Alfred University softball team set to open play on new field
ALFRED, NY – The Alfred University softball team, in its 20th season this spring, is set to open play on Harrington Field, the University’s new on-campus facility, when the Saxons host Penn College in a 1 p.m. doubleheader this Sunday, April 14.
The Saxons (10-10, 4-2 Empire 8 entering weekend play) have had to wait to take the field at their new digs. During what has been an unusually cold and wet spring (with snow throughout much of March and into April), Alfred has seen two of its five home dates – including the Penn College doubleheader – postponed. Three home twinbills were moved to Hornell High School because of unplayable conditions at the on-campus facility caused by inclement weather.
Harrington Park (built on what was Tucker Field outdoor practice grounds) is named for Doris Harrington, the former chairperson of the Alfred University Division of Physical Education who is regarded as one of the people most responsible for helping expand women’s intercollegiate athletic offerings at AU. Harrington is a 1987 inductee of the Alfred University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Since the Alfred University softball program was begun in 1994, the team has played nearly all its home games at Hornell High School, 15 miles north of the AU campus. A handful of games were played in Wellsville and at the Alfred State College field.
Beginning Sunday, the Saxon players and their faithful fans will enjoy a top-notch facility representative of the success the team has enjoyed in recent years. Once a regular near the bottom of the Empire 8 Conference standings, AU has been a league contender and one of the top teams in the region since Gino Olivieri took over as head coach in 2006.
In 2010, AU won a share of the Empire 8 Conference title and was chosen to host the conference championship tournament. Because Hornell High’s field doesn’t meet collegiate championship requirements, the tournament was held at Alfred State. That won’t happen again: the Saxons’ on-campus field, complete with a modern elevated press box with team meeting room; spacious dugouts, and bullpens, meets all championship tournament standards.
AU has gone 164-93 in Olivieri’s seven full seasons entering 2013, with his squads earning berths in the four-team conference championship tournament (the winner of which automatically qualifies for the NCAA Division III championships) five times. During the Saxons’ historic 2010 campaign, the team won a school-record 37 games, made it to the championship game of the Empire 8 tournament, and was given at at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, where AU lost in the regional finals. Olivieri has twice been named Empire 8 Coach of the Year and in 2010 was named ECAC Upstate Coach of the Year. He has coached two Empire 8 Players of the Year and once NFCA All-American.
As part of Sunday’s games at the new AU field, the Saxons is holding Armed Forces Appreciation Day. Service men and women – including some current AU students, faculty – from the AU and Alfred communities will be recognized prior to the first pitch.
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