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Goeke makes most of increased opportunity

Goeke makes most of increased opportunity

As the Hofstra softball team’s season comes to a close and seniors graduate, the program must regroup. The team’s goal this offseason will be to assess their roster, train and improve and to ultimately forge a path back into the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship scene next year. Designated player Alexis Goeke, a junior from Bordentown, New Jersey, will be pivotal in accomplishing that goal, as her markedly-improved play this year has earned her a permanent spot in the team’s lineup and turned her into a key piece of the team’s puzzle.

Goeke’s love for softball came to her at a young age and was a product of her bond with her older brother, Austin, who played baseball for Wagner University until his graduation in 2017.

“Austin was always challenging me and was super competitive,” Goeke said. “Because he played baseball, he kind of turned me on to playing softball, and ever since then I’ve just loved the game.”

Her love for the game grew as she did. She played varsity softball for all four years of high school while attending the Hun School of Princeton. During her time there, Goeke developed not only into the team’s best player, but also into its leader. She was given the Coaches’ Award as a senior, the same year that she posted an incredible .720 batting average and led the squad to capture the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Championship. She earned First Team selections on the All-MAPL and All-State New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association teams each of her four years and was also selected for the Star-Ledger First Team All-Prep in her freshman and sophomore years.

“I definitely think it was a good platform to build off of coming into college,” she said. “Especially while I was an upperclassman in high school, I learned leadership skills that I can apply here at Hofstra. Obviously, at the college level, the game sped up a lot so mechanically I had to make adjustments, but having that background of being the leader on a team has really helped me here.”

Goeke was certain that she’d continue her softball career into college, but the question that proved harder to answer was where that would be.

“I made the decision to come to Hofstra the summer of 2016 before my freshman year, and it was the best opportunity I could’ve gotten,” she said. “I was originally going to attend St. Peter’s University in my home state, but decided it was not the place for me.”

In her freshman season, Goeke was relegated to fighting for playing time in the outfield. She did not record her first career hit until April 2 of that year, in what was just her third game played but the team’s twenty-eighth of the year. That hit was the only one she’d get that year, but she managed to make a huge impact on the team before the end of the season. This came in the form of the winning run in the 10th inning of the team’s 2017 CAA Championship first-round game. Facing the College of Charleston, Goeke entered the game as a pinch runner, subbing in at second base. She advanced to third on a groundout and was brought home by teammate Kristin Hallam to tally her first career run and keep the Pride’s playoff run alive into the second round.

“It felt really good to be able to do that with my team. That set me up to want to make that happen every year, to make the playoffs again, and just to keep winning games. I look forward to trying to do it again in the future.”

Goeke’s sophomore season saw her build on that moment, as she took advantage of every opportunity she got while remaining out of the team’s regular lineup. In five games played, she tallied two hits and three RBIs, one of which came in the Pride’s first-round matchup of the CAA Championship against Towson University. That win came en route to the team capturing the league championship before making a three-game run in the NCAA Regionals.

While still celebrating her team’s accomplishments, Goeke’s determination to prove herself worthy of consistent playing time remained unshaken. This season she was inserted into the team’s regular lineup, and she has taken full advantage of the chance given to her by new head coach Jay Miller. She wavered early in the year, seemingly unable to get comfortable in the new role, but as the season went on, her performance has steadily improved and she has grown into a big contributor for the team.

Goeke especially hit her stride in the month of April. In 15 games played in the month, she earned a hit in all but three, as she put up 15 total hits, 14 RBIs and five runs. In a seven-game stretch from April 12 through April 21, she posted a batting average of .500, a slugging average of 1.050 and an on-base percentage of .615 with three home runs, two doubles, nine RBIs and four runs.

“The most significant change that led to my improved play was just having the opportunity in my hands,” Goeke said. “While not getting much playing time and watching those that came before me, I learned a lot. When I wasn’t on the field, I was constantly picking up on small details that made those players that helped us win the 2018 title successful.”

“With that being said, when I was given the opportunity this season, I had a plan on how I was going to capitalize on it.”

Now, approaching her senior year, she must bring all of her experience together, as her role will only be bigger going forward. After missing out on the CAA tournament in 2019, the team looks to re-enter the CAA Championship conversation, and Goeke will be crucial to their accomplishing that goal.

Photo courtesy of Hofstra Athletics

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