By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY For Cochecton resident Autumn Ackermann, the recently completed 2011 college softball season was a very successful one.
Ackermann was a utility player for the SUNY Cobleskill Fighting Tigers, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III team. She was named to the 2011 All-North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Northern Division First Team.
Ackermann, a 2010 Sullivan West Central School graduate, became the first player in SUNY Cobleskill history to attain first team all-conference status.
“I came back from class when I found out about the conference award,” Ackermann said. “Coach [Mary] Irving called me and told me about it. It is a pretty nice honor.”
Ackermann then called her parents Tim “Chopper” Ackermann and Penny Ackermann to tell them about the honor.
“They helped me a lot,” Autumn commented. “And I let my batting coaches from Pro Prospects, Jed Carrier and Steve Pinto, know about the award.
“My dad’s my biggest fan,” Autumn added. “He drives to all of my games and my mom’s there too.”
At last month’s SUNY Cobleskill Athletic Awards ceremony, Irving noted that Autumn “was a fine all-around player for us playing first base, third base and pitcher and doing a very solid job for us in all three roles this year.
“I think it is fairly obvious that she is a great hitter and from the sixth game of the year she really carried us offensively,” Irving added.
In 23 games this season, Ackermann batted .429 to lead the Fighting Tigers. She also had five doubles, a home run, 10 runs scored and a team leading 23 RBIs. She also had an on-base percentage of .507 and a slugging percentage of .556.
While playing softball at SW, Ackermann moved up to the varsity team for sectionals in her sophomore year. She was one of the Lady Bulldogs’ starting players as a junior and senior. She was one of the team’s pitchers and played shortstop “a little bit” in her senior year.
“Usually first base was the second position I played,” she said.
As a senior, she received the SW softball team’s Coaches Award.
This spring, the 18-year-old Ackermann shared the pitching duties for the Fighting Tigers with Nicole Gannon.
“Usually I would pitch the first game and play first base in the second game when Nicole pitched,” Ackermann said.
Although SUNY Cobleskill finished the season with a record of 3-21 overall and 0-18 in NEAC, Ackermann was the winning pitcher in two of the team’s victories and she enjoyed the entire experience.
“It was pretty good, I can’t complain,” she said.
Of course, playing a college sport presents different challenges than competing for a high school team.
“We played a lot of games in a short season,” Ackermann said. “We played 24 games in a couple of months. I had to keep up with my classes and balance everything.”
She certainly balanced academics and athletics very well.
Last fall, Ackermann had a 4.0 GPA and this spring her GPA was 3.82. She did so while attending practices and games and coming home to Cochecton on weekends when she didn’t have practices or games to work with special needs kids at the Center For Discovery in Monticello.
Ackermann said she plans to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Adaptive Physical Education and a Master’s in Therapeutic Rehabilitation.
“I have one more semester at Cobleskill,” she explained. “Then for the spring 2012 semester I will transfer to SUNY Cortland.”
Ackermann would like to play softball for the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons.
“I’m going to try out for the team in the fall [of 2012],” she said. “I am not going to be able to play softball at Cortland next spring because I won’t be there in the fall.”
While home for the summer, Ackermann is working at the Center For Discovery. She is also making sure she will be ready to try out for the SUNY Cortland team more than a year from now.
“I’m going to work hard and definitely keep in shape to stay competitive,” Ackermann said.