BRONX, N.Y. – Gabby Mazzotta, a freshman softball catcher at Manhattan College, made the most of her brief college debut, hitting .368 in a 13-game, coronavirus-shortened season.

In addition to her 14 hits, the 2019 Somers High School graduate had 12 runs scored, 6 RBI, 3 doubles, a triple, 5 walks, 2 stolen bases, .455 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage.

Mazzotta made an impression on her Lady Jaspers coaches, who named her Rookie of the Year.

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“This was a tough decision, based on the great start we had from all our freshmen candidates,” said Tom Pardalis, Manhattan head coach. “Gabby’s willingness to sacrifice for the team, combined with a great work ethic and excellent statistics…has made her our No. 1 choice. Gabby has a very bright career ahead of her, and we wish her good luck.”

Mazzotta was a three-year captain of the softball team at Somers High School, earning five varsity letters. She was a four-time All-League honoree and three-time All-Section pick. She was named All-State her senior season.

What, if any, changes did you make to your game/training to compete at the next level?

I really tripled down on workouts to ensure that I would be strong enough to compete at the next level. I focused on strength training and, specifically, quality lifting form so that I would feel confident in the weight room with my teammates. I also worked on my endurance to prepare myself for conditioning sessions after a long day of hard work in the weight room, classroom, and on the field. Doing all of this coupled with immediately connecting with my teammates from day one and really helped me feel confident. I knew deep down my preparation for my game was very solid and this resulted in having a positive mindset walking into the college softball world.

Your success was almost immediate. Even in a shortened season, you impressed enough to be named Rookie of the Year. What does that honor mean to you?

Winning Rookie of the Year means everything to me. My goal for my freshman year was to earn a spot on the starting roster. I achieved my goal as an everyday starter by giving it my ALL in every single practice, scrimmage, lift, and conditioning. Earning my scholarship required dedication and commitment, but then I realized that the true hard work doesn’t start until you step foot onto the college field—playing a Division 1 sport is no joke. I am so proud to be named Rookie of the Year because I have never worked harder in my life and it feels rewarding to be recognized by my coaches and teammates.

How disappointing was it to have your rookie year canceled?

At first, I was devastated that my first college season was cut short; I was having the time of my life, about to go on my second Florida trip, my team was playing well, and the thought of never being able to play with the seniors again was heartbreaking. However, I learned to turn the negatives into positives. I accepted the situation and channeled all my focus mostly into my schoolwork, doubling down on my workouts at home to get even stronger, working on hitting mechanics consistently, and spending time with my family. I got a good taste of what real college softball is like and I am lucky enough to have four more years ahead of me. Due to COVID-19, I was given the opportunity to redshirt and it works out perfectly for me because I will be doing the five-year finance program at Manhattan College. I was just getting started and I am so ready to help my team be a dominant force in the MAAC conference!

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