Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012 MAAC Softball Preview---Canisius Golden Griffins

A healthy Caroline Main gives Canisius hope

The Canisius Golden Griffins suffered only their third losing season in team history in 2011, and look to rebound their way back into the MAAC Tournament.

Although they led the MAAC in hitting last season, injuries and sub par pitching made for a disappointing year for the Golden Griffins. This season they will pin their hopes on a healthy Caroline Main. The senior pitcher was All-MAAC in 2010, but did not fully recover from the injury she suffered in that season's tournament. She's back at 100%, and a return to form would make Canisius a contender in 2012.

As for the rest of their pitching staff, junior Amanda Baun slumped in '11 after an All-MAAC freshman season. The Griffs hope to see a return to the form that saw her set a team record for wins by a freshman. Sophomore Jen Consaul was thrown into the fire quickly last year, and responded with a 5-1 record and 2.05 ERA in conference games. Canisius will throw all three pitchers in some combination during MAAC season. Freshman Corinne Schaus, an All-Florida State High School pitcher, may not get her chance until next season to break into the rotation.

Offensively, Canisius had a very good season in '11, leading the MAAC with a .302 team average. The Griffs will once again be a fast running team, led by senior center fielder Lizzy Gatto, who was a perfect 21-21 in stolen bases last season. Senior right fielder Lauren Falzone had a breakout season, hitting .351. She will replace the departed Lauren Hope as the Griffs' leadoff hitter.

Canisius will have two new players at the infield corners who will have the job of replacing departed All-MAACers. Sophomore Val Nappo spent her freshman season in the outfield, but will now take her place at her natural position of first base. Val finished 2011 at .272, but hit .359 in MAAC games. A freshman, Robin Kennery, will take over at third base. Robin was the best Canisius hitter this past fall.

The Griffs may have the best middle infield in the MAAC, with senior shortstop Katie Lancellotti and junior second baseman Katie Medina committing only two errors total last year. Behind the plate, junior Stephanie Pfentner and freshman Sonia Aguilar will alternate between catcher and designated player. Both players have a lot of power; Stephanie led the Golden Griffins in home runs last season, belting 7 over the fence.

Canisius can hit and field with the MAAC's best, so it's very easy to analyze them---if their pitchers play up to their known potential, they will be in the thick of things again. The Golden Griffins open their season February 10 at East Carolina's Pirate Classic.

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