Sunday, April 27, 2014 – La Salle University / Philadelphia, PA (A10 REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS)
Before the start of every season, it is a Fordham Softball tradition to write down each goal we have collectively and individually. We girls sit in a circle with our coaches at the helm, and spend roughly an hour discussing our expectations and hopes, both small and lofty, for the upcoming months of the season. This year, one of our many collective goals, as it is every season, was to win both the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament championships. Despite the fact that we won the tournament last year, we did not win the regular season, finishing second behind St. Joe’s.
We were able to cross this goal off of our list on Saturday, as we swept La Salle behind two dominating offensive performances to clinch the regular season title with one week still remaining in the regular season. No matter what happens when we play Dayton next weekend, we will possess the number one seed and receive a first round bye for the A10 tournament at our home field in the Bronx in ten days.
Despite the distinct honor we are afforded as the regular season Atlantic 10 champions, rings are not won in the regular season. It is of the utmost importance for us to acknowledge this now.
My Dad frequently tells me that one of the most important factors for success in softball is to always have a sharpened focus, with the immediate tasks (hitting, fielding, etc.) at the forefront of your thoughts, and the ultimate goals (wins, championships) in the back of your mind. Being able to maintain this focus, which has propelled us to our current 15-game winning streak, will be the key for our success in the upcoming A10 tournament.
While it is great to see us accomplish our team goals, it is also fun to watch each other accomplish individual goals. For instance, my best friend and teammate Elise has emerged as the best player in the Atlantic 10 this season (if not the best player in the entire northeast region). On Saturday, she set the Fordham Softball single-season RBI record with 64, after launching a three-run bomb against LaSalle. She then went on to hit another home run (a grand slam), in the same game, which increased her RBI total to 68. I would be remiss if I forgot to mention the modern day Mantle-Maris home run chase that is now taking place at Rose Hill, as both Elise and our catcher Gabby are pursuing the all-time Fordham Softball career home run record. The record is 45 and they have 42 and 41, respectively. This is really fun stuff to witness, folks.
Winning the regular season is just the first accomplishment of several goals we have for the end of our season. These next ten days before the Atlantic 10 tournament are perhaps the most crucial of all the days this season, as we will need to work towards sharpening our focus in preparation for our toughest battles ahead. We are on the cusp of greatness; I can almost taste it.