A few weeks ago, I took a look at Cortland’s baseball team to see how they stacked up and to tell you which players you should keep an eye on for the 2019 season. This week I will be doing the same thing, but this time I will be diving into Cortland’s softball team to see what they have in store for us this year.
In 2018, Cortland’s softball team had a 23-19 overall record and a 12-5 record within their conference. They made it all the way to the SUNYAC championship and lost to the Geneseo Knights by a score of 5-1.
This year the Red Dragons are looking to get back on top as they had won the conference for three straight seasons from 2015-2017 and definitely have the talent to win it again in 2019.
The teams Head Coach, Julie Lenhart, is returning for her 25th season and has a proven track record of making this team perennial contenders within the SUNYAC conference. During her tenure, she has had seven World Series appearances, with a runner-up showing in 2013.
Similar to the baseball team, the softball team needs to get some non-league action in to prepare for the season. To do this, they have some out of state games scheduled, including three that they just played this past weekend in Maryland against Salisbury and Lynchburg.
Cortland lost all three games and while losing is never good, these games are essentially Spring Training matchup as the outcome doesn’t matter as much. The purpose of these games is simply to get the players some at-bats, time in the field, and time on the mound against real competition.
From March 17th-21st the team will be heading out to California to play four sets of double-headers and continue to prepare for the season, which starts on Friday, March 29th, against Potsdam.
Hitters To Watch
Last season Kelly O’Gorman was a force at the plate, with an insane slash line of .388/.442/.633. Her batting average led the team when looking at players with at least 10 at-bats, and her slugging percentage and on-base percentage were second, only to Feldman, who we will talk about soon enough.
O’Gorman played in 41/42 games for the team last season, had 21 extra-base hits, four of them being home runs, and had 27 RBI. There is no doubt that she can play, and with two years of college softball under her belt, she is primed to dominate in her Junior season.
As for Hannah Feldman, she has some serious power and will continue to be the thumper in the middle of the lineup for the Red Dragons this season. In 2018, she had a slash line of .352/.469/.781 and, as I mentioned earlier, she led the team in slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
Feldman mashed 14 home runs and had 37 RBI in 38 games last season. This is her Senior season so you should expect her to continue to be a force at the plate.
Pitcher To Watch
In 2018, the unquestioned ace of the Red Dragon’s pitching staff was Sam Van Dorn, and luckily for Cortland, she is heading into her Senior year and can build on her sparkling 2018 campaign.
Last season, Van Dorn was unbelievable. She pitched to a solid 14-10 record, but the statistics tell more of the story. She started 25 games, appeared in five more as a reliever, while registering a 1.73 ERA, 100 strikeouts, 153 1/3 innings pitched, and 11 complete games.
To put all of that in perspective, her 1.73 ERA was only slightly higher than Major League Baseball’s National League Cy Young winner in 2018, Jacob deGrom, who had a 1.70 ERA. To have an ERA that low in baseball or softball you have to be impeccable each time you are on the mound and Van Dorn was just that last season.
So far this season Van Dorn is 0-2 with a 2.21 ERA and one complete game, but the season is young and she can certainly rattle off a few games in a row with lights out stuff on the mound. Keep an eye on her this year.
The season is young and three early losses for Cortland does not properly describe the talent that this softball team has. Keep an eye on the Red Dragons, with the three players I mentioned above leading the way, they certainly have a chance to run the table in the SUNYAC tournament and beyond.