Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 MAAC Season Review

Deanne Algeo's 7th inning line out this past Saturday afternoon was the last play of an interesting and unusual 2011 MAAC Softball season. It was a season that saw Marist rise from the bottom of the conference to title contention; it also was a season that saw perennial power Canisius fail to qualify for the tournament for only the second time ever. We saw the Iona Gaels defend their championship by making history---they were only the second school ever to come out of the losers bracket and win it all. And yet, they were two pitches away from not winning.

I'd have to say that the biggest story of the year was an unexpected one. No, not the rise of Marist, but the collapse of Canisius. To put it in perspective, not only had the Golden Griffins qualified for the tournament every season except once since they joined the MAAC, but they had played in the Championship game 16 times in those 20 years, winning the title 12 times. Canisius had lost only one player due to graduation, albeit a very good one (Michelle Fridey), and they seemed poised to replicate their 13-3 record from 2010. Unfortunately for them, 2010 All-MAAC pitcher Caroline Main did not fully recover from the injury she suffered during the 2010 Championship game until the last week of this season. Their other 2010 All-MAAC pitcher, Amanda Baun, had a down year. The team led the MAAC in hitting, but their pitching constantly failed them in key games. Canisius finished with a losing record for only the fourth time in their 31 year history and ended the season four games out of fourth place.

The fall of Canisius in 2011 opened up the race. One team that took advantage was the Marist Red Foxes. Winners of only 10 games the previous season, Marist would treble that tally, and with a challenging and grueling schedule at that. While Canisius' pitching failed, the Marist pitching staff rose to the occasion. Starters Emily Osterhaus and Paige Lewis progressed dramatically during the course of the season. Megan Lamoureux, Nicole DiVirgilio, Haley Birnbaum and others provided heavy bats; Marist easily led the MAAC in runs and RBIs. They were the team most prepared for the conference season, and qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2008.

Fairfield was going great until the last day of their season. Led by senior pitcher Sarah Minice, and bolstered by a large group of energetic freshmen, including Rookie Of The Year Lauren Liseth, the Stags seemed poised to win the conference easily. Sarah had a fabulous season, but failed on Championship day, pitching only four innings while surrendering eight earned runs and losing twice. That's one I will never be able to figure out. The Stags did discover, however, that freshman Rebecca Trott was their up and coming ace.

Iona started the MAAC season slowly, but then won 10 conference games in a row to put themselves in position to defend their title. Sarah Jackson repeated her great sophomore season, highlighted by shutting out powerful Hawai'i in a dramatic 1-0 extra innings win. The Gaels' offense slumped from the previous year, but senior Alyssa Maiese picked up the slack by having an All-MAAC season and leading the conference in home runs. The Gaels twice staved off elimination in late innings in the tournament to eventually win the crown.

Manhattan had their most successful MAAC season ever, winning 12 games. Although their 8 seniors for the most part began the year slowly, they all peaked at just the right time to lead the LJs into the tournament for the third consecutive season.

Siena showed themselves to be an up and coming team as sophomore Shannon Jones had a fabulous season, hitting over .400. She also improved dramatically at shortstop. Freshman Jessika-Jo Sandrini revitalized the Siena program, at the plate and in the circle. These two players became a deadly one-two punch in the Saints' lineup.

Niagara had what can only be termed as a disappointing season. In contention with a 6-3 record, they would lose their last 7 MAAC games and finish in 7th place. Senior Teresa Healy had another fabulous season, again being honored as the conference's best player. But the Purple Eagles seemed to lose confidence down the stretch.

Rider simply could not produce the offense needed to support pitcher Rachael Matreale, who had an ERA amongst the MAAC's leaders, but lost 21 games. And St. Peter's, although they won a conference game for the first time since 2009, has a long way to go in rebuilding their program.

I thought the MAAC was looking fairly strong during the tournament portion of the season, then headed into conference play. Indeed, this season 11 wins would be required to qualify for the tournament. The overall pitching was not as strong this season as it had been in the past though. Did the best team win the tournament? Probably not...but I warned that Iona's experience could play a big factor, and this turned out to be the case. All in all, I found 2011 to be a very enjoyable season.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Abby Carpenter Signs With Siena

Abby Carpenter of Bristow, VA has signed a National Letter Of Intent to play softball at Siena College beginning with the 2012 season.

Abby is an infielder and outfielder at Brentsville District High School. She plays travel ball with the Vienna Stars Gold.

“Siena is just a good fit for her,” said Abby’s mother Pam. “We walked around the campus and she had a good feeling about it.”

Siena Saints head coach Bill Lajeunesse first noticed Carpenter while she was playing in New Jersey with her travel team, the Vienna Stars 18U Gold team. Cathy Rollins, college coordinator for the team, said that Siena’s interest in Carpenter increased late last year, but it was still early for her to make any kind of decisions.

“They started watching her in the summer, but they really started to pay attention to her in the fall. They were hot on her, but it took her a while to get hot on them,” she said...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

MAAC Season Ends With Iona Loss

Missouri State 4
Iona 2

Box Score

The Iona Gaels were eliminated from the Norman, OK Regional when they dropped a 4-2 game to Missouri State Saturday.

The Gaels put forth a good effort today, but it wasn't enough as Missouri State scored a pair of runs in the top of the 7th inning to break a 2-2 tie. Alyssa Maiese made her final start in an Iona uniform, and allowed two runs in the top of the 1st inning after a two out double. But she settled down, and was in control until the 7th inning. Alyssa would cut the Missouri State lead in half herself when she launched a rocket over the center field fence in the bottom of the 2nd inning. It was Alyssa's 13th home run of the year, meaning that she finished as the MAAC's leader in that category. In the bottom of the 6th inning, the Gaels came back to tie the game. Jodi Petersen led off with a double to left field, and was followed by an Eileen McCann single. Alyssa Maiese then sent Jodi home with a sacrifice fly, her second RBI of the game, making the score 2-2. It looked as if Iona might win their first ever NCAA tournament game. But after a Missouri State hitter reached base on an error by shortstop Deanne Algeo in the top of the 7th inning, and was bunted over to second base, the Bears' Kirstin Cutter tripled to the center field wall to drive home the eventual winning run. Sarah Jackson then entered the game in relief of Alyssa Maiese, but gave up a double that scored the Bears' 4th run. The Gaels had some life in the bottom of the 7th inning when lead off hitter Chelsea Sheehan was hit by a pitch, but a double play subsequently squelched that hope.

And so ends another MAAC season. I will review what happened in 2011 once the dust settles.

Home Run Queen

Just in...
Iona's Alyssa Maiese just smashed a second inning homer against Missouri State. It was Alyssa's 13th of the season, and gives her the undisputed MAAC home run crown for 2011.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gaels Drop Opening Game In Norman

#15 Oklahoma 7
Iona 1

The Iona Gaels just concluded their opening game at the Norman, OK Regional, losing 7-1 to the #15 Oklahoma Sooners.

This game was actually close until Oklahoma broke through for three runs in the bottom of the 6th inning. Iona starter Sarah Jackson looked a bit tired at that time, and I was surprised she was still in. The Sooners did produce 15 hits, so Sarah had some long innings. She was doing a pretty good job after a very rough 1st inning which saw Oklahoma immediately load the bases. But after surrendering two runs, catcher Melanie Gettins turned a nice double play to end the inning and limit the damage. After Oklahoma took a 3-0 lead, Iona scored their first ever NCAA Tournament run when Eileen McCann singled home Chelsea Sheehan, who had led off the 3rd inning with a walk. The Gaels did subsequently load the bases in that inning, but could score no more. And that was as close as Iona would get. But as I said, they were within striking distance until the bottom of the 6th. However, Oklahoma starter Keilani Ricketts struck out an astounding 19 batters.

Iona will face Missouri State Saturday at 4:30 EDT in an elimination game. Missouri State had a surprising game against Tulsa, knocking starter Aimee Creger and her 0.79 ERA out of the game. But the Bears did lose 9-7. So the Gaels better be ready for a competitive game. If Iona should win, they would then play the loser of the Tulsa/Oklahoma game.

Norman Regional Media Information

Watch and listen to Iona's game vs. Oklahoma at the Norman Regional here:


Iona Head Coach Roni Rivera's press conference:


Coach Rivera references Iona's upset win at Hawai'i earlier this season. The Gaels will be looking for a repeat of that great performance by Sarah Jackson; she is certainly capable of it and I'm sure believes she can do it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Healy And Minice Honored As NFCA All-Region

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association today named Niagara's Teresa Healy and Fairfield's Sarah Minice as NFCA All-Stars.

Teresa, the MAAC's 2011 and 2010 Player Of The Year, was named to the Great Lakes Region Second Team. At present, she is the conference's leader in batting average (.425) and home runs (12). She is third in RBIs (39).

Sarah, the MAAC's 2011 and 2009 Pitcher Of The Year, was named to the Northeast Region Second Team. She currently leads the conference in ERA (1.58) and wins (18).

Congratulations to Teresa Healy And Sarah Minice for closing out great MAAC careers!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Development At Norman Regional

I just learned that Missouri State's ace pitcher, Natalie Rose, has been declared academically ineligible and will not be permitted to play in the upcoming National tournament.
She had pitched the bulk of games this season for Missouri State, and done very well, posting a 2.11 ERA and winning 22 games.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Katie Gruarin Signs With Niagara

Niagara-Wheatfield High School (Sanborn, NY) outfielder Katie Gruarin has signed a National Letter Of Intent to play softball at Niagara University beginning with the 2012 season. Katie is a versatile batter, who can bunt or hit away. Her high school coach calls her a leader and hard worker.

Gruarin...will take the short drive to Monteagle Ridge this fall to play softball for the Purple Eagles. Providing fuel to the “nature over nurture” camp, the Falcons senior said she too fell in love with her chosen school’s campus and is excited to be a Purple Eagle.

It also helps, she added, that purple is her favorite color.

“I love the campus there,” Gruarin said. “It’s small and they have my major, I want to go for biochemistry.”

While her brother Chris sided with Canisius in the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ Gruarin said the Purple Eagles softball team made Niagara feel like home.

“When I stayed over there everyone was so nice,” she said. “They made me feel like I belong there.

Photo courtesy of Dan Cappellazzo and the Niagara Gazette

Norman , OK Regional

#15 Oklahoma Sooners

Big 12 Conference
2011 Record: 38-16
Leading Hitter: Destinee Martinez (.365)
Leading Pitcher: Keilani Ricketts (25-12; 1.45 ERA)
Notes: Mercy ruled #10 Arizona

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Conference USA
2011 Record: 43-13
Leading Hitter: Caitlin Everett (.407; 32 SB)
Leading Pitcher: Aimee Creger (24-2; 0.79 ERA)
Notes: Aimee Creger has 2nd best ERA in the nation. Tulsa defeated Oklahoma in 2009 Norman Regional.

Missouri State Bears

Missouri Valley Conference
2011 Record: 29-23
Leading Hitter: Kirstin Cutter (.307)
Leading Pitcher: Natalie Rose (22-19; 2.11 ERA)
Notes: Lost a close 1-0 game to Oklahoma in Norman earlier this season, in which Natalie Rose threw a 3 hitter and struck out 9.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Iona Will Play In Norman Regional

The Gaels will be playing in the Norman, OK Regional against:
Oklahoma, Missouri State and Tulsa.
Iona will open against #15 Oklahoma.

Corinne Schaus Signs With Canisius

Corinne Schaus of Naples, FL has signed a National Letter Of Intent to play softball at Canisius College beginning with the 2012 season. Corinne is a pitcher at Barron Collier High School, where she was an All-Florida State selection. She recently beat perennial national power Naples High School in a Florida Regional playoff.

Melanie Kalesse Commits To Siena

Melanie is a shortstop, currently in her junior year at Nazareth Academy High School in Philadelphia, PA. She also plays for the New Jersey Breakers, and has played for the Philadelphia Spirit. Melanie will join the Saints beginning with the 2013 season.

*Signed 11/11 - http://www.bsmphilly.com/sports/4186-quite-a-catch.html

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Championship Saturday Notes

A couple points I wanted to bring up that may be lost in the excitement.
The 7th inning at bats by Iona's Melanie Gettins and Chelsea Sheehan were epic. They both came up with one out, and with two strikes against fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch. They both ended up reaching base after many pitches. An inch the other way, and it could have been a 1-2-3 inning. Chelsea Sheehan has been the hottest hitter in the MAAC as of late.

And let's hear it for Fairfield freshman pitcher Rebecca Trott. She was magnificient---throwing 10 1/3 innings of 2 hit, shutout ball. She had the Gaels befuddled, and seemed destined for a story book ending. But she was relieved in game two holding the lead. Tough loss for the Stags, but looks like they found their pitcher of the future.

With the sweep, Iona became only the second MAAC team to emerge victorious out of the losers bracket. Canisius had been the only team to have done that, accomplishing the feat three times.

Eileen Is Back!

It had been a frustrating season for 2010 All-MAAC first teamer Eileen McCann, who battled a foot injury in 2011, but she shook that off with her dramatic game one three run blast. That home run set the tone for the day, and lifted Iona to the Championship of the MAAC.

Iona Wins MAAC Championship

Iona 4
Fairfield 0

Iona 4
Fairfield 2

Just in...

The Iona Gaels successfully defended their MAAC title Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY by defeating the Fairfield Stags twice.

The Iona Gaels became only the fourth team to emerge from the losers bracket to win the MAAC Championship by sweeping Fairfield. The story in game one was Eileen McCann's 3 run homer in the 1st inning, followed by a solo homer off the bat of Alyssa Maiese that gave Iona a 4-0 win. Sarah Jackson struck out 12 in the game. But the real story was the ineffectiveness of Fairfield's Sarah Minice, who was pulled after two innings of game one, and did not reappear until the 6th inning of game two. Freshman Rebecca Trott performed heroically, completely shutting down the Gaels for 10.1 innings, allowing only two hits. Then Fairfield Coach Brzezinski inexplicably pulled her out of game two in the 6th inning with the Stags leading 2-0 and in total control. This move, oddly enough, cost the Stags the Championship. Who would have ever thought that? Sarah Minice surrendered 4 runs in the top of the 7th inning, and ended up losing both games. Deanne Algeo singled home two runs, the tying and winning runs, in that inning to give Iona the dramatic comeback victory.

Iona will find out Sunday where and who they will play in the NCAA Tournament.

Iona Forces Second Game

Just in...
Iona defeated Fairfield 4-0, thanks to Eileen McCann's three run home run...
Game two will decide the MAAC Champion, and will begin shortly.

MAAC Stars Of The Year*

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Year, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Year

Shannon Jones, Siena Saints

Shannon finished second in the MAAC with a .416 average; she hit .413 in conference games. She currently leads the conference in RBIs, and finished first in conference games RBIs. She was second in the conference with a .723 slugging percentage. She also hit 10 home runs, and had a .962 fielding percentage at shortstop. Shannon was chiefly responsible for lifting Siena to a new level. She is a dangerous hitter, who even the best pitchers often avoid.

Pitcher Of The Year

Sarah Minice, Fairfield Stags

The numbers speak for themselves---1.28 ERA; and an incredible 0.56 in conference games. A current record of 18-8. Sarah in her senior senior season has led a team of mostly freshmen into the championship game. She has lost only one MAAC game, and that by a 1-0 score. Totally dominant in the conference.

Freshman Of The Year

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints

How the MAAC coaches left Jessika-Jo off their All-MAAC teams is beyond comprehension. Maybe they were too busy voting for 5-21 pitchers and .254 hitters! J-J had an epic freshman season, batting .387, third best in the conference. She led the conference with a .532 on base percentage, and had a knack for getting on and scoring at crucial times. She also did very well in the circle, setting a Siena record with 12 wins. She finished with a 2.99 ERA.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Fairfield And Iona For All The Marbles

Our 2011 MAAC season has come down to this---the #1 Stags vs. the #4 Gaels for the Championship of the MAAC.

Iona must beat Fairfield twice on Saturday to win the Championship, meaning they must beat Pitcher Of The Year Sarah Minice twice. This will be the senior's last and best chance to win the MAAC, and you can bet she'll be firing on all cylinders trying to get her team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. But if anyone could beat her twice, it would be 2010 Pitcher Of The Year Sarah Jackson and the defending Champion Iona Gaels. Iona Coach Roni Rivera has an interesting choice to make. The Gaels must win twice on the final day, something that has been done only three times in MAAC history, and the question is: does she go with Sarah Jackson for both games? She did start Alyssa Maiese in the first game today, against Manhattan, and it worked out, with a well rested Sarah Jackson pitching the second game. But the Gaels had to come back twice to win that game, something that would not be easy to do against Sarah Minice. The whole season comes down to Saturday, so I see Coach Rivera starting Sarah Jackson in game one and going with what brought her there. As for Fairfield, keep in mind that Sarah Minice in the 2009 tournament pitched a 16 inning game, not to mention last season when she pitched and won both games of a doubleheader at Niagara in a must win situation.

The weather has been very good in Poughkeepsie, and Saturday's forecast calls for a very slight chance of rain with 70 for the high temperature. Game time is noon EDT.

MAAC Players Of The Year

Player Of The Year

Teresa Healy, Niagara Purple Eagles

Pitcher Of The Year

Sarah Minice, Fairfield Stags

Rookie Of The Year

Lauren Liseth, Fairfield Stags

Coach Of The Year

Joe Ausanio, Marist Red Foxes

Gaels Advance To Championship Saturday

Sarah Jackson threw a one hitter

Iona 9
Marist 0

The Iona Gaels eliminated Marist and advanced out of the losers bracket Friday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Sarah Jackson breezed through Iona's second game of the day with a 9-0 win over the Red Foxes; she struck out 6 while allowing only one hit. Iona had a big 3rd inning, highlighted by Melanie Gettins' 3 run home run. Katie Jansson doubled home a pair before that, and Iona had a 5-0 lead. Chelsea Sheehan capped off a great Friday by hitting a 3 run homer in the 7th inning.

Iona will now play #1 Fairfield Saturday for the MAAC Championship. They will have to beat the Stags twice to win it all. Marist ends their dream season with a 33-22 season; they won 23 more games than they did in 2010.

Iona Eliminates Manhattan

Chelsea Sheehan scored the winning run in the bottom of the 7th

Iona 4
Manhattan 3

The Iona Gaels edged the Manhattan Lady Jaspers 4-3 in an elimination game at the MAAC Championship Friday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Gaels took a chance by not starting Sarah Jackson in this game, hoping to save her for further action, and it paid off. Actually, Sarah closed out this game to pick up the win, but Alyssa Maiese kept the Gaels close and helped them offensively to come from behind. Manhattan took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning when a two out single by Jen Keller scored Nicole Michel and Melissa Donnelly. The Gaels responded immediately in the bottom of the same inning; first with a Katie Jansson homer to center field, then with a two out Chelsea Sheehan single that scored Allyssa James, who was on 2nd base after a single and wild pitch. The game remained tied until the top of the 5th inning when Monica Evangelista singled home Erika Sullivan to give the Lady Jaspers the lead again, 3-2. Alyssa Maiese tied the game in the bottom of the 6th inning with a big homer over the center field fence, her 11th of the season. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with the game tied 3-3, an error by Manhattan shortstop Melissa Donnelly allowed Chelsea Sheehan to cross the plate with the winning run.

Manhattan ends their season with a record of 25-23. Iona will now play an elimination game against Marist today.

Fairfield Advances To Championship Saturday

Lauren Liseth's two run homer paced the Stags

Fairfield 3
Marist 2

The Fairfield Stags advanced to the championship round of the MAAC Tournament with a 3-2 win over the Marist Red Foxes Friday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Fairfield put themselves in the driver's seat with a one run victory; they were never behind in this game. The Stags jumped in front early when MAAC Rookie Of The Year Lauren Liseth drove an Emily Osterhaus pitch over the center field fence after a Mikayla Shumate single in the 1st inning. Just another in a long line of big hits for Lauren; but it was certainly her biggest thus far. Marist did come back to tie the game in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Ashley Corriss doubled home Haley Birnbaum, then a sacrifice fly off the bat of Sarah Carmody scored Caitlin Schell and it was a 2-2 game. The Stags would take the lead for good in the top of the 4th inning however when a two out single by Laura Carta scored Kristina Lingo, who had led off with a single. Marist would place base runners in every inning for the rest of the game, but could not score on Fairfield starter Sarah Minice, who struck out 7 Red Foxes. Mikayla Shumate was 3 for 4 in this game.

So the Stags advance to Championship Saturday, where they will have two chances to win one game for the MAAC title. Marist will play the winner of the Iona-Manhattan game later today.

Blogger Crashed

Blogger suffered a major crash yesterday; it happened at, unfortunately, the worst time possible for us. Hopefully, it's back to normal now.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Battle Of The Sarahs Part Two

Sarah Minice struck out 6

Fairfield 2
Iona 1

A predictable pitchers' duel was the story in the day one match up between Fairfield and Iona; the Stags advance to the winners bracket with a 2-1 win Thursday at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The top two pitchers in the conference faced off in a crucial MAAC Tournament game, and once again senior Sarah Minice prevailed. It was a very close game though. Alyssa Maiese stunned the Stags in the top of the 2nd inning when she launched a bomb over the center field fence. It was her 10th homer of the season, and gave the Gaels a 1-0 lead. After that, neither team had many serious chances to score, but the Stags capitalized in the bottom of the 4th inning. Kristen Filicia opened the frame with a single, and was sacrificed to 2nd base base by Mikayla Shumate. A costly throwing error by shortstop Deanne Algeo then moved her to 3rd base. A ground out by Kristina Lingo scored Kristen with the tying run; a throwing error by first baseman Allyssa James moved Lauren Liseth to 3rd base. Lauren scored the go ahead run on an Alli Wigand suicide squeeze bunt. Iona did get a runner to third base in the top of the 5th inning, but from that point onward, Sarah Minice shut the door, retiring the final 7 batters she faced. Sarah Jackson struck out 7 for Iona. Each team had only 3 hits in this game.

Fairfield moves on to the winners bracket Friday morning against Marist. Iona will then play in the losers bracket against Manhattan. The loser of the first game, and the winner of the second game will then play for the right to advance to Championship Saturday.

Red Foxes Advance To Winners Bracket

Two RBIs and the game winning run for Aly Klemmer

Marist 4

Manhattan 3

A pair of 7th inning, 2 out errors cost Manhattan dearly and the host Marist Red Foxes advanced to the winner's bracket with a 4-3 win Thursday at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.

It finally looked liked softball weather in the northeast as the 2011 MAAC Championship got underway. Ashley Corriss opened the game for Marist with a single in the top of the 1st inning, and was sent home by Aly Klemmer's 2 out single to center field, giving the Red Foxes the early 1-0 lead. The Lady Jaspers responded in the bottom of the same inning when Jaci Rahey launched a homer over the center field fence to tie the game. The Red Foxes jumped back in front with a pair of runs in the top of the 3rd inning. After Sarah Carmody and Nicole DiVirgilio opened the inning with singles, an Aly Klemmer ground ball scored pinch runner Nicole Van Loan; then a Danielle Koltz sacrifice fly sent home Nicole DiVirgilio, and Marist was in the lead 3-1. The LJs cut that lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the 6th inning when Nicole Michel singled home Melissa Donnelly, who had doubled. Then in the top of the 7th inning, after Manhattan had recorded two outs, errors by Amanda Babcock and Jaci Rahey led to Aly Klemmer scoring and a 4-2 lead for Marist. The Red Foxes had no hits in the inning. A one out homer by Jaci Rahey gave the LJs some hope in the bottom of the 7th, but Marist starter Emily Osterhaus retired the final two batters to secure the win. Melissa Donnelly pitched the first 5 innings for Manhattan, before being relieved by Ashley Rampino.

The Red Foxes now await the winner of the Fairfield-Iona game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

ALL-MAAC 2011*

*Not the official all-MAAC team, but as chosen by this blog

Sarah Minice, Fairfield Stags

16-8; 1.26 ERA

Becky Zill, Niagara Purple Eagles

.344; 12 HR; 35 RBIs

First Base
Nicole DiVirgilio, Marist Red Foxes

.348; 5 HR; 40 RBIs

Second Base
Teresa Healy, Niagara Purple Eagles

.425; 12 HR; 39 RBIs

Shannon Jones, Siena Saints

.416; 10 HR; 43 RBIs

Third Base
Alli Wigand, Fairfield Stags

.299; 28 RBIs

Lauren Hope, Canisius Golden Griffins

.372; 24 SB; 5 Triples

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints

.387; .532 OBP

Ashley Corriss, Marist Red Foxes

.279; 43 Runs

Designated Player
Alyssa Maiese, Iona Gaels

.391; 9 HR; 34 RBIs

Lauren Liseth, Fairfield Stags

.315; 6 HR; 32 RBIs

Lyndsey McKeever On Siena's Resurgence

Siena SID Andrew Champagne sits down with the Saints' Lyndsey McKeever to speak about Siena softball and the future.
The Saints narrowly missed the MAAC tournament this season, but they are a well coached team with great young players. I will be telling you about some new players who have committed to the Saints after the season wraps up.

Interview is about 3 minutes in

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 5/9/11

*Not the official MAAC Players Of The Week, but as chosen by this blog

Player Of The Week

Lauren Hope, Canisius Golden Griffins

Lauren broke the all-time MAAC record for career stolen bases when she stole six bases in a game against Rider, which was also a MAAC record. She hit .500 this past week.

Pitcher Of The Week

Erika Sullivan, Manhattan Lady Jaspers

Erika won two MAAC games this past week, including a one hitter at Iona.

Freshman Of the Week

Katie Bowen, Manhattan Lady Jaspers

Katie delivered the winning hit against Iona in extra innings, helping her team gain 2nd place in the conference. She hit .625 this past week, with four RBIs.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fairfield And Marist Split; Stags Earn #1 Seed

Emily Osterhaus became the only MAAC pitcher to beat Sarah Minice in 2011

Marist 1
Fairfield 0

Fairfield 4
Marist 1

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

The Fairfield Stags won the regular season title when they split a doubleheader with Marist Sunday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

It was a battle for first place Sunday on the field that will host the upcoming MAAC Championship. Fairfield needed one win to take the number one seed, and started Sarah Minice in the first game. Sarah pitched her typical great game, allowing only two hits while striking out 8. But Emily Osterhaus was better this day. Emily probably pitched the best game of her young career thus far, shutting out the first place Stags , scattering 5 hits and striking out 8. And she needed to shut down the Stags, because only one run was scored in this game. That came in the 5th inning when a two out walk to surprise starter Nicole Van Loan gave Ashley Corriss the opportunity to drive home Christina Lausch for a 1-0 Marist lead. Emily Osterhaus breezed through the final two innings for her 14th win of the season. Emily went toe to toe with the best pitcher in the conference, and won. And don't forget, she also has a victory over Sarah Jackson under her belt. How's that for mixed metaphors!

So it became a one game showdown---winner takes first place. Marist went with Emily Osterhaus again, while Fairfield started Rae Ball. Rae pitched four solid innings, allowing only a run, then gave way to Sarah Minice who shut the door for the final three innings. The Stags took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning thanks to Tiffany Lawson and Laura Carta RBI singles. Marist halved the Fairfield lead in the bottom of the 5th inning when Christina Lausch doubled home Caitlin Schell, who had walked. At this point Sarah Minice entered the game, and it was lights out. RBI singles by Kristina Lingo in the 6th, and Rae Ball in the 7th provided the final margin of 4-1. Rae Ball earned the win; Sarah Minice picked up the save. The loss went to Emily Osterhaus, who pitched 2 1/3 innings.

So Fairfield is the number one seed; Marist number three. It has been a dream season for the Red Foxes, and it continues on their home field. Sarah Minice and the Fairfield freshmen answered a lot of preseason questions with their great regular season performance. Great chance of these teams meeting again, perhaps for all the marbles.

Jessika-Jo Sandrini Sets Siena Record

This photo is Jessika-Jo during her Adna High years, but I really like it, and this is what MAAC batters will have to face the next three seasons.
With her win at St. Peter's Sunday, Jessika-Jo set the all-time Siena record for wins; she did that as a freshman. She has been instrumental in changing the face of Siena softball; she and Shannon Jones will make a formidable 1-2 punch for the next two seasons.
Jessika-Jo is the leading candidate for MAAC Rookie Of The Year, as she also batted .387 this season, including a .532 on base percentage.
I told you about her back in 2009; now I'll tell you that J-J is going to burn up the MAAC in coming seasons, and Siena will make the tournament next year!

Lady Jaspers Sweep Iona; Grab # 2 Seed

Erika Sullivan tossed a one hitter

Manhattan 3
Iona 2 (8)

Manhattan 3
Iona 0

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

Manhattan got great pitching and a 4 RBI performance by freshman Katie Bowen to sweep Iona Sunday in New Rochelle, NY.

After giving up 13 runs to St. Peter's on Saturday, the Lady Jaspers came back Sunday with stellar pitching and finished in 2nd place with the sweep. Game one matched Melissa Donnelly against the Gaels' Sarah Jackson, and had to be decided in extra innings. Iona took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 4th inning when Chelsea Sheehan singled home Katie Jansson. Chelsea has been very hot at the plate as the season winds down. The Lady Jaspers made it a tie game in the top of the 6th inning when a Nicole Michel single scored Monica Evangelista. Then it was off to extra innings. Manhattan took a 2 run lead in the 8th when Katie Bowen's two out single scored Melissa Donnelly and pinch runner Amanda Berrios. Katie has won games many times this, her freshman, season, and is a prime candidate for MAAC Rookie Of The Year. A one out homer by Jodi Petersen in the bottom of the 8th pulled the Gaels to within 3-2, but Melissa Donnelly retired the final two batters for the win. The senior pitched well down the stretch last season as well. Sarah Jackson struck out four in the loss.

Game two became essentially "who would not have to face Sarah Minice in the first round". Manhattan's senior Erika Sullivan was brilliant, one hitting the Gaels and walking only one, as is her fashion. Manhattan jumped in front in the 1st inning after a Melissa Donnelly single scored Kristina Walraven. They took a 2-0 lead in the 4th inning when Nicole Michel opened with a triple and was sent home by a Katie Bowen single. In the 7th, Katie drove home her 4th run of the day for a 3-0 final. Alyssa Maiese struck out 5 for Iona.

You'll notice that Manhattan's eight seniors have really picked up their play after a slow start. They have a lot of tournament experience. Iona, as defending champs, have that experience also. The Gaels will be the # 4 seed. These were intense games, and perhaps a preview of a great MAAC Tournament.

Marist And Fairfield Playing For #1 Seed

Erika Sullivan one hits Iona to complete the sweep and the seeds are set. More later...
If Manhattan wins, they finish 2nd; Iona 4th. If Iona wins, they finish 3rd; Manhattan 4th. Manhattan is up 2-0 in the 4th; the loser of this game will have to open against Sarah Minice and the Stags......
Fairfield wins 4-1 and finish in the top spot...
Fairfield leads Marist 4-1 headed to the bottom of the 7th...
Kristina Lingo singles home Lauren Liseth who had doubled. Stags up 3-1 headed to the bottom of the 6th...
Sarah ends the inning, and Fairfield leads Marist 2-1 after 5...
Sarah Minice relieves Rae Ball with the tying run on 3rd in the 5th inning...
Marist has cut the Stags' lead to 2-1...
Winner of Marist-Fairfield finishes in first. If Manhattan wins second game at Iona, they finish second. If Iona wins the second game, Gaels finish in third...
Manhattan beats Iona 3-2 in 8 innings...
Jodi Petersen homer in bottom of 8th-Manhattan 3 Iona 2, 1 out...
Fairfield up on Marist 2-0 in the 3rd...
Manhattan's Katie Bowen just singled home 2 runs in the top of the 8th inning to give the LJs a 3-1 lead over Iona.
The luck of the schedule has pitted the four qualifiers against one another on the final day of the regular season. If this is a preview of the tournament, it should be a very good one.

Just in...
Marist has become the first MAAC team to defeat Sarah Minice, but it wasn't easy as they come away with a 1-0 win.
Both teams are now 12-3, and have just begun game two of their doubleheader. Winner takes first place.
More later...

Manhattan Softball Senior Memories

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Lauren Hope ended her career by becoming the All-Time MAAC theft Queen

Rider 4
Canisius 3

Canisius 13
Rider 3 (6)

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

Lauren Hope made MAAC history in Lawrenceville, NJ Saturday when she stole 3rd base in the first inning of the first game of the doubleheader between her Canisius Golden Griffins and Rider. It was the 113th stolen base of her career, topping the mark of 112 set by Ellen Sarosy at Fairfield in 2003. Lauren stole an incredible 6 bases in the game, a Canisius record and one shy of the National record, leaving her mark as the best base runner the MAAC has ever seen. For the second time this season, she stole home by catching a pitcher asleep. She has been consistently ranked in the nation's top 20 during her career as well.

As for the games---they didn't mean much, with both teams eliminated from post season play. But Rider picked up their second MAAC win of the season in game one behind the pitching of Rachael Matreale, who has pitched well all season. She got a little support today.
Game two saw Canisius freshman Jen Consaul improve her MAAC record to 5-1; 8-3 overall. Stephanie Pfentner hit a three run homer in this one.

Both teams ended their seasons today. And of note: this was only the second time ever that Canisius has not qualified for the MAAC tournament. It was also only the fourth losing season in their 32 year history.

LJs Sweep St. Peter's; Clinch Spot In Tournament

Nicole Michel's dramatic 7th inning homer won game two

Manhattan 9
St. Peter's 0 (5)

Manhattan 14
St. Peter's 13

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

Saturday in Riverdale, NY saw the Manhattan Lady Jaspers clinch a berth in the MAAC tournament with their sweep of St. Peter's.

Manhattan clinched their spot when they run ruled St. Peter's in game one. And they scored all 9 runs in the 1st inning, thanks to homers by Monica Evangelista, Jaci Rahey and Jen Keller. But I'd really rather talk about the very strange game two!

What in the world did the Peahens eat as a snack between games? Maybe they were just sick and tired of being run ruled all the time. At any rate, they stunned the LJs by jumping out to a 10-4 lead after 1 1/2 innings. The Peahens put up 8 runs in the 2nd inning, highlighted by a Vanessa Acosta 3 run blast over the left field wall. Manhattan would then begin to chip away at this lead, and found themselves back to within 10-9 after three innings. Katie Bowen gave the LJs the lead in the 5th inning with a two run single. This lead was increased to 12-10 after Melissa Donnelly doubled home Katie. Manhattan could then relax...not! The Peahens came storming back, scoring three times in the final two innings to take a 13-12 lead. A Kristen Kaneyuki singled tied the game at 12-12 in the 6th; then Erica Colon put the Peahens on top in the top of the 7th when Manhattan pitcher Erika Sullivan threw the ball away allowing Erica to score from 3rd base.
Manhattan began the bottom of the 7th with a Jaci Rahey single; but the next batter, Katie Bowen, lined into a double play, and suddenly the LJs were down to their final out. Melissa Donnelly kept things alive with a single; then Nicole Michel ended the game in dramatic fashion with her homer over the center field wall. Stephanie Gilronan and Alexis Gallagher both had two hits and three runs for the Peahens.

St. Peter's will close their season Sunday when they host Siena.
Manhattan travels to Iona, where the two tournament bound teams will fight for a chance at second place in the conference.