The St. John’s softball team continued their fall tournament at Red Storm Field this past Sunday with two wins over LIU Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Three freshmen, Krystal Puga, Lauren Zink and McKenzie Murray, sparked the Johnnies in their first game of the day against the LIU Blackbirds. Puga finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs, which included a three run bomb to deep center in the top of the 5th inning. Murray shut down the Blackbird hitters as she pitched five scoreless innings and Zink was able to show off her blazing speed.
Despite Puga’s tremendous performance, she knows this isn’t just an individual show but about improving as a team. “This is a crucial tournament for us so that we are able to get to know each other’s games,” Puga said. “[…] It’s also a preview of how we put all our fundamentals together as a unit.” Puga is currently tied for the team lead in batting average with a .500 average.
Francesca Carrullo was able to pitch two solid relief innings, giving up one unearned run, while keeping the Johnnies’ lead over the Blackbirds secure.
It was truly a team performance in a 4-1 win over the Jaspers in the second game of the day. Hannah Anderson, Monique Landini and Lexi Robles were on fire defensively as they had some highlight plays in the infield. In addition to the lockdown defense, four different batters were able to drive in runs.
A quick start and a big 2nd inning was the difference in the game as the Johnnies caught fire with four hits and two runs.
Sophomore Grace Kramer was also stellar on the mound as she pitched a shutout for three innings while also striking out three Jasper hitters.
The Johnnies were able to bat 10 total players and substitute as many times as possible because there are no set rules for fall games. They are just starting to get a feel for their roster and what they have for the actual season that will start in the spring. The coaching staff is looking to figure out who fits where and what situations are best for what players. They are also evaluating a freshman class and a pitching staff that seems very impressive right now.
“Fall ball gives our players the opportunity to compete for a spot in the lineup and it also gives us the opportunity to develop a necessary chemistry on the field,” head coach Amy Kvilhaug said.
This team lost some key players from last year’s squad, who finished second overall in the Big East, but they are certainly not lacking the talent. “I think we should be competing for the Big East Championship this year,” Kvilhaug said.
Some of that talent and, more importantly, leadership, is expected to come from senior Erin Burner, who is hitting .500 with a team-high 10 RBIs and a .929 slugging percentage.
The Red Storm are now 5-0-1 overall in the fall tournament with two final tune up games coming in mid-October.