Head coach Marie Curran feels the team is in the right mindset. The up-and-down regular season slate is in the rearview mirror.

“They have very short memories,” Curran said. “I think that’s really important if you’re a softball or a baseball player. It’s a failure sport; if you carry everything forward with you, you’re never going to be good, and they’ve moved beyond things. They’ve learned from their mistakes, they learned from our mistakes as a whole.”

Though the Bengals may have had higher expectations than a fourth-seed finish going into the season, they’re in the playoffs and are primed to make a run at the SUNYAC Championship, right where they expected to be all along.

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Associate Sports Editor Anthony Reyes contributed to this story