The Fairfield University softball team finished their non-conference regular season on a high note, defeating the Yale Bulldogs on Wednesday at Alumni Softball Field, 9-1.
After this, the Stags entered conference regular season play with a record of 6-14, kicking off their MAAC regular season on Saturday, April 2 against the Rider University Broncs in Lawrenceville, N.J.
Despite the struggles, the Stags put up a stellar performance against the Bulldogs, with designated hitter Meghan Forbes ‘23 and pitcher Bailey Taylor ‘24 leading the way to victory.
Forbes finished the game with one run, two hits, and two RBIs. Even though her batting average entering Wednesday’s contest was .140, she was able to get it up thirty-four points to .174.
Forbes was pleased to finally breakthrough after going through a rough stretch in the batter’s box this season. She explains that the hard work and determination she has put into practices has finally paid off and is now showing in games.
“After having such a strong hitting season last year, I was not expecting this season to begin as it has,” Forbes explains. “I feel like I have been taking the right approach at the plate, but I have not been getting the results. However, it only takes one game or hit to finally change things around. Yale was that game for me. I have been putting in the work and it feels good to see it pay off.”
Also contributing to the win was Taylor, who started the contest with three-innings that saw one earned run, four hits, and a strikeout.
Although she pitched well, Taylor is challenging herself to take big steps forward to improve her performance and help the team win some games.
“I think there is always room for improvement when it comes to my pitching performance,” Taylor says. “I have had my ups and downs this season, and I am hard on myself because I want to throw my best for this team. I feel comfortable in the circle and my focus is to step up for my team and continue to improve each time I take the mound.”
Both players agree that this win is a step in the right direction as the Stags begin their conference regular season play.
“It has been noticeable that so far this year we have not been playing as well as we envisioned,” junior hitter Forbes states. “However, finishing our non-conference games on a high note is just what we need going into conference. It shows that if we put all three elements together, hitting, pitching and defense, we will win games and we are good enough. This little high is just a taste of what we can accomplish and hope to prove that we are better.”
“Our team connected well with the ball and our hitting was on fire against Yale, scoring 8 runs in one inning,” the sophomore pitcher explains. “Hitting is contagious, and we used that to our advantage to beat Yale 9-1. I was pumped to see us stringing together clutch hits and keeping our foot on the gas.”
As Fairfield begins conference regular season play, the players see it as an opportunity to reset and control what is in their destiny. Forbes sees this as an opportunity to showcase their talents and to stand out from the rest of the teams in the conference.
“Our approach to the start of our conference games is to come out with a bang and leave it all out on the field,” she says. “We have only 20 games to prove that we are one of the best in the MAAC. The results of the games before conference play do not matter. We have a fresh slate and hope to use this to our advantage and only continue to grow and improve as a team.”
Taylor further explains that consistency and living by head coach Julie Brzezinski’s values of attitude, effort and intensity are the keys to staying determined and focused the rest of the way.
“Consistency is something that we are working on improving as the season continues,” Taylor proclaims. “We have the pitching, hitting and defense skills, it’s just a matter of piecing them together. Another thing we have talked about as a team is controlling the controllables. You are going to get stuck with bad weather, field conditions, umpires, and more, but it is our job to control what we can control. As our coach says: Attitude, Effort, Intensity. Lastly, we have focused on having fun because, at the end of the day, it’s just a game. We are all extremely competitive, and it’s a good reminder that this game should be fun and played with a smile.”
Off the field, both teammates know that they will have each other to support as they enter a pivotal part of the season. Both players agree that strong team chemistry and the so-called “prankster-duo” of sophomores Evie Wright and Kasey Sekula will help the team stay loose and have a strong, positive attitude going forward.
“Our team chemistry is very strong which is something we take pride in,” says Forbes. “We know that we always have each other’s backs and believe in one another on and off the field. Our leadership is strong. We are an older, more experienced team which comes with many advantages. Our familiarity makes our team feel like a family.”
“We have had our ups and downs this season, but this team has a lot of fight and it’s only a matter of time till we get in a rhythm,” says Taylor. “Our team chemistry is strong and continues to grow. Personally, I have made many friendships on this team, and those bonds translate to trust and support on the field. Evie and Kasey are quite the prankster duo on the team. Their fun energy boosts team morale and always puts me in a good mood.”
However, on Saturday, April 2, the Stags could not come up with wins against Rider University, falling 0-1 in their first game of the day and 0-8 in the second according to the official softball schedule.
Sunday saw an additional two games on the schedule versus Monmouth University, but both contests were postponed. They will next face off against Columbia University on Wednesday, April 6 at 4 p.m.
As the Stags meander their way through the season, they are continuing to work hard and put their best foot forward. They are looking for ways to stand out from the rest of the MAAC, and they know that the core fundamentals and strong team culture they possess will help them as they start to make some noise.