Syracuse keeps morale up with post-play celebrations

Jordan Phelps | Staff Photographer

Sophomore second baseman Alicia Hansen leads Syracuse's expressive celebrations on the bases and in the field.

Syracuse had just allowed its fifth run of the inning to the second best team in the country:  Florida State.

After a lineout to third baseman Hannah Dossett, she pointed over to second baseman Alicia Hansen with a little skip. Hansen mimicked the gesture to junior shortstop Sammy Fernandez, who relayed the message to the outfielders. Then, in one fluid motion, they passed around their individual dances as Hansen moderated from the infield. It ended back in the infield with Faith Cain, SU’s first baseman, swinging her arm over the ground.

The Orange buckled down on the next play and forced the next two batters out to end the inning.

Syracuse (30-18, 10-10 Atlantic Coast) keeps its morale up through such post-play celebrations. Hansen and Fernandez lead the charge, as the Orange makes the gestures a team-wide affair and pick-me-up in the middle of quick and long innings alike. When the conference tournament begins May 11, SU will trust its rituals to get out of jams.

“I’m someone who’s known for getting hype over the little things,” Hansen said. “It makes the mood a lot lighter. It’s good to show we are that happy after we get an out. It makes us want to get more outs.”

Syracuse performs the celebrations after every out. The results speak for themselves: SU stands tied for fifth in the ACC with a .963 fielding percentage, and leads the conferences in strikeouts, with 361.

Most of the celebrations start with Hansen, who said she’s “the creative one,” and has a different movement with each of her teammates. The most notable is the celebration she has with Fernandez, her middle-infield partner, in which they dab before they send it out to the outfield. Hansen loves Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton, who made the celebration famous during his 2015 MVP season.

“It helps make things more exciting on the field,” Fernandez said. “You get really excited to make the out so you can look around at all your teammates and celebrate with them.”

Junior right fielder Rachel Burkhardt, one of the most vocal players at SU, said outfielders use the celebrations to communicate actual game situations, including number of outs and number of runners on base.

The celebrations have also become a bit of a legacy thing, which some Orange players have developed since high school. More experienced players can develop relationships with younger players on the team by crafting a tailored celebration. Many said it has brought the team closer together.

“It’s like a pat on the back, even though we can’t physically pat each other on the back,” Burkhardt said. “It’s kind of a pride thing, my team has faith in me, I can get the job done for them. I’ll give my best effort because they trust in me.

“It keeps you in the game.”


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