Farmingdale State selected as Skyline Conference preseason favorite in Softball

Farmingdale State selected as Skyline Conference preseason favorite in Softball


LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – A season after posting one of the top turnarounds in the country, Farmingdale State has been selected as the unanimous preseason favorite in Skyline Conference softball as voted by the conference's head coaches.

In 2007, Farmingdale State went 11-14 overall and 7-9 in Skyline Conference play. Last year, with an infusion of young talent, the youthful Rams posted a record of 32-12 overall, including 12-2 in conference play. With an improvement of 21 wins over the previous season, head coach Chris Mooney's squad is poised for a run at its first Skyline title and NCAA bid.

One of the keys to the Rams' success last season was pitcher Heather Buckshaw who compiled a 19-6 record with a 2.03 ERA as a freshman. Buckshaw, an All-Skyline first-team selection, struck out 121 batters in 151.2 innings. Junior Lauren Poplawski (9-5, 2.31) gives Farmingdale State a solid No. 2 starter to spell Buckshaw. Sophomore infielder Nicole Farber (.410, 11 HR, 50 RBI) will be one of the top power hitters in the conference again this season. Senior outfielder Kristina Cirillo (.358, 40 RBI) and sophomore catcher Arielle Morelli (.373, 14 2B, 23 RBI) were also All-Skyline selections. With a roster consisting of nine freshman, the Rams will still be young, but talented.

Polytechnic advanced to the Skyline championship game last season. The Blue Jays, led by sophomore catcher Tara Bucci (.330, 22 RBI) and junior Ryan Graybill (.322, 14 SB), should have a strong offense. If Polytechnic is able to find reliable pitching, it could compete with the top teams in the conference.

Mount Saint Mary, picked third, has a new coach in Michele Ross. The Blue Knights, 13-19 overall and 11-5 in Skyline play, return both of their top pitchers from last season in senior Erin Lappe and sophomore Erin Dommermuth. Sophomore first baseman Jackie Governale (.411 avg., .711 slg%, 21 RBI) was the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year last season.

St. Joseph's, last year's Skyline champion, was picked fourth. The Golden Eagles have the monumental task of replacing senior Jennifer Martinez, the NCAA Division III career leader in strikeouts. Martinez, the 2008 Skyline Player and Pitcher of the Year, went 31-4 with an ERA of 0.46. She also batted a conference-leading .609 with a 1.022 slugging percentage.

SKYLINE CONFERENCE SOFTBALL
2009 PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL


1. Farmingdale State (7) 49
2. Polytechnic (1) 42
3. Mount Saint Mary 32
4. St. Joseph's-L.I. 31
5. Old Westbury 24
6. Mount Saint Vincent 20
7. Purchase 18
8. Sage 8

(first-place votes in parentheses)

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