Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 MAAC Preview---Fairfield Stags

2010 Finish: 6th Place (24-22)
Departed Players: 8
Incoming Players: 8

Returning Players:
Kristina Lingo (.272)
Tiffany Lawson (.235)
Laura Carta (.235)
Ali Wigand (.229)
Sarah Minice (14-14; 3.07 ERA)
Emily Orr (2-0; 4.34 ERA)
Kelli Panter (8-8; 4.45 ERA)

Incoming Players:
Rae Ball
Rachel Beaudoin
Kristen Filicia
Kimi Kurata
Lauren Liseth
Nikki Osofsky
Mikayla Shumate
Rebecca Trott

As you can see, the 2011 Fairfield Stags had a lot of turnover this past off season. Gone are their top 3 hitters, and other big players as well. It's difficult to forecast how this season's team will do---with a roster of only 15, and only 4 field players returning, the Stags are going to be starting a lot of freshmen this season. The freshman class is quite talented, but of course they have yet to get their feet wet in division 1 softball.

On the positive side, the entire Fairfield pitching staff returns for the 2011 season. They are led by 2009 MAAC Pitcher Of The Year Sarah Minice, who at the least will keep this young team in games. Sarah had an up and down season in 2010, but she can be dominant. Her most impressive outing last year was when she pitched at Niagara and defeated the powerful Purple Eagles twice in one day, allowing them only one run in the doubleheader. Pitching like that would surely mitigate the inexperience behind her. Sarah is a relentless competitor and a leader on the team who will be counted upon to assist the young players. Fairfield will go as far as Sarah Minice can take them.

The second senior pitcher on the team is Kelli Panter, who was actually redshirted her sophomore season. I thought she really progressed well last season. It's important for her to continue that progression which would give the Stags two solid starters. Late last season she earned a huge win at Manhattan, which at the time kept the Stags in the tournament hunt. Sophomore Emily Orr saw all of her action last year as a reliever, and was 2-0.

Designated player Kristina Lingo was an All-MAAC Second Team selection in 2010. She brings a .292 career average into her senior season. Sophomore Tiffany Lawson stole 10 bases in 2010; juniors Ali Wigand and Laura Carta are the other returnees.

Sarah Minice will keep the Stags competitive in 2011, but the Stags tournament hopes will depend upon the progression of the freshmen.

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