Courtesy of Jill Pulek
Courtesy of Jill Pulek

Sylvester, Pulek honored for big bats and swings

June 1, 2016

With their recognition, they are looking to display the honor on and off of the field to grow as athletes as well as to help the softball team fulfill an ultimate goal: to capture a Greater Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship.

Sophomore Jill Pulek and junior Delaney Sylvester were named with spots on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) on Wednesday, May 18. Pulek was named to the first team and Sylvester was named to the third team.

Pulek, a catcher, a designated hitter and third base player, said her selection to first team means a lot to her, and she appreciates getting recognition for her hard work ethic and success. The 19-year-old Cheshire, Connecticut native finished the season as one of the top hitters in the GNAC, earned the GNAC Corvias Rookie of the Week twice, got on base at a conference-best, and slugged a team high of .798.

“I have hit well, I think I was able to find success with my given role on the team,” said Pulek.

Both players praised their teammates for helping them earn the honors, and Sylvester, who plays center, extends her gratitude to her former and current coaches and family.

Since Sylvester’s freshman year, the 19-year-old Worcester, Massachusetts native has improved on her hits, and she produced “a lot” of runs batted in (RBI) as she led the team with 46 RBI.

“Though I made the second team [2015 NFCA All-Region] freshman year, [my sophomore year] I did a lot better,” said Sylvester.“I was more consistent through the year and my bat stayed hot the whole season. I believe I became a lot more selfless at the plate and I developed a small game.”

With their numbers, Pulek and Sylvester contributed to the success of the   Lady Rams 2015-16 season. The team won their second straight GNAC regular season title and closed out the season with the most wins in softball program history, a 33-9 record.

“Whether my team went 33-9 or 9-33, I am very honored to be a part of this team,” said Sylvester.

“It is awesome to be a part of Suffolk University softball history,” said Pulek. “I want to continue working hard to be even better.”

However, after a “tough” 9-1 elimination to Emmanuel College in the GNAC Tournament, Pulek and Sylvester stressed the team’s goal in winning a GNAC Championship.The team also lost to Emmanuel in a 9-7 GNAC Tournament game on Friday, May 6. With three games to play on Saturday, May 7, their teammates efforts did not go unnoticed, as Pulek said, “[her teammates] gave it their all, and that is all that matters.”

“We were swinging the bats really well, and produced seven runs,” said Slyvester. “But, it was the first time all season that we allowed more than six runs against us. There were times that we had hits that didn’t fall our way and there were times that hits fell their way.”

Sylvester thinks the team will be able to improve as a group from this past season, and make adjustments to be even better and successful. Sylvester said the team went from not being able to score a run her freshman year to finishing the past two seasons first in the conference and winning two GNAC Tournament games in the post-season in a 9-5 win versus Albertus Magnus and a 7-2 win against St. Joseph (Conn.) on May 7 before their 9-1 loss to Emmanuel in the GNAC Tournament elimination round.

“I am looking to really improve my small game that I developed this year, because I think it will be a huge asset for me,” said Sylvester. “I plan on working hard during the off-season to really keep my bat hot for the next season as well.”

“And now after the past two seasons that I have had, I think I am going to be a lot more patient at the plate and really look for my pitch when I am hitting or catching, I think I need to continue to be a leader behind the plate for my team.”

Besides playing alongside players who share a love for the game and goals in keeping up the winning record, winning a GNAC Championship and making a run in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Regional Tournament, Pulek and Sylvester have made lifelong friends being a part of the program. The team has a family-like bond.

“We are friends off of the field, which carries over to the field and it makes it so much easier to win games,” said Sylvester.

Along with growing as a player in the past year, Sylvester, a biology major, likes to think she has helped her teammates grow as well.

“A lot of them come to me when they have questions about hitting and their swings,” said Sylvester. “[Head Softball Coach Jaclyn Davis] always tell me that I have a “high softball IQ.”

Pulek, a biology major, who entered her freshman year with “little to no expectations,” said the team consists of truly an amazing group of girls.
“They have all made my first year better than I could even imagine and they made it truly unforgettable,” said Pulek.

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