The Season for Sarah: Fordham Softball looks to Rally for an A10 Crown

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The Fordham Softball squad returns with minimal subtraction and major addition. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Thomas Aiello, Assistant Sports Editor

Despite last season’s stop and start nature due to the pandemic, the Fordham Softball team is ready to get back into action and compete for the Atlantic 10 title. The Rams return a mostly similar team this season, but nonetheless lost a major contributor in pitcher Madie Aughinbaugh who graduated last spring. 

Aughinbaugh finished third in program history in strikeouts (482), shutouts (14) and eighth in career ERA with a 2.59 mark over four years. A future Fordham Athletics Hall of Famer is no easy player to replace, but the Rams seem to have more than enough firepower to push the next regime.

Junior Devon Miller will be handling a majority of the pitching duties following her first team All-Conference and A-10 Rookie of the Year campaign, finally getting a full season under her belt. With a 1.61 ERA last season in 22 games, which also included 16 complete games plus 11 shutouts, Miller will for sure be gunning for A-10 Player of the Year honors.

Behind Miller is a strong supporting cast of pitchers in senior Makenzie McGrath, sophomore Bailey Enoch and freshman Emilee Watkins. 

McGrath will be the senior leader and in the circle when Miller isn’t pitching. Enoch was limited in her opportunities last season to pitch, only pitching in 10 games due to the fact that she also played in the field. However, this season she will have more of a chance to pitch with Watkins taking more of a reliever role. 

The catcher’s rapport is also critical to the success of pitching; junior Amanda Carey will be doing most of the work behind the dish due to her experience. Freshman Sydney Wells, named a top 25 prospect by USA Preps, will also be getting some burn in the catching timeshare.

Fordham’s offense will look to maintain itself following the success of last season, where they finished second in the A-10 in total runs (281), doubles (64), home runs (51) and RBIs (254). They also stole 72 bases, the most in the conference. There will be no shortage of juice on the offensive side for the Rams.

The outfield will be entering their third season together and will be one of the better trios in the A-10. Graduate students Brianna Pinto and Kelly Bright will round out that outfield with junior Michaela Carter. Senior Gigi Speer will also be in the outfield rotation along with freshmen Mallory McClellan and Mary Grace O’Neil.

Pinto returns coming off an all-conference second team selection, where she hit .431 for the entire season, a new program single season record. Bright adds a solid glove to the mix as well as the experience of being a fifth year player. Add that to the rising Carter, plus a strong support behind them, and the recipe for success is there.

Keep an eye out for the designated player spot which will have a rotating platoon between quite a few people. Miller, Enoch, sophomore Julia Petrovich and freshman Sydney Wells look to play into that mix. 

Rounding out the infield is a variety of mix and match players who can be put into multiple spots and succeed. Enoch will be in this mix along with former All-Rookie selection Bella Ayala, senior extra base hit machine Julia Martine, the hard hitting redshirt senior Rachel Hubertus, senior Sarah Taffet and freshman Allie Clark. It’s worth noting that senior infielder Sarah Taffet will be easing herself back into the regular mix following heart surgery last fall.

Now, of course, the fall season had brought an event that was so extraordinary it sent a shockwave around New York and Fordham. Taffet was sent into cardiac arrest following a tag to the chest. Since that day, the team has used that incident as a rallying cry to come together. 

After heart surgery and some time away from the game, Taffet is finally back practicing with the team. Her role within the middle infield is still there, but nonetheless, Taffet is back practicing with the team. Her miraculous turnaround should serve as an inspiration to all and is one of the main motivations for the team this season. 

The Rams bringing essentially everyone back is momentus. Adding productive freshmen and sophomores ready to make the jump to the next level, plus the motivation to play for Taffet, makes Fordham a force within the A-10.