Of late, Noelle Noble loses her voice more often than she loses games.
She was yelling and cheering so loudly on Wednesday, that she could barely speak. And this was after a practice!
“I’m just communicating with the team and I start screaming and getting into it and I lose my voice,” said Noble, a sophomore captain on the Suffolk County Community College softball team. “It happens pretty much after every practice and game.”
So just imagine what she’s going to sound like after the World Series.
Noble and her teammates are headed to Minnesota this week to compete in the NJCAA Division III World Series, which begins on Thursday. And they’re taking a 27-game winning streak with them.
When the season began in early March, it seemed as if the Sharks were no better than they were the previous season, in which they won just seven games. They played a difficult non-region schedule and got off to a 2-10 start. They haven’t lost since.
“When we first got together, I thought they were capable of getting to where we are now,” SCC coach Joe Kosina said. “Then we start 2-10 and maybe you think we over-evaluated some stuff. But they kept working hard, stayed the course, and believed in the message. Now they’re accomplishing some major goals we set for the team.”
That’s thanks in part to an influx of talented freshman, including pitcher Courtney Lawrence, who was named Region XV Player of the Year. The Rocky Point graduate is 23-5 with a 2.29 ERA and hit .460 with 50 RBIs. She helped Suffolk defeat Nassau County Community College, 9-1, in the Region XV final on April 30. Then, last weekend, she helped the Sharks sweep the best-of-three District Championship in dominant fashion, defeating Montgomery College (Md.), 16-4, in the first game and, 13-0, in the second game.
“I have 15 kids on the roster,” Kosina said, “and we can swing it one through 15.”
The offense, averaging just over 12 runs a game, starts with Valerie Scura and Jessica Parente atop the lineup. They set the table for run-producers such as Lawrence, Samantha Magerovich, Jackie Chester, Jamie Parente, and Paige Baker, who leads the team with a .579 average.
“Last year we knew that if we wanted any chance of playing in nationals, we needed to do major recruiting,” said Baker, who along with her teammates, helped the coaching staff recruit. “We’d go to high school games and try and recruit them if we knew they weren’t going away to college. Now our lineup is very deep. Without the incoming freshman we wouldn’t be where we are now.”
Lawrence, a power pitcher with an effective rise ball, tossed a five-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in the clinching game. Suffolk advanced to the World Series, a round-robin tournament, for the first time since 2011, and kept its winning streak alive to improve to 29-10.
“The streak doesn’t put pressure on us, it just motivates us more,” Lawrence said. “Especially in the circle, you just want to win and keep going with it. Otherwise, what’s the point of winning all these games in a row?”
And if they do keep winning in Minnesota, how hoarse might Noble’s voice sound?
“I could only imagine,” Baker said. “She’s not going to be talking for like a week.”