Sunday, May 15, 2016

And Then There Was One

Marist seniors Colleen McWilliams, Kyrsten Van Natta and Maureen Duddy
The 2015 season just didn't seem to go right for the Marist Red Foxes from the beginning. All-MAAC senior Taylor Kuzma was out with injury, never to return to the lineup. The team lost some close games in conference play that maybe they should have won. At the end of the season, they found themselves on the outside, looking in. They were the best team not in the 2015 MAAC tournament; maybe better than a few teams that were in.

It was a disappointment for sure, but the 2015 season served as motivation for this season. No way they were going to miss out on the postseason was their thinking, and they stormed out of the gate to open the 2016 season, never looking back! This is the model all teams ought to follow in the future. The Red Foxes won four of five games at their first tournament in Tampa back in February. Through March, before beginning conference play, they lost only a few games, and were very competitive in most of those losses. By April they were in peak playing shape, and would win 13 of their first 14 MAAC games, with an extra innings thriller to Manhattan being their only loss. They swept through the recent MAAC Championship with three consecutive wins, never behind in any game.

The Red Foxes currently own a record of 45-11, best ever in the MAAC. As a team they are hitting for an average of .330; holding their opponents to .235. They have four regular players hitting .350 or better, and two regular pitchers with ERAs below 2.00. They can hit with power (53 home runs), and may be the best running team in the nation (154 stolen bases). They are also defensively very solid.

Their season continues; Sunday night the NCAA will announce the regional matchups for the 64 teams invited to the National Tournament. It's been a record breaking season for Marist. The last MAAC team to win a game in the NCAAs was Canisius, in 2008. The Red Foxes have a good chance to do the same!

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