WITH EVERY PASSING SEASON AND EVERY FRESH BATCH OF PLAYERS, THE ITHACA COLLEGE SOFTBALL PROGRAM CONTINUES TO DO THE SAME THING EVERY YEAR… WIN! WITH 13 CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF APPEARANCES, 7 REGIONAL CROWNS AND THE 2002 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ON ITS RESUME, IT'D BE FAIR TO CALL THE BOMBERS A DYNASTY.
"Putting on that jersey every day and representing the people who came before us means something special to us and I think that we all take that to heart every day on and off the field," says catcher Hannah Shalett.
Erica Cutspec adds, "As long as I've been here, I've been in like two World Series so it's just cool coming in here and knowing that we're going to do well and that we can expect the best."
HEAD COACH DEB PALLOZZI HAS WON NEARLY 70 PERCENT OF THE GAMES IN HER 19 SEASONS AT ITHACA. BUT IT TAKES MORE THAN TALENT ALONE TO CONSISTENTLY BE ONE OF THE NATION'S BEST.
"They just buy into what needs to get done and they do it. They work hard. They hold each other accountable as best they can. That's something we work on each and every year," says Pallozzi.
"It's just really fun to play with this group. We have four seniors who live together and that have been playing together for four years and a group of juniors that just make life fun and energy from your underclassmen."
THE BOMBERS RACKED UP A SCHOOL-RECORD 40 WINS LAST SEASON BUT FAILED TO BRING HOME A NATIONAL TITLE, WHICH LEAVES SOME UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR THIS YEAR'S TEAM. ITHACA IS AGAIN ONE OF THE FAVORITES SO ANYTHING LESS THAN A CHAMPIONSHIP JUST MIGHT BE A DISAPPOINTMENT.
"I don't like calling a season a disappointment but at the same time, it's a little in here, after a summer and we go home. It's a little sad but as long as we go out there every game and play and leave everything out on the field, then we won't have any regrets in the end whether we win or lose."
BUT ANOTHER SUMMER SPENT WONDERING WHAT COULD'VE BEEN WON'T BE AS SWEET AS A SUMMER SPENT CELEBRATING A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. IN ITHACA, JUSTIN HOROWITZ, ACTION SPORTS.