It was a turbulent beginning of the year for the Queens College softball team. The Knights were only able to win one game through the first 15, and at one point, even lost 10 in a row. Most teams would have given up right then, as the season looked all but lost. However, in the second half of the season, the Knights were able to stay competitive enough in conference play to qualify as the fourth seed in the East Coast Conference playoffs.
Finishing with a 7-13 conference record in a lopsided ECC, the Knights were granted the fourth seed in the playoffs that took place in early May. While the Knights did finish fifth in the standings, D’Youville University (who finished 10-10), are ineligible for postseason contention across all sports because of NCAA rules permitting them to participate in any playoffs as they transition to the Division II level.
This playoff berth for the Knights would mark the first time they would make the postseason since the 2015 season when they won their third conference title in program history and first under current Head Coach Amy Delmore. However, don’t think of the Knights’ selection as a pity pick of any kind — and they proved just that in the first game.
Headed to Rockville Center to face off against the #1-seeded Molloy University Lions, the Knights came in with momentum on their side as they bested the Lions in their last matchup on April 27th by a score of 3-2. This game would prove to have a similar outcome, despite Molloy’s home field advantage and daunting 16-5 conference record.
The star of the game was All-ECC First Team pitcher Allyson Dilday, as Dilday pitched her third complete game shutout of the season, holding the Lions to only three hits to go alongside five strikeouts. All-ECC Second Team second baseman Ann Grimshaw had her team-leading tenth multi-hit game of the season, knocking in two hits and earning an RBI in the third. First baseman Jenny Murphy led the way with three RBIs, with two coming after Murphy hit a double in the third. Left fielder Amanda Baez and shortstop Cyarra Alvarado both had a team-high two runs. When the dust settled, the Knights upset the Lions 9-0, advancing to the winners bracket and a shot at the title.
While the Knights eventually lost to the St. Thomas Aquinas College Spartans, who went on to win the whole tournament and get their first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Knights held the Spartans to just three runs — 1.5 runs below their season average. This effort from the Knights includes Dilday pitching a complete game against the Spartans a mere two days after the previously mentioned Molloy game where she threw 108 pitches.
This loss sent the Knights into their last chance to stay alive in the double-elimination style tournament, where they once again faced off against the Lions who ended up getting the best of them 7-3.
However, the 11 wins the Knights netted this year are the most since the 2018 season, and Coach Delmore could have all but five players return to the team. The roster currently sports four freshmen, five sophomores, and six juniors. This includes All-ECC Second Team third baseman Emma Zumpol who is a sophomore.
Needless to say — this Knights squad is young, and the invaluable experience they gained this year could lead them to becoming a serious threat in the ECC next season if they stick together. They showed heart all season as they battled their way to the postseason, earning the respect of both peers and foes.