Head coach Megan Bryant hitting ground balls in practice on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Bryant is primed to lead her team to a the CAA championship in 2023. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Last season was an unorthodox one for the Stony Brook softball team. Though they suffered several key departures heading into the 2022 season, the Seawolves finished with their highest win total in a decade. 

However, the Seawolves were deemed ineligible to play in the America East Conference Championship Tournament due to their impending move out of the conference. The team finished in second place in the America East Conference (AE) with a 31-16 record, going 10-6 in conference play. 

The team’s ban from the playoffs left a feeling of unfinished business. Now in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Stony Brook is ready to get back to competing for championships in an even deeper conference.

“[The ban] was hard at the time for sure, but we are looking ahead for now,” head coach Megan Bryant said in an interview with The Statesman.


Even with the postseason ban, there was still much to be proud of last season. Players from each positional group rose to the occasion when called upon, with a plethora of them turning into reliable starters — if not flat-out stars. 

However, their jobs were made much easier by two excellent pitchers who are no longer with Stony Brook after graduating last May.

Stony Brook will have to replace starting pitcher Dawn Bodrug, who was one of the best pitchers in the nation in 2022. She etched her name into the program’s all-time record book, striking out 285 batters in 174.2 innings. The ace went 19-7 with a 2.00 ERA and a .93 WHIP in 29 games on the mound. She even threw four no-hitters last year, all in the month of April.

Behind her, Shelbi Denman was also reliable. Denman had a career year, posting a 2.75 ERA in 96.2 innings. 


With the amount of questions on the mound, Stony Brook will likely have to score a lot of runs this year. Luckily, the team is aptly equipped to do so.

The Seawolves have a loaded group of young position players that have proven themselves to be good hitters. Perhaps the most dangerous is senior catcher Corinne Badger. After being a sparingly-used backup for her first two seasons, Badger burst onto the scene last year, batting .312 with an AE-leading 16 home runs and 44 RBIs. She also led the conference with a .716 slugging percentage and 1.093 on-base plus slugging. During the opening weekend, Badger became the first player in program history to win the National Player of the Week award after slugging six home runs in one series.

The deepest part of the Seawolves’ roster is the outfield. Perhaps the group’s biggest star is right fielder Alyssa Costello, who won the 2022 AE batting title as a freshman. She batted .373 with nine doubles, four homers and 28 RBIs. She also made an impact with her legs, stealing seven bases in eight attempts.

Center fielder Alicia Orosco started all 47 games for Stony Brook last year and batted .270 as the team’s leadoff hitter. She also led the team with 13 walks. Not only was she good at setting the table, but her speed made her dangerous on the bases and on defense. Now a junior, Orosco will look to improve upon her nine stolen bases from last year and try to make even more great plays in center field.

“I’m definitely looking to continue to be pretty quick on the basepaths and take as many extra bases as possible, because that helps us out a lot,” Orosco said. “In the outfield, I want to make my range a lot bigger and get to as many balls as possible out there.”


Left fielder Catherine Anne Kupinski was productive from the middle of the order. She led the team with 11 doubles and was third on the team with 26 RBIs in 2022. 

Behind those three are corner outfielders Julianna Sanzone and Shauna Nuss. Sanzone had an excellent freshman season in 2021, posting a .302/.393/.453 slash line as the fourth outfielder. She was the starting left fielder at the start of last season but wound up breaking her jaw just 10 games in. 

As for Nuss, she batted .284 in 2021 as the team’s starting right fielder. However, she struggled last year and finished with a .192 batting average.

Kupinski sees this crowdedness as a strength.

“There is a fight for each position. You can put anyone in the three positions and they could all get the job done,” Kupinski said. “It allows us to work hard and prepare for game-time decisions.”

Stony Brook’s infield is also talented. The team boasts several good infielders, such as first baseman Ashley Jacobson, second baseman Sofia Chambers and shortstop Kyra McFarland.


Jacobson, a junior, is expected to take over as the full-time first baseman this year. After getting only three at-bats as a freshman in 2021, she was the team’s primary designated player in 2022. Jacobson flourished, batting .370 with three home runs, five doubles and 11 RBIs. She also posted an 1.100 OPS. Now that former starting first baseman Lindsey Osmer has graduated, Jacobson will likely take over that role.

“I’d say I’m ready to play there,” Jacobson said. “I’m ready to take over and I’m excited.”

McFarland and Chambers combine to form a strong middle infield. After making the 2021 AE All-Rookie team, McFarland had an even better sophomore year. She batted .313 with seven doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs in 2022. She also improved her defense significantly, raising her fielding percentage by 62 points from 2021 to 2022. McFarland is a lethal baserunner as well, boasting a career .950 stolen-base percentage.

With shortstop Nicole McCarvill gone, McFarland will remain at shortstop full-time. 

Chambers took over as the everyday second baseman in 2022. In her first year as a starter, Chambers batted .255 with a .347 on-base percentage. She was second on the team in walks with 12.

Third base remains the only question in Stony Brook’s infield. Last year, Brook Dye got the majority of the playing time. However, she batted only .188. If Dye or someone else can step up and perform well at the position, that would give Stony Brook an added bonus.

Looking to fill the holes at the top of the rotation, the Seawolves will turn to pitchers Ashton Melaas and Mia Haynes in hopes of getting some of that production back.


“Our pitching is going to look different,” Bryant said. “We graduated a lot of strikeouts. But we have a very effective pitching staff who can pitch to a good defense.”

Melaas is a senior right-handed pitcher who joined Stony Brook last year as a junior college transfer. She was the third option in the rotation and had an up-and-down 2022 season. In 13 appearances (six starts), she posted a 3-1 record with a 3.22 ERA in 41.1 innings. However, opposing hitters hit .278 off her, leaving her with a WHIP of 1.50.

Haynes is a junior who the team acquired through the transfer portal this past summer. Haynes played her first two NCAA seasons at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), where she was a two-way player for the Cougars. Her career statistics do not pop; she finished her SIUE career with a 4.80 ERA across 153 innings. However, Haynes did not receive much help from her defense last year, which hurt her numbers. The Cougars committed the third-most errors in the Ohio Valley Conference. 

Though the statistics do Haynes no justice, she has a lot of talent. She fired a no-hitter in her first start of the season last year and was SIUE’s number one option in the rotation. Now pitching with a defense that was the best in the AE last year, Haynes will look to break out.

“Mia Haynes is a big addition to our pitching staff, joining us last summer,” Bryant said. “She has a lot of great tools, with the team fired up to play behind her. Ashton looks great, too. She’s strong, she’s loose, she wants the ball in pressure situations. Her and Mia are going to be a great one-two.”

Stony Brook’s only two other pitchers are sophomore left-hander Maddie Male and junior right-hander Amanda Flynn. Neither pitcher has appeared in a game yet for Stony Brook, but that may change this year.

If Stony Brook’s hitters can continue to trend upwards in 2023 and the pitching can hold up, the Seawolves will be a force to be reckoned with in their first year in the CAA. The team is projected to finish fifth in the preseason poll, placing moderate expectations for the newcomers.

Bryant believes that her team can win the conference this year if it just focuses on the matter at hand.

“We are definitely excited about this new opportunity,” Bryant said. “Every weekend in the CAA is going to be a challenge. We are capable of winning the CAA … but there is really good competition. We really have to take it one game at a time, one series at time.”

Mike Anderson and Matt Howlin contributed reporting.

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