The Cayuga Women's Softball Team battled through a tough schedule and a barrage of rainouts to finish 2019 with an improved offense and the confidence that the foundation is in place for a stronger 2020 season.
Difficult spring weather put a damper on the Spartans' season, as Cayuga saw almost half its games rained out and played the second-fewest games among Region III teams. Cayuga closed the season with a 5-15 overall record and a 3-7 mark in conference play
Despite the tough season, Coach Chris Amoia said the Spartans' record doesn't accurately reflect the talent on the team. A few more timely hits and a few more plays in the field and the team could have doubled its win total, he said.
"We had some tough losses. The team played as hard as they could, and we saw improvement throughout the season. It was just a matter of putting things together," said Amoia. "They didn't give up at all, and that's an attitude we emphasized. The bottom line is that we could have won 10 games instead of five."
The weather may have been Cayuga's toughest opponent all year. The Spartans started the season with two road losses before seeing their next 10 games rained out. All told, Cayuga had 18 games cancelled due to weather.
Fewer games meant fewer opportunities for the team to improve, said Amoia.
"We could have developed more if we just got to play more. We hit pretty well and got better throughout the season on offense. Sometimes it was just a matter of not getting those timely hits, or just that one hit that would have helped us break through," he said.
The Spartans were able to sweep a doubleheader against Finger Lakes Community College and split doubleheaders with Niagara County, Jefferson and Tompkins-Cortland, but also saw opponents come away with wins in close contests.
Cayuga lost four games by four runs or less, which made those games tougher to take, said Amoia.
"When you have a chance to win and it doesn't go your way, it can make for a tougher season because you know the chance to win was there. Sometimes we didn't get a hit at the right moment or made an error. Other times it wasn't anything we did wrong, the other team just made a good play," he said. "But we always fought hard."
Mikaela Withers received the team's Best Offensive Player Award after leading the Spartans with a .328 batting average. Shortstop Kaylee Shackleton received the Best Defensive Player Award, and catcher Elizabeth Plish received the Coach's Award.
Looking ahead to next season, Amoia said Withers, Kyra Cottrell (.306 batting average) and strong pitcher and hitter Deanna Shackleton (four wins, .327 batting average) will return to lead more than 10 new players.
"We're excited about our returning players and the new players we have coming in. We should make some strides next season," said Amoia.