Wildcats Conclude 2008 Softball Season
Bay Path wrapped up their 2008 softball campaign with a 19-16 overall record. Under the direction of Head Coach Steve Smith and Assistant Coach Larry Nault the Wildcats had the most wins ever in a season. Helping lead the team this season were quad-captains Tianna Carr, Sarah Palmer, Amanda Rodriguez and Kristal Cormier.
Another feat accomplished was having two players earning All-NAC first team spots. Senior centerfielder Tianna Carr (Beverly, Mass.) and sophomore shortstop Sarah Gates (North Granby, CT) were both honored by the North Atlantic Conference as first team members. Carr, who is no stranger to all-conference honors, was named a 2005 All-NAC honorable mention as a freshman.
Bay Path, who also won the 2006 NAC Sportsmanship Award, has not seen a first team member in the past seven years. The “Maroon and White” sluggers broke through with a remarkable season having numerous players rank among the top-ten in several categories in the conference statistical standings. Bay Path who finished 7th with a 9-11 NAC record actually had a better overall winning record than five of the conference members.
Gates had a stellar sophomore campaign for the Wildcats topping her team in batting average (.495) as well as leading all NAC players. She also broke into numerous categories at the national level for the week of April 27th. In the most recent NCAA Division III statistical rankings Gates was 9th in the nation for hitting (.505), 5th for on-base percentage (.603), 14th for doubles (0.47per game), 24th for walks (0.71 per game), 24th for slugging percentage (.842), 26th for toughest to strike out (53.5 average) and 37th for runs per game (1.18). She led the NAC in most categories including batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, hits, doubles, total bases, plate appearances and at bats. Gates placed 2nd in steal attempts, stolen bases and walks and third in homeruns and triples. Sarah also set many Bay Path College season records as well including; games (35), at bats (111), hits (55), runs (42), walks (24) and total bases (89).
Gates finished the season with a .495 batting average as the only Wildcat to play and start in all 35 contests. She chipped in 42 runs, 55 hits, 24 RBI, 12 stolen bases, 16 doubles, three triples and four homers. Finishing with an amazing .802 slugging percentage and a .585 on-base percentage.
"Sarah had on of the most complete and best seasons a student-athlete could have on the field" according to Coach Smith.
Fellow all-conference nominee concluding her career on a high note. Carr finished the year batting .300 with 24 hits and 27 runs. Defensively, Carr is one of the best centerfielders in the NAC finishing with 66 put-outs and three assists with a .932 fielding percentage. For her career, she batted .295, slugged .353 and had a remarkable .924 fielding percentage in her three years of play leaving her mark as a Wildcat.
“Tianna Carr is one of the all-time best centerfielders Bay Path has had,” stated Smith. “Her ability to cover the outfield along with track, dive and field balls is the best I have seen in the conference.”
Along with Carr two other Wildcats wrapped up there collegiate careers donning the crimson and white jerseys. Catcher Amanda Rodriguez (South Hadley, Mass.) and outfielder Kristin Dzuiba (Springfield, Mass.) each played four years for Bay Path. Dzuiba tallied a .761 fielding percentage for her career.
Rodriguez had her best season thus far despite pushing through some injuries preventing her from playing in all 35 games. She finished second on the team in hitting with a .329 batting average along with a .418 slugging percentage and .402 on-base percentage. For her career, Rodriguez batted .278, slugged .364 with 49 hits, 41 runs, 35 RBI, four doubles, three homeruns, 151 put-outs and three assists. Defensively, as a catcher, she managed a stellar four-year .953 fielding percentage allowing only 10 errors in her 70 games played. In the NAC she was tied for third for batters caught stealing at eight for the year.
Sophomore second base player Sam Gunseth (Swanzey, NH) led her team in homeruns (6) and tied with RBI’s (24). Gunseth also led the NAC in homers and sacrifice flies (5) and was fifth in RBI and total bases (121). Defensively, she was second in the conference and first on her team in fielding double plays (7). Gunseth concluded her second year with a .316 batting average and .561slugging percentage. Sam also set a single season Bay Path record for home runs (6).
The 2008 Wildcats pitching staff consisted of sophomores Kristal Cormier (Rochester, NH) and Jessica Nizinski (West Springfield, Mass.). Cormier, a second year hurler, was 4th in the NAC for wins with a final record of 8-8 for her 18 appearances. She tallied a 4.19 ERA with three shut-outs and one save for 102.0 innings pitched. Cormier fanned 44 batters and walked 26 for the year along with batting a .239.
First year pitcher Nizinski had great break-out season with the Wildcats going 11-8 with a .579 winning percentage. She led all pitchers in the NAC for wins, third in appearances (19) and fifth in opponent’s batting average (.276). She topped her team with a 3.72 ERA tossing four shut-outs for her 116.2 innings pitched. Nizinski struck out 44 batters and walked 40 on the year. Offensively, she was fourth on the team in hitting (.306) and third in conference play (.324).
Junior starting utility players’ Sarah Wright (Canterbury, NH) and Sarah Palmer (Topsham, Maine) combined saw time in every position other than in the circle. Their versatility helped out the team this season covering holes in both the infield in outfield when needed. Wright hit .277 while Palmer tallied a .274 batting average.
Freshman stand-outs included outfielder Kat Begin (Weare, NH) and third base player Jessica Priestly (Middleboro, Mass.). Begin also saw time backing up Gunseth at second base while Priestly backed up Rodriguez behind the plate. Begin notched a .345 batting average for her 21 appearances and 12 starting nods. Priestly picked up 20 starting nods for her 22 appearances, tallying fifteen hits, one double and two home runs with 16 RBI.
Rounding out the 2008 Bay Path squad were sophomore outfielder Danielle Rambler (Farmington, NH) and freshmen Samantha Hahn (Hadley, Mass.), Kim Barbato (Broadheedsville, Penn.) and Taryn Ricci (Southington, Conn.) who all saw action and contributed to the team's success.
Bay Path finished the year scoring more runs (218) than their opponents (183). The Wildcats plated more runners with 165 team RBI’s in comparison to their opponent’s 153 RBI. They also more than doubled their free trips to base with 135 walks to only 66 walks given up by Cormier and Nizinski combined. Base running proved to be a big improvement this year; Bay Path stole fifty bases only allowing their opponent’s 24 bases stolen while catching 13 runners.
At the beginning of the 2008 campaign Coach Smith stated, “Each year our team goals are simple and direct as a program; finish with a winning record, make the conference tournament, find a winning and positive balance between the academic and athletic experience and have some fun,." With this said the Wildcats far exceeded their expectations for the year and left a brand for future teams try to replicate and surpass.
For more information on 2008 All Conference honors, finals Standings and Statistics visit the NAC website at http://www.nacathletics.com/sports/sball/index.