Column: Hudson, Bona softball players react to ongoing pandemic, canceled season

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Akim Hudson

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — COVID-19, Coronavirus or whichever you prefer to call it, has struck the United States and has sent waves of peril and panic from coast to coast.

Unless one has been living under a rock, they can observe the effects of Coronavirus.

No, I don’t mean the biological and anatomical effects and so forth, I mean the fact that approximately every square inch of the United States is paused. The New York State government was one of the first states on the quarantine wave, practically setting an hourglass on the fate of the St. Bonaventure school year.

But before I even breakdown how that went, I can’t just subside the termination of all sports in the world, yes literally the world.  

I remember, it was a Wednesday evening, I was just finishing a workout at SBU’s Richter Center, then I get a notification from ESPN reporting that the remainder of the NBA season has been suspended.

The NBA, being the eminent force that it is, practically made every other sports league play hardball. One by one, they all fell. MLB, MLS, even the damn NASCAR shut down.

I personally blame Rudy Gobert, but that’s neither here nor there.  

With all the sports leagues shutting down, reality sunk in and we all knew the inevitable NCAA shut down, but everyone avoided the elephant in the room and stayed as optimistic as they could.

Thursday morning, I attended a (mandatory) SGA meeting where Rob Defazio, director of the center for activities, recreation and leadership at Bona’s, broke the news that the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament had been cancelled, along with all of SBU’s spring sports.

Immediate shockwaves moved through the room.

It was just a sudden moment of shock, like one of those utterly unbelievable moments that couldn’t even elicit any reaction.  

I couldn’t help but feel a robust sense of sympathy for spring athletes for their loss (and empathy because my season for club basketball was also terminated).  

After that announcement, everyone really began to comprehend just how serious this whole situation was. Over the ensuing couple of days, many left St. Bonaventure, while some stayed until the week came to a halt, constantly pondering, “what’s next?”  

I held a rather spontaneous interview with several spring sports athletes on campus about their reaction to the sudden termination of their season.

Freshmen softball players Shannon Costello and Bella Reese, along with senior softball player Mckenna Holtz, voiced their opinions on the situation.

The first question was obviously how they felt about their season coming to a halt. Costello said that she was “extremely disappointed” about her season coming to a halt, yet she wasn’t “entirely surprised” because she’d already expected shut down after SBU’s weekend series in Maryland got cancelled.

Knowing the intentions of the NCAA were to keep them safe along with the knowledge that she is only a freshman and would have another season, Costello found clarity in the whole situation.

However, her “heart truly broke” for the seniors whose college careers have been vanquished. Which is a perfect Segway to our senior.

Holtz was in an absolute shock when she got the news.

She even took the initiative to meet with Bona coach Mike Threehouse because “part of [her] couldn’t believe it could be real” until further confirmation from him.

Reese had a reaction that was pretty much an exact conjugation of both Costello and Holtz, also in shock and disappointment, but a different sense of disappointment.

Reese’s disappointment was spearheaded by the team’s hard work basically being deducted to futility.

Divulging that there were changes during the offseason that put the team in position to improve, now it felt like the team had spent months constructing some sort of building only for it to be ravaged within a day. 

Next, I asked the student athletes how this pandemic had affected their day to day schedule.

Costello said she went home on the ensuing Saturday and swung at the batting cages, but there “definitely [was] like a void in [her] daily life.” Swinging at the cages just “wasn’t the same.”

After playing three previous seasons, Holt naturally built her schedule around softball. She said she “[doesn’t] know what to do with all [her] free time” and staying active without her teammates being available to go down to the fields with her is a “huge adjustment…[and will] take a long time before [she] can ever get used to not having practice”.

It’s human nature to be very habitual once we get conditioned, and it is very difficult to break that conditioning, I must say, this quarantine is making me go through withdrawals of my own as far as being active goes.

Reese, who redshirted this season, said her schedule wasn’t really that different after the termination of their season, but she was now “left accountable” of her workouts and so forth.

I must say that there was an archetypal response from all three student athletes of utter shock with somber overtones.

This quarantine has set us back as a nation, but when our safety is being put in perspective, whatever is necessary, I suppose I’ll conform. Sympathy to those whose season came to a screeching halt, or whose schedule has been bewildered by this quarantine.  

Stay as productive as you can amid the current circumstances. This is a time to focus on the betterment of yourself, especially health-wise.

Be smart, stay safe, live healthy, and work on yourself. As always, it is an honor to be able to express myself to you all, peace and prosperity, beloved.  

Softball: Bilchak guides SBU to win over Canisius

(Carly Bilchak Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure softball team got a major lift from the pitcher’s circle in a 2-0 victory at Joyce Field on Wednesday afternoon.

Carly Bilchak got the start for the Bonnies and delivered the best pitching performance of the season on the day the university blessed the new field. The senior retired the first 13 batters of the game before allowing a single to center to designated hitter Lauren Castro in the top of the fifth, one of just three hits she allowed on the day. Bilchak struck out six and did not issue a walk in the second complete game shutout of her career.

For a team that has allowed the most runs in the Atlantic 10, the dominating, mitt-popping performance was much-needed. Bilchak was undeterred as she cruised through the first four and a third innings, and after she allowed her first hit of the contest, she struck the next two batters out to end the inning.

“It’s a senior performance at this time of the year,” said Bona coach Mike Threehouse. “We brought her in four years ago to have days like this, and that’s what she did. Probably anybody else who’s not a senior might not have handled it the same way, but Carly came out and got it done. That’s what we expect out of her nowadays.”

Continue reading “Softball: Bilchak guides SBU to win over Canisius”

Softball: Bonnies show grit in tough series loss to UMass

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

When the St. Bonaventure softball team found itself in a 4-2 deficit and down to its final out on Sunday afternoon against UMass, many fans started gathering their things and getting ready to leave Joyce Field.

The Bonnies weren’t ready to pack up just yet.

Senior Emily Belfield’s double to right gave them life, and she was rewarded when classmate Katie Sinclair drove her in on a single to left. A wild pitch advanced freshman pinch runner Brittany Fair, who scored on classmate Alissa Karjel’s single up the middle.

Senior driving in senior, freshman driving in freshman. Tie game.

For a team that stranded 10 baserunners over the first six innings, this clutch display of hitting was a welcome sight. UMass ended up prevailing 5-4 two innings later and taking the series two games to one, but the comeback sent a message to the rest of the Atlantic 10: the brown and white aren’t finished until you get all 21 outs.

Continue reading “Softball: Bonnies show grit in tough series loss to UMass”

Softball: McDonough sets Bonnies’ career hits record

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

When St. Bonaventure shortstop Emily McDonough recorded a .330 batting average her freshman year, it didn’t take a sabermetrics wiz like Bill James to predict her future success.

On Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, the Marlboro, N.Y. native cemented her place in school history. With two hits in the second half of a doubleheader at La Salle, she became Bona’s all-time hits leader with 180, passing 1999 graduate Jen Bovee’s mark of 178.

“It is an honor and very humbling to be placed amongst some amazing softball players who have played before me here,” McDonough said.

An all-time record requires consistency, and the senior has been a constant in the Bona lineup since she got to campus.

McDonough’s career batting average currently stands at .374, and she has recorded at least 30 hits each season. Her 24 multi-hit games the past two seasons trail only Kelli Rohan’s 26. Her 490 at bats are seven shy of 2003 graduate Tricia Hildebrand’s career at bats record.

“Consistency is a major reason why this record was reachable for me,” McDonough said. “It’s difficult to remain consistent in softball, especially over a four-year span. My competitive edge, metal toughness and hard work have helped me along the way.

“However, I couldn’t have done it without all of my teammates over the past (four) years who have pushed me to be the best I can be.”

Continue reading “Softball: McDonough sets Bonnies’ career hits record”

Softball: Bonnies hand GW first A-10 loss, but lose series

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure softball team hosted George Washington for a three-game series this weekend- and came out of it wishing for another win.

The Bonnies split a Friday doubleheader at Joyce Field, handing the Colonials their first Atlantic 10 loss in the second game. On Saturday afternoon, however, they dropped a lopsided decision in the rubber game and missed out on a chance for a series win.

Game 1 was dominated by the offenses, as GW edged out Bona 8-7. A Carlee Gray two-run home run off of SBU pitcher Josie Borysevicz highlighted a three-run first inning. Rochelle Draper and Morgan Rinehart also drove in two runs in the game for the Colonials, while Paige Kovalsky registered the other RBI.

Bona’s offense was led by right fielder Desiree Gonzalez, who got three hits, including a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the sixth. Alissa Karjel joined her in the home run club two batters later, hitting a two-run blast to left. Emily Belfield and Kelli Rohan also drove in runs.

Sarah Costlow went the distance in the circle for GW, allowing four earned runs and earning the victory. Borysevicz pitched 3.1 innings, struck out four and allowed six earned runs. She was relieved by Alexis Sloat, who recorded 3.2 innings of two-hit ball.

Bonaventure left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth and left a runner at second in the bottom of the seventh, failing to get the tying run.

Game 2 was a pitchers duel, with just five hits on each side. Bona’s Carly Bilchak and GW’s Jayme Cone each pitched complete games and traded zeros on the scoreboard until the sixth.

A Gray single put the Colonials on the board in the top half of the inning, but they wouldn’t have the lead for long. A Morgan Phillips single and Kiera Lorenzo walk set the table for Kelly Farrell, who hit a homer to left to put SBU up 3-1.

The Colonials recorded a double in their last ups, but Bilchak struck out Aiyana Leal-Robles looking and got Rinehart to line out to center fielder Emily Belfield, who made a sliding catch to end the game.

The brown and white mustered 10 hits in Game 3, but were not able to convert them to many runs, leaving six on base and falling 13-5.

Continue reading “Softball: Bonnies hand GW first A-10 loss, but lose series”