Softball ready to compete with experienced lineup

Softball opens up their season Friday in North Carolina, will spend first 25 games away from Buffalo.

Sophomore Hannah Catallo-Stooks gets ready in the field during a 12-0 route of St. Bonaventure April 23 of last season. Catallo-Stooks started 43 of 44 games last year. Photo courtesy of Marshall Haim via GoGriffs.com.

The 2020 season for the Canisius College Golden Griffins softball team begins today as they take on the Youngstown State Penguins as part of the Gardner-Webb tournament. 

Regardless of the team’s first 25 games being away from home, the team is hoping to get off to a better start than last season, which saw the team lose their first 11 games before finally beating Youngstown State during the UNC Wilmington tournament. Their first home game will be on April 5, a doubleheader against Siena.

The team will have eight returning seniors to lead the team this season, joined by five juniors, five sophomores, and five freshmen. Head coach Kim Griffin will be beginning her sixth season at the helm of the Griffin’s squad.

One of the key pieces to the returning roster is redshirt senior Lauren Castro, who led the team last season with eight home runs, and she finished last season as the program’s all-time leader in home runs with 20. One of those home runs was a grand slam in the first game of a two game sweep of St. Bonaventure, which helped bolster her impressive 2019 stat line. A utility player for the team, Castro started 30 games last season, 11 of those as the pitcher.

Another player to watch this season is sophomore pitcher Alexis Churchill, who pitched nine innings during the regular-season finale last year against Marist. Churchill struck out nine batters in a complete game shutout of Buffalo.

 In part to their above average pitching core, Canisius is also hoping to build on an above average home record from last season. Their strength was at the Demske Sports Complex, winning nine out of the 14 games played on campus.

The beginning of the year should prove to be a great experience for the team. The second tournament of the year will be the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., and it will be the first time the team has been to that city in 11 years. This tournament will come after the tournament at Gardner-Webb University, and after the completion of those tournaments, the team will spend more time back on the east coast, with a tournament at George Mason in Washington, D.C., and then the University of North Carolina Wilmington Invitational. 

After seven games in North Carolina, they will play a doubleheader of non-conference games at Robert Morris in Pennsylvania, before finally beginning conference play at Manhattan on March 28th.

The team finished ninth out of eleven teams in conference play last season, but were only one game away from surpassing both Manhattan and Quinnipiac for seventh place. With plenty of senior leadership, the Golden Griffins softball team will be ready when they play their first true home game in April. 

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