BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Returning three of four All-Skyline selections from a 2017 squad that doubled their win total from the previous season, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) softball team is set to open its third season under head coach Danielle Fazzolare at the beginning of March.
Fazzolare's squad showed a nine-win improvement to finish at 18-12 (8-10 Skyline), just narrowly missing out on the program's first Skyline playoff appearance. Losing just three to graduation, she returns 12 players from a year ago and they look forward to 14 home games at a new home venue for 2018, Gil Hodges Field in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn.
To start the season, SJC travels to the mid-Atlantic for six non-league games, beginning with a doubleheader at Gallaudet (Mar. 8) in the nation's capital. The Bears then continue south to the Virginia Beach Blast for four games in two days (Mar. 9-10), taking on SUNY Potsdam and Hunter on Friday and Keuka and Allegheny on Saturday—meeting all but Potsdam for the first time ever.
St. Joseph's welcomes John Jay for their home opener doubleheader (Mar. 16) at Gil Hodges Field and returns the next day to host NJAC foe New Jersey City for the first time in a St. Patrick's Day showdown. Later in the month, the Bears will head to the Garden State to open another new rivalry against the NJAC, facing Rutgers-Newark (Mar. 28).
In addition to the meetings with Hunter and John Jay, the non-conference slate features nine games against the CUNYAC, playing back-to-back road doubleheaders against Lehman (Mar. 20) and Brooklyn (Mar. 21) and a late-season showdown with Baruch at home for Senior Day (Apr. 28). Also on the non-league set is a road double-dip against former Hudson Valley rivals New Rochelle (Apr. 19).
With the departure of runner-up Sage to the Empire 8, the Skyline schedule features eight-weekend doubleheaders with league play commencing on March 24 when Purchase travels to Gil Hodges for an early season test—both squads finished at 8-10 last season, but the Panthers nabbed the final playoff berth. The Bears then host Mount Saint Vincent the following day (Mar. 25) for Sunday showdown.
The inaugural season at Gil Hodges headlines four league opponents that qualified for the postseason in 2017 with April matchups against defending champion Mount Saint Mary (Apr. 7) and sibling rivals SJC Long Island (Apr. 14) completing the home slate. On the road, the Bears take on Old Westbury (Apr. 8), Sarah Lawrence (Apr. 21), Farmingdale State (Apr. 22), and Yeshiva (Apr. 29) to round out the 16-game league schedule.
The top six teams qualify for the Skyline Conference Championships, with first round action beginning on Wednesday, May 2 and the double-elimination round running from Friday, May 4 to Sunday, May 6.