Softball splits four games with Seton Hill, holds playoff spot with eight games left


Gannon’s softball team (17-11) split two doubleheaders with Seton Hill Saturday and Sunday.

Alex Pepke, Sports Editor

The Gannon University softball team left the field Sunday with a 17-11 overall record and a 16-8 record in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). In four games against first-place Seton Hill over the weekend, the Knights went 2-2, splitting doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.

After starting the season 3-7, Gannon went 14-4 in its next 18 games, including exploding for a nine-game win streak from March 26-April 10.

At the core of Gannon’s success this year has been reliable pitching and a couple of big bats in the middle of the order.

Kennedy DeMatteis and Rebecca Tatone have teamed up to throw 164.2 out of 188 innings for the Knights this year, earning 16 of the team’s 17 wins. DeMatteis has compiled a 9-7 record and a 3.15 ERA, while Tatone is 7-2 with a shining 2.92 ERA.

From April 8-14, Tatone threw three complete games, two of them being shutouts, and only gave up two runs in those 21 innings. DeMatteis had a similar run from April 3-6, when she also threw three complete games, giving up only two runs.

On the flip side, Gannon’s offense has been led by two of the best power hitters in school history, Kaity Stocker and Maria Taliani.

Stocker and Taliani are first and second on the team in OPS, hits, home runs, RBIs total bases, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Prior to just a few games ago, Joanna Fergus, who played at Gannon from 2003-06, led the program with 28 career home runs. Since then, both Stocker and Taliani have surpassed her.

They are happy for each other’s success, but there may be some friendly competition between them as well. Stocker has 32 career home runs for Gannon, which is the most in program history. Taliani has 29.

“We haven’t talked about it, to be quite honest,” said Stocker. “We are both very team-oriented and just want to win games. We both love home runs and don’t care who hits them.”

This season has seen 10 postponements and four cancelations already for the Knights. Playing through a constantly changing schedule can be tough on players’ routines, but Gannon has taken it all in stride and will just play when it is told to.

“It has been tough with all the cancelations and rescheduled games this season,” said Stocker. “With both the unpredictable Pennsylvania weather plus COVID-19, it makes keeping up with the schedule a bit of a challenge.

“As a team, we are just happy to have a season this year and we’re willing to roll with the punches that are necessary to keep the season alive. As long as we get to play and have fun, we’re happy.”

The Knights have eight games left on their regular season schedule. Since they are all conference games, Gannon’s place in the standings can shift dramatically between now and its final game on April 30.

The PSAC playoffs begin May 5, and Gannon has the talent to make a deep run. In 2018, Gannon won the PSAC and advanced all the way to the NCAA Division II Super Regional. In 2019, the Knights fell in the PSAC championship.

This year, they’ll look to find their way back there.

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