NEW YORK – Sage softball led by head coach Jamie Brown, was selected to finish second in the Skyline Softball Preseason Coaches Poll with 71 points.
Mount Saint Mary, the reigning Skyline Champions, topped the poll with 81 points and nine first place votes. Mount Saint Vincent received the only other first place vote while finishing in third in points with 62 points. Rounding out the top four was St. Joseph's – Long Island with 56 points, just three points higher than fifth place Farmingdale State. Finishing in the second half of the standings were Purchase (41 points), Old Westbury (30 points), St. Joseph's – Brooklyn (26 points), Sarah Lawrence (21 points) and Yeshiva (nine points).
Sage (27-15, 14-4 Skyline), who posted the second highest number of wins in Sage history, made it to the Skyline Championship game last season for the third time in program history. The 2016 squad posted one of the highest power offenses in school history with the highest slugging percentage (.526), highest on-base percentage (.402), highest home runs (32), highest number of doubles (95), second most runs (287), second most hits (427), second most RBI's (258) and third highest batting average (.352).
The Gators are led by captains Jessica Adams (Nassau, NY/Columbia), Katy Rimawi (Ballston Spa, NY/Ballston Spa) and Allison Ford (Mechanicville, NY/Mechanicville). Rimawi returns to Sage after a NFCA All-Region season. The two sport athlete in softball and volleyball was named last year's Aggie Stillman Perseverance Award winner at Sage and a Skyline First-Team outfielder. Last season, Rimawi led the conference in plate appearances (160). The week 6 Skyline Player of the Week was second on the team in runs (40), hits (54), RBI's (45), home runs (seven) and slugging percentage (.614) while she was third on the squad in batting average (.386), stolen bases (five) and on-base percentage (.424). Currently, Rimawi ranks in the career record book twice in career homers (7th, 11) and RBI's (10th, 65).
Adams, who has played her entire career at Sage, is a two-time All-Skyline selection including a nod as the First-Team shortstop last year. Adams led the Gators with nine stolen bases while her .393 batting average and .446 on-base were second on last year's squad. Additionally, her 27 RBI's, 14 doubles, three home runs and .598 slugging percentage ranked third on the team. Adams is one of the best defensive players in the conference coming up with 89 assists last year, a Skyline best. The senior is currently in the Sage career record books in hits (7th, 114) and stolen bases (8th, 21).
Ford comes in as a leader in the field, in the circle and at the plate. Last year, Ford saw time in the outfield as well as in the circle in her first season with Sage. A week three Skyline honor roll recipient last year, Ford led the Gators in triples (four) which was third best in the Skyline. Her 37 runs were second on the team while her 49 hits were third. In the circle, Ford totaled six wins, one save and 33 strikeouts.
Sage also returns two-time All-Skyline infielder Alexa Silk (Freehold, NY/Greenville). The week one Skyline Player of the Week was second on the team in stolen bases (six) and third in home runs (three). Silk, last year's Skyline First-Team second baseman, brings a strong glove to the right side of the infield. Currently, the Freehold native is in the career record book in homers (8th, 12) and doubles (10th, 19).
The Gators also return last year's rookie first baseman Kiersten Duncan (Millerton, NY/Taconic Hills). Duncan, a key asset on both offense and defense, was second on the team in doubles (17) and third in triples (two) as a freshman. Rounding out last year's returners are Samantha Dibble (Hunter, NY/Hunter-Tannersville) and Aanisah Taylor (Great Barrington, MA/Monument Mountain Regional). Dibble, an outfielder for the Gators, ended last year with a .250 batting average and six runs in her rookie season. The Hunter native is also a two sport athlete in softball and tennis. Taylor, also an outfielder, provides great speed on the bases and was a key pinch runner last year as a rookie. Taylor ended the season with a .222 batting average and seven runs.
Brown brings in six rookies to the 2017 season. The five new freshman are Destiny Wierzibicki (Albany, NY/Troy), Kristen Silk (Freehold, NY/Greenville), Bailey Hasemann (Granville, NY/Hartford), Brittany Brooks (North Bangor, NY/Salmon River) and Samantha Montague (Glenville, NY/Scotia-Glenville), a two sport athlete in softball and women's tennis. Rounding out the 2017 rookies is junior Amy Hart (St. Johnsbille, NY/Little Falls).
Sage begins its season with its annual trip to Florida Mar. 6-11. The Gators kick start the season against Alfred on Mar. 6 at 8 a.m. followed by Muhlenberg at 10:30.