The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

May 21, 2010

Dreslinski & Co. have ‘got it back’

Former Edgewood great and her Hofstra teammates open NCAA Tourney play today in Tucson

If you ask anyone close to the Hofstra softball team, last year was a disappointment. It was only the second time in 12 seasons and the first time in eight seasons the Pride failed to make the 64-team Division I NCAA Tournament field.

The drought was short-lived.

The Pride (43-10), including junior shortstop Trisha Dreslinski, will make its return to the double-elimination dance today at 4 p.m. EST with a first-round matchup against Oklahoma State in Tucson, Ariz., in the regional tournament.

“We didn’t win the conference (last season) and we didn’t get (an at-large) bid,” Dreslinski, a 2007 Edgewood graduate and a two-time Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year (2006-07), said. “We set our goals. The first one was to get our conference title back.

“It’s really exciting. We have chemistry. We have almost all the tools to get to the (super regional). Some seasons, we had all the tools, but things didn’t go our way. This year, we can do this. This year, we have everything to beat teams.”  

With a victory over the Cowgirls, the Pride will face the winner of the matchup between 10th-seeded Arizona and Cornell.

“This is our year,” Dreslinski, the daughter of Dave Dreslinski and Linda Dreslinski, said. “We have it right at our fingertips. We just have to grab it. We have to reach out and take the horns and make it go our way.”

Dreslinski and the Pride rode a no-hitter in the Colonial Athletic Conference championship game by ace Olivia Galati into the regional tournament.

“The no-hitter was amazing,” Dreslinski said. “That’s something you don’t talk about (in the dugout during the game), but you know it on the field. You want to make every play. You want it to keep going. You think, ‘It’s not going to be me (that ruins it). I’m going to get that ball that comes to me.’

“You’re ready for anything. You don’t talk about it, but it’s extra adrenaline.”

The Pride is ranked second nationally in defense.

“We’re one one-thousandth of point from being first in the nation,” Dreslinski said. “That was also one of goals. When Pam (Dreslinski, Trisha’s older sister and a former member of the Pride) was a senior, we were fifth. We wanted to get that back, too.”

The Pride is fielding at a .981 clip. Dreslinski, the starting shortstop, has a .930 fielding percentage. She’s made 77 putouts and 97 assists in 187 chances.

“Personally, I have the most errors on the team,” she said. “A lot of our errors were at the beginning of the season when we were getting used to the dirt from being on hard floors. Once everything came together, it was just softball.

“We don’t want any errors in a game. If someone makes a bad throw, another girl is there to catch it. We all trust each other to make the plays. We’re confident in each other. We know if the ball is hit in a clutch situation, we’re going to make the play.”

Dreslinski has started 51 games and is hitting .225 on the season, but after starting slow, has turned it on in recent weeks.

“Hitting is all mentality,” Dreslinski said. “At the beginning of the year, I was in a huge slump. I had a .100 batting average. I was thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’ I had a huge revelation. I went up 75 points in the next week.

“You have to go up there with a cockiness, not that you let it show. In your head, you have to be thinking, ‘I’m going to crush this girl.’ I finally got it back.”

She has 25 hits, five doubles, a homer and 13 RBI. She’s scored 16 runs and stolen a base.

“Everything is getting better,” Dreslinski said. “I don’t know how it happened. I thought, ‘Come on, Trish, you’ve got this.’

“It’s all a good feeling right now. I think some of it is you want it so bad. You go up there and really want to help the team. Sometimes, you put too much pressure on yourself.”

Dreslinski has played regularly in all three of her seasons for Hofstra.

“I can’t believe it’s flown by so quick, especially this year,” she said. “It’s so crazy. It’s all I’ve known and I have one year left. I want to make it count. I want to make the best of it. These are the best days of your life and you want to do what you can.”

She’s pleased with her career so far.

“I’m thrilled,” Dreslinski said. “There are always things you’d like to do better. But my friends and coaches have helped make unforgettable memories. I want to share them with my kids. I’m so glad I made the decision to some here. I’m in the regional tournament. There are only 64 teams in the nation that get to go.

“It’s something really special.”   

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