A Calista(r) is Born

Former Gatorade New York State Softball Player of the Year Calista Phippen has been dominating the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) since the start of her rookie season.

With just 10 games left in the softball season, Phippen has been on a tear all year long. Some of her impressive statistics include an earned run average (ERA) of 1.22, which is good enough for her to be ranked 14th in the country. As of now, she has a record of 17-7, striking out 146 batters, and has only allowed 28 runs, 22 of them being earned. In games that she’s played, the Foxes have outscored their opponents 94-42. She has been leaned on heavily throughout the season, often taking the mound in both games during double headers.

Phippen has already garnered numerous awards including four MAAC Rookie of the Week honors, as well as a naming tot he 2019 Schutt Sports/NFCA Freshman of the Year Top 25 list.

Phippen grew up in Kinderhook, NY where she attended Ichabod Crane High School. There, she compiled record setting numbers and was named Gatorade New York State Softball Player of the Year in 2017. In three years as a full time starter, she won team MVP every season. While doing so, she struck out 836 batters and threw 36 shutouts including 8 no-hitters. She was an All American according to Max Preps in 2016, and in 2015, she helped her team reach their only state title.

Softball has been a part of her life from a young age. “In middle school I played soccer, field hockey, basketball but once I got to high school I narrowed it down to softball,” she said. She knew she wanted to play at the collegiate level when her team won the state championship during her freshman season.

When asked why she wanted to come to Poughkeepsie to play for Marist, her answer was clear: “If you just go straight up Route 9 you’ll end up at my hometown.” With home only an hour away, Marist gave Phippen a sense of familiarity. One advantage that comes with growing up nearby is that, “A lot of girls in the MAAC I saw because they went to local high schools.”

Besides the advantages on the field, there was also the plus of having her parents and family at every game to watch her perform. Phippen also explained how it was the coaching staff of Marist that helped convince her to join the Red Foxes. “It didn’t feel like I was making a transition from high school to college, just going home to home.”

This season she has thrown a massive total of 123 innings. “It’s really exciting. It does feel like there is a lot of pressure sometimes because I don’t want to let my team down,” she said in regards to her time spent on the mound.  

In such a long season, there can be a lot of highs and lows for each individual player, and being that Calista is only a freshman, there have been teachable moments throughout the year.

When the team traveled to Tennessee earlier this spring, they played Portland where she received what she viewed as her welcome to Division I moment. “No matter where I threw that ball, they hit it,” remembered Phippen. “It wasn’t like they were hitting home runs, they were right in the gaps.” Phippen described this as a wake-up call, as she knew there was some serious competition at this level.

Coach Ausanio has to be incredibly excited about this team’s future. This team’s young core features current sophomore shortstop Caroline Baratta, who was MAAC Rookie of the Year last season, and junior outfielder Ali Milam, who tied the program’s single season RBI record last year as well.

Phippen credits her early success to her teammates. “There’s 21 outs in a game, maybe I can get six or seven, but I’m going to make mistakes and they are there to have my back.” With a team that has so much young potential, the Red Foxes’ future certainly looks bright with these women at the helm.

Currently ranked 2nd in the MAAC conference with only 10 games remaining, they will try to close out the season and make a run at the MAAC title. If Phippen can continue her stellar play for the rest of the season and into the postseason, Marist has a real shot at putting another banner next to the 2016 title on their stadium wall.

Edited by Oscar Fick & Dan Statile

Header art by Kristin Flanigan

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