Neli Casares-Maher Came Across the Country and Now Leads Her Squad
By Spencer Pierce
CitrusTV’s Softball Beat Reporter
It’s no secret that Neli Casares-Maher has been a baller her whole life.
As a senior in high school, Casares-Maher hit .460.
When she came to SU in 2018, she started 31 games and hit .241, adding 10 RBI. Since then, her skills have only been rising. Casares-Maher has become a stellar softball player, and she’s keeping this SU softball afloat at 10-9.
In a COVID-19 shortened season last year, Casares-Maher ranked second in batting average (.295), OBP (.403), and RBI (12). She ranked first in slugging percentage, coming in at .541.
Though the season ended early, it was an encouraging sign for Shannon Doepking knowing that Casares-Maher was only getting better.
Casares-Maher ate her wheaties this year. Her batting average sits at .356, which is highest on the team by almost .60 points. Her OPS is first on the team at 1.052. The point here is that, no matter the stat that’s being named, Casares-Maher is most likely at the top.
Her production this year as a senior has allowed the Syracuse offense to thrive at times. In this past weeks series vs Pittsburgh, the Orange outscored the Panthers 31-8. The downfall though comes when Casares-Maher isn’t on her game.
Take the Duke series for example. The Orange were outscored 31-8 (definitely a weird coincidence), and Casares-Maher went 4-11 and contributed one of the eight RBI for the Orange.
There is no other production for the Orange. When they get into low scoring affairs and they rely on their pitches, primarily Alexa Romero and Kaia Oliver, they often find themselves in trouble because of their lack of offensive production outside of Casares-Maher.
Speaking of the pitching tandem, Alexa Romero must have read some of my previous articles, as she’s really hit her stride lately. This past week against Pitt, she pitched 10 total innings, striking out 15 and giving up only four hits.
The sudden emergence of Kaia Oliver and now Lindsey Hendrix gives SU a three headed monster that the rest of the ACC should be nervous about.
Unfortunately, the series this weekend has been postponed, but the Orange will play UMASS in a doubleheader on Friday.
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