Looking at Sam Moss’s pitching stats, the strikeouts column doesn’t stand out. Especially considering that Plattsburgh State’s top pitcher last year, Ashley Marshall, averaged more than 10 K’s per seven innings.
Moss knows people probably overlook her after seeing her stats.
“Definitely. Especially because I’m a sophomore, so I don’t have that upperclassman experience yet,” Moss said. “They probably overlook the whole team. Our stats from Florida aren’t very good, but that doesn’t show how hard we work.”
Moss and the rest of the Cardinals (2-10) are trying to surpass expectations this season. They begin the SUNY Athletic Conference softball schedule today with a doubleheader at Cortland.
Moss is the most experienced of Plattsburgh’s three pitchers and has seen the most action this season, throwing 38 innings during a 12-game visit to Florida. But coach Stephanie Conroy isn’t ready to call the right-hander from Nesconset the Cardinals’ No. 1 pitcher.
“I don’t know; she has potential to be, but whether or not she steps up, that’s up to her,” Conroy said, adding that all three pitchers have characteristics the team needs.
With Marshall graduating last year, Moss acknowledged she has “big shoes to fill” but said she’s not trying to do it on her own. She said she, sophomore Morgan Anderson and junior Kristin Fisher fill the void as a unit.
Conroy said she always recruits pitchers, but this year she didn’t find any who were a good fit for the team.
Moss didn’t hesitate to admit that none of this year’s pitchers have a style similar to Marshall, who is the program’s all-time strikeouts leader. Moss has earned both of Plattsburgh’s wins this season, tossing a complete-game one-hitter against Eastern Connecticut State and earning a victory in relief against Allegheny. She sports a 4.97 ERA and has thrown 23 strikeouts and 20 walks.
Moss tries to keep hitters off-balance.
“My main goal with every batter is get ahead in the count and make them hit into an out — hit a pop-up, ground ball, strikeout. Get as few people on base as possible,” she said.
She was Plattsburgh’s No. 2 pitcher last year, starting 17 games and earning a 3-7 record. She fanned 17 batters in 53 2/3 innings. Moss said she has improved her mental game, learning from Marshall to have a short memory and just focus on the current batter.
Despite accumulating a 2-5 record, Moss said she took some positives out of this month’s Florida trip.
“I think it was a good start for me to pitch on that trip because we faced a lot of hard teams with a lot of big hitters on them,” Moss said. “It was good practice coming into conference ball because none of the conference teams are going to be easy.”
The Cardinals’ conference opener was delayed a few days. The twinbill at Cortland was originally scheduled for Friday with another one Saturday at Oswego. The games against the Lakers were postponed to a date to be announced, but the two against the Red Dragons will be played today even if they have to be moved to a backup site — the synthetic field at Cornell.
Cortland (7-7) has already played four games up north — but none at home. In their most recent action, the Red Dragons split a doubleheader March 23 at Neumann. Cortland is a young team with 14 freshmen and sophomores on its roster, but its top pitcher from last season, Amber Corrigan, is back for her senior year.
“I think as a team we’re going to be a little nervous going into (the SUNYAC season) because we did have a rough start in Florida,” Moss said. “But if we stick together and have each other’s back, we’ll be OK.
“We just want to win every inning; that will lead to winning games — so do one thing at a time.”
Email Courtney Lewis:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @sportsCourt