Conventional wisdom says there is nothing wrong with having a long home stand.
But, it actually does have its downside. As is usually the case with these extended periods at home, a long road trip is attached to balance the schedule.
For the Manhattan College softball team, after playing 10 consecutive games at Gaelic Park, a 12-game road trip is next on the slate.
“We’re ready,” Elena Bowman, Manhattan’s catcher said about the upcoming road games. “We’ve done what we needed to do at home. We accomplished all that we’re trying to do, which is win, and so we have a lot of momentum going on the road and we’re just really excited to go out and play hard.”
The road trip comes at a time where the Jaspers have been playing their best softball of the season, thanks in part to having played 10 straight games at home.
The team won nine of its 10 games at Gaelic and in the process, improved its record to 17-9 and 8-0 in the MAAC.
Now the team heads out to the road where it is just 1-3 on the season.
“We’re hitting the ball well, we’re pitching well,” Amy Bright, Manhattan’s starting pitcher said. “I really think that we can do really good on the road too. We just got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Jaspers’ pitching has been the team’s identity all season long according to head coach Tom Pardalis and it was none more apparent than during the 10-game home stand.
Starting pitchers Bright and Briana Matazinsky combined to give up just 12 runs in 10 games, and went the distance in seven of them.
In the final two games of the home stand, both Bright and Matazinsky delivered two gems, dominating Monmouth in two complete game shutouts.
“Every softball team is going as far as their pitchers go. …” Pardalis said. “We’ve got a great combination going.”
But it was not just the pitching that carried the Jaspers. The hitting was present as well.
The box score will refute that, as the Jaspers failed to score more than five runs in all but one contest, but game after game, the team came up with some timely hits.
To go along with the excellent pitching, a few runs was all the Manhattan pitchers needed.
“It helps when the pitchers are shutting it down,” Bright said. “It gives everyone confidence, and it helps the pitchers when we hit the ball. It gives you confidence when you have a five-run lead or a three-run lead. It’s a little more easy to pitch than a 0-0 game, so the hitting has really helped the pitching.”
Now the team shifts its focus to the road, where it will hope it can continue to count on clutch hits and on the superb performances from its pitchers.
The Jaspers will play eight MAAC games, and will look to continue building on their 8-0 record, which is the best start to conference play in program history.
“If we play well on the road, we’re going to be hosting the MAAC’s here,” Pardalis said. “That’s important to us, that we keep playing well, and you know what, I think we can play well on the road. I’d be shocked if we didn’t.”