Stars Compete In Florida To Prepare For Conference Season

March 14, 2017

By Christopher Sich

The Dominican University Softball and Baseball team spent the week of spring break in Fort Myers, Florida, participating in the Gene Cusic Classic, a spring tournament that the Stars participate in every season in preparation for the regular season.

The Stars softball team went a perfect 12-0 in the Gene Cusic classic and hopes to continue their strong play into the start of the season. One of their best days of competition came on Friday, March 10, where they played a doubleheader and outscoring their opponents a staggering 20-0.

In the first game of the day against the Weelock College Wildcats the Stars scored early and often and never looked back as they scored two runs on two hits and an error in the top of the first inning. They totaled 12 hits in the win, two apiece from Gabby Curran, Alena Valenzuela and senior Emaly Burns. Senior Alyssa Domico, junior Ali Woitovich and Burns each drove in two runs. On the mound, junior ace Michelle Behrens got the win allowing three hits over three innings, while striking out two and walking none. Junior Olivia Babusci then came in to pitch the final two innings to preserve the 11-0 shutout.

Game two of the day saw the bats come alive again for the Stars as they took on Salem State. Katie Fredrick brought home the Stars’ first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning when she bunted down the line, beating out the throw at first, and scoring Marissa Burns. The score remained 1-0 until the fifth inning when Dominco laid down a squeeze bunt with runners in scoring position, scoring Jacadi Rivera. The Stars then brought home the win in the bottom of the sixth scoring seven runs including a two-run triple for Curran and a two-run double for Woitovich to top Salem State 9-0. Sydney Kuderma went the distance, surrendering only two hits and two hawks to claim the shutout.

The Stars now have their sights set on the beginning of the regular season as they now must prepare for their doubleheader game versus North Park on March 25. The first conference game of the season will be the following week against Concordia University Wisconsin on Thursday, March 30, at the Ballpark in Rosemont.

The Dominican University baseball team has also seen some success at the Gene Cusic Classic. The Stars best day of play also came on Friday, March 10, as they outscored Rivier University 15-3 in a doubleheader.

In game versus the Raiders, the Stars trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth before junior Nate Natividad hit a triple to left field starting the five run rally for the Stars. Freshman cathcher Matt Buckley then singled to score Natividad, followed by a pair of singles and bases loaded error by the Raiders that led to an RBI double by pitcher Colin Janison. Frank Sessa then capped off the rally with a sacrifice fly. Junior Joe Kukla led the offense for the Stars going 4-of-4 with a pair of RBI’s. Janison picked struck out 10, and went 3-of-4 at the plate to pick up the 6-3 win.

The latter game of the day versus the Raiders saw the Stars score runs early in the top of the second and third. After scoring two more runs in the fourth and another in the fifth, the Stars but the game away by scoring three runs in the sixth. Back-to-back RBI singles by Kukla and KJ Wilk started the Stars’ rally which concluded with a RBI single off the bat of freshman Austin Michals. Kukla, Janison and Natividad each tallied three hits. Tyler Brown struck out eight and allowed three hits in the 9-0 shutout victory.

The Stars ended the Gene Cusic Classic with a 4-6 record, with a Saturday matinee still to play versus Illinois College. The first game of the regular season will be on Saturday, March 18, against Northland College at Boomers Stadium in Schaumberg.

sichchri@my.dom.edu