Softball

Senior Corinne Ozanne mentors freshman Andrea Bombace to fill similar role

Eddie Natal | Staff Photographer

Andrea Bombace has taken notes on Corinne Ozanne for years before getting to Syracuse. Now Ozanne is teaching Bombace to fill her role.

Syracuse freshman Andrea Bombace first learned of Corinne Ozanne in eighth grade.

Ozanne was a member of the Jersey Inferno, a travel softball team based in New Jersey that also produced former Syracuse pitcher Lindsay Taylor and current Orange pitcher AnnaMarie Gatti. Bombace played on several different teams throughout high school and saw Ozanne at numerous tournaments over the years.

“I’ve known her from travel ball,” Bombace said. “I’ve seen her play in tournaments, and she’s someone that works hard all the time.”

While Ozanne was making a name for herself with the Inferno, Bombace was taking notes. She didn’t get the chance to meet the star hitter in person until coming to SU (23-18, 8-9 Atlantic Coast) this past fall, but Bombace always knew that Ozanne was the type of player she wanted to become.

“She’s someone that I’ve been trying to shadow for a while,” Bombace said. “It’s like when you’re going to an internship and you’re trying to shadow somebody that you want to be, (Ozanne is) who I want to be.”

In the fall, Ozanne saw potential in the young power-hitting designated player who will take Ozanne’s spot at first base next season. She too remembered Bombace from travel ball. Her intimidating swing and attitude at the plate were the biggest things that stuck out to Ozanne from day one.

Standing at 5 feet 10 inches, the freshman is also one of the tallest players on the team, and she turned heads as she took reps in the batting cages and on the field during the first few weeks of practice.

“She’s a monster of a person and I wouldn’t want to pitch to her,” Ozanne said. “That just adds to her demeanor (at the plate).”

After spending almost an entire season with Bombace, Ozanne has a whole new understanding of the freshman. With three weeks left in the regular season, Bombace is currently hitting .250 with a .672 slugging percentage and eight home runs, just three short of Ozanne’s total in her freshman season. A week ago, Ozanne broke Syracuse’s all-time career home-run record.

Though Bombace has shown early promise for the Orange this season, Ozanne makes sure she doesn’t take it easy on the freshman during practice. She said she’s always harping on what Bombace can do better at the plate.

Bombace has in turn used this season as an opportunity to learn from Ozanne, and has started to emulate some of the the senior’s day-to-day routines.

“When we travel, she’s always up early in the morning working out, and I’ve actually started doing that,” Bombace said. “I work hard, but it’s nice to see someone who works even harder.”

The two right-handers both demand respect from opposing pitchers, assistant coach Alisa Goler said.

When Ozanne leaves the program, she hopes to see Bombace fill her space on the roster, and become one of those girls that younger teammates aspire to be.

“We’re hoping that with all that she’s learned from (Ozanne), she will be one of those players that girls look up to,” Goler said. “I’m really hoping she comes in and does that, (the opportunity) will be hers for the taking.”

In her final weeks as a player at SU, Ozanne is trying her best to invest her knowledge and skillsets with Bombace in hopes that the Orange will continue to prosper in the future.

“There’s only so many times that you can help a player out before you’re no longer there,” Ozanne said. “It would be awesome if Andrea could be better than me — grow up in her senior year and break all of the records — but I have to help her get to that point until I’m gone.”

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