Megan Patierno of the Hofstra Pride softball squad is seeing a rise in production despite a major position change this season.
The junior third baseman hadn’t recorded much playing time at the hot corner prior to this season.
“I came in to Hofstra as a shortstop,” Patierno said. “I had played half a season at third base in high school, but that’s it. [The Hofstra coaching staff] had me working there a little last year and they started pushing me there this fall. I had to learn to play the position so I could play in the spring.”
The Pride signed talented freshman Kristin Hallam to play shortstop this season. So, Patierno had to slide over to third and learn on the fly, giving her some fits at the position from time to time.
“[Shortstop and third] are actually really different in terms of reaction, mostly,” Patierno said. “At shortstop you have more time to think and react. You can know where you’re going to go before you even get the ball, just because of the speed and direction of the ball. At third base the ball can be ripped at you down the line as fast as you can get your glove there.”
The New Jersey native has a .901 fielding percentage at the position this year, but has made a lot of tough plays and appears to be getting a handle on the role.
Despite the positional change, Patierno has made a lot of progress with the bat. After hitting .198 her freshman season and .210 her sophomore campaign, she’s up to .267 this year. She’s already slugged seven homers on the season. Patierno has learned a lot about college softball during her time at Hofstra.
“Freshman year, you’re trying to figure everything out,” Patierno said. “Sophomore year, you’re still trying to figure things out. But I think it comes down to knowing you have to make adjustments quicker. You realize how good everyone else is, and if you don’t hit you’re out.”
Patierno was known as a force at the plate coming out of high school. The junior broke her high school single-season home run record with 10 long balls. For her, it was just a matter of getting it to translate to games.
“You can’t force home runs, but a lot of it has to do with being more aggressive,” Patierno said. “Just waiting for them to mess up, and then you jump all over it.”
Patierno and the Pride are 21-17 on the year and 9-4 in the CAA, good for second place in the conference. The team is on a seven-game winning streak.
“This year has been a really special year for us. I think the chemistry is great, and it’s really fun to play with these girls. I think a lot of it has to do with work ethic,” Patierno said. “Our incoming freshmen, whether they’re the best players or not the best players, they work as hard as everyone else. That kind of mends us together because there’s no drop-off. Everyone is doing the same amount of work. It makes us respect each other more, and we have more trust in each other.”
Just like every player, Patierno dreams of winning a conference title. With how she and the rest of the team are playing, they should pose a threat to the Colonial’s top teams.
“We know that we can win CAA’s,” Patierno said. “We’ve known since the fall when we all got together and realized what kind of chemistry we all have together. If we play our best every single game we’ll win CAA’s.”