Thursday, February 28, 2013

Manhattan And Marist Open Seasons This Weekend

Dani Kolz was named co-captain of Marist, along with Emily Osterhaus. The Red Foxes open their season on Saturday.
The final two teams to begin their season get into action this weekend. Manhattan was originally scheduled to begin play last week, but weather issues forced them to cancel. They have added three games to their schedule, and will travel south to play a single game at Liberty on Saturday, and a doubleheader at Elon on Sunday.

Marist will open their season on Saturday when they begin play at the Spartan Classic hosted by Norfolk State. Aside from playing the host school, the Red Foxes will also meet Delaware and Army.

Elsewhere in the MAAC this weekend, Niagara is headed to Florida, and will play a doubleheader at Stetson on Friday. They will then play a doubleheader at Bethune-Cookman on Sunday. Iona will be at the Towson Invitational, with games against the host Tigers, Columbia and Lehigh. Rider will get back into the swing of things at the Patriot Classic, where they will play host George Mason, Cornell and Rutgers. St. Peter's will be on the field at the Retriever Classic, and will play host Maryland-Baltimore County, Coppin State and St. Francis.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 2/26/13

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

Player Of The Week

Lauren Liseth, Fairfield Stags

Lauren began her junior season on fire, hitting for a .750 average over the past weekend. She also slugged four home runs and 11 RBIs.

Pitcher Of The Week

Jen Consaul, Canisius Golden Griffins

Appearing in all four of the Golden Griffins' games this past weekend, Jen had a 2-0 record with a 0.77 ERA. She also struck out 23 batters in 18 innings pitched.

Co-Freshmen Of The Week

Tori Nappo, Canisius Golden Griffins

Tori hit .429 and drove home seven runs over this past weekend.

Bethany DeMarco, Canisius Golden Griffins

Bethany hit .500 and drove home five runs over this past weekend.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Golden Griffins Continue Hot Streak

Robin Kennery was 4 for 8 with 4 RBIs Monday
Canisius 9
St. Francis 3

Canisius 7

The Canisius Golden Griffins improved their record to 7-1 with two more wins Monday at the weather delayed North Carolina A&T tournament in Greensboro, NC.

The Golden Griffins continued to roll out the offense today, striking for 22 hits in a pair of wins. In their rematch with St. Francis, they jumped to a first inning 4-0 lead when Michelle DelPrince's triple drove home Meghan Cuda, and the Nappo sisters both doubled (Val one RBI; Tori two).  Val added another RBI and Michelle DelPrince scored after an error in the fifth inning for a 6-2 lead. Robin Kennery's two run double; and Marissa Miller's solo home run made the final score 9-3. Jen Consaul earned her fourth win of the season with a complete game that included eight strikeouts.

The Griffs' second game of the day, against Maryland-Eastern Shore, was more of the same. They went on top 3-0 in the third inning thanks to RBIs by Robin Kennery, Marissa Miller and Tori Nappo. Tori then drove home her fourth run of the day in the fifth inning; Robin Kennery and Stephanie Pfentner added RBIs in the sixth to put Canisius up 7-1. Amanda Baun improved her record to 3-0, going six innings, and allowing one run. Stephanie Pfentner was 3 for 3 in the game, raising her average to .632. The Golden Griffins were 4-0 at this tournament, and are enjoying their best start since 1994.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

MAAC Softball Sunday

Jen Consaul threw 10 shutout innings for Canisius Sunday
It was a busy day for the MAAC Sunday, including a couple of blowout wins, and a couple of heartbreaking losses.

Canisius was the only team that got wins today, and they outscored their opponents by 22-4. Their first game of the day was against St. Francis, a 10-4 win. The Golden Griffins jumped ahead early in this one, then busted a tie wide open late. Freshman Bethany DeMarco had a great game, hitting 3 for 4 while driving home four runs. Fellow freshman Tori Nappo was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Erica Afanador, Meghan Cuda and Robin Kennery also drove home runs. Amanda Baun improved her record to 3-0, with three of the St. Francis runs unearned due to three Canisius errors.
The Griffs then romped over host North Carolina A&T in a game that was decided early, and ended in a 12-0 score. Robin Kennery was a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate, with three RBIs. Michelle DelPrince went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. Tori Nappo drove home a pair, giving her four RBIs on the day; and Bethany DeMarco drove home her fifth run of the day.   All told, the Golden Griffins pounded out 16 hits. Jen Consaul threw a complete game two hitter for the win; and pitched ten shutout innings on the day. Stephanie Pfentner was 3 for 6 on the day. Canisius is now 5-1.

Fairfield played one game today, against the Big East's Notre Dame. And yes, Lauren Liseth did knock another homer out of the park, her fourth of the young season. The Irish walked her twice to prevent that from happening again. Becca Trott started for the Stags, and after giving up a pair of runs in the first inning, had the Irish on the ropes, and her team in front 4-2 . But she was inexplicably relieved of duty, and Notre Dame came back to win 5-4, hitting a pair of homers in the bottom of the seventh inning for a walk off win. It would have been a huge win for the Stags; but they did have a good opening weekend, ending it at 2-2.

After giving up 34 hits in yesterday's doubleheader at East Tennessee State, the Siena Saints started their game with the Bucs today with an eye toward cleaning up their game. And they did, first by roaring out of the gate with four runs in their first at bats. Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Alyssa Lancaster and Meg Volz all drove home runs in the four hit attack. J-J also scored on a wild pitch. Jessika-Jo was in the circle again, and this time she stymied ETSU through six innings, holding them to just two hits. It was quite a different story from the previous day, when the Bucs hit at will. But ETSU came back with five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win, even after having a runner thrown out at home. They got the winner with two outs to add to the misery. Tough loss for the Saints, but they showed their true game Sunday, and I think with more work they'll be fine. Shake it off, and get back out there.

Iona played a couple of very good opponents Sunday, losing twice. They were never in their game with Iowa State, losing 11-1 in five innings. It was a different story against host North Carolina however. Although they lost 6-2, they were certainly in the game, loading the bases twice, including late in the game with their power hitters taking swings. But it was not to be. Eileen McCann clubbed a homer in the game; Bri Schauer and Jodi Petersen each had two hits.

St. Peter's continued to struggle in the pitcher's circle, losing 12-2 to Temple. The Peahens did get solid pitching through the game's first two innings, but the Owls put up 11 in the third, and those big innings have been demoralizing to the Peahens' young, talented hitters. Sierra Parker was 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs in this one.

The weekend actually is not over, as Canisius will play two more games on Monday in the delayed North Carolina A&T Tournament.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spank Or Be Spanked

Lauren Liseth keeps spanking the ball out of the park!
There seemed to be no middle ground for MAAC teams playing Saturday.  They were either packing wallops or being walloped. Fairfield simply continued the tear they were on from last night's epic seventh inning vs. East Carolina, tonight whipping Liberty 12-2 in a revenge match. Lauren Liseth had another incredible game, hitting home runs in the second and fifth innings. She finished with five RBIs. Also for the Stags, Sam Frungillo hit a two run double; Sammy Ruffolo hit an RBI triple; Kristen Filicia and Mikayla Shumate also drove home runs. Rae Ball earned the win. The Stags are now 2-1, and finish the Pirate Classic with a tough game vs. Notre Dame Sunday morning.

Niagara had a mixed day, beginning with a resounding 9-1 win, coach Ellie Chan's first, over North Carolina Central, which ended in run rule fashion after five innings. The Purple Eagles stormed in front with a seven run second inning. Brittany Richberg led the way with a pair of RBIs. Also driving home runs were Taylor Huenink, Ambur Farmer and Amanda Werth. Jen Sansano earned her first win as a Purple Eagle, tossing a two hitter. Brittany Richberg; Desarae Maldonado; and Gabby Lustrinelli all had a pair of hits. The good feeling from that win was lost when Niagara faced Lipscomb later on and lost 17-1.

Siena opened their 2013 season at East Tennessee State with a doubleheader, losing 12-5 and 10-4. Melanie Kalesse, Jordan Sandrini and Mikaela Searight all recorded their first career hits. The Saints' offense performed fairly well for a first outing, producing nine runs on 16 hits. The pitching simply wasn't there on opening day however. The Saints used three of pitchers, but the results were nearly identical: 17 hits in each game and 22 runs. They need their innings, so they will have to take their lumps, but do so without getting discouraged. The Saints play another game at ETSU Sunday.

St. Peter's was cursed with bad first innings that got them buried in holes they were unable to climb out of. They lost a pair of 10-0 games; one to host Elon, and one to Hampton. The early deluge seemed to put a quick damper on their offense. At press time, they are losing their third game of the day, 12-3 vs. Elon.

Iona had their game rained out Saturday. They will now play two on Sunday. And Canisius also gets in on the action with a couple games.

Friday, February 22, 2013

OMG Fairfield!

Lauren Liseth had a powerful opening day
Liberty 9
Fairfield 8 (8)

Fairfield 14
East Carolina 10

The Fairfield Stags opened their 2013 season by opening up their offense, scoring 22 runs in a pair of games Friday at the Pirate Invitational in Greenville, NC.

I'm going straight to game two. As a matter of fact, I'm going straight to inning seven of game two. This particular inning should make the rest of the MAAC scared; very scared. This was the inning when, against a very good East Carolina pitching staff, and on the Pirates home field, the Stags came from behind blasting ten (10) runs and seemingly scoring at will. It was an awesome spectacle. Too much happened to list it all in detail , but Kimi Kurata gave Fairfield, who entered the inning trailing 6-4, the lead with a two run single. But that wasn't all. Lauren Liseth hit an epic blast over the left field fence, a grand slam home run, which was actually her second at bat in the inning! (In her first at bat, she singled and scored the Stags' first run of the inning). Kristen Filicia  began the historic inning for Fairfield by striking out; however she made up for it later in the inning with a hit and RBI! Her sister Lauren, playing in her first weekend of games, also drove home a run in the inning. Needless to say the hometown Pirates were stunned, and did attempt a big inning comeback, but fell way short.
Rae Ball had three RBIs; Sam Frungillo, Nicole Capra and Sammy Ruffolo also had RBIs. Taylor August got her first career hit. Becca Trott earned the win, even though she allowed ten runs (eight of them earned).

I had thought the Stags' game vs. Liberty was wild until the aforementioned. But the first game of the day was very entertaining, with Fairfield losing in extra innings, 9-8. Lauren Falkanger made the first start of her career, going 4.1 innings before being relieved by Rae Ball, who took the loss. The Stags pounded out a dozen hits in this one, taking an early lead, then losing it, then tying the game in the sixth inning. It looked as if Fairfield would win in storybook fashion when freshman Lauren Filicia, in her very first career at bat, hit a two out, two run single for an 8-6 lead. But a Liberty homer in the bottom of the same inning ended that dream. Mikayla Shumate and Tiffany Lawson each had three hits in this game. Lauren Liseth and Sammy Ruffolo each had two hits. Lauren was 5 for 7 on the day.

The Stags will have a rematch with Liberty Saturday, weather permitting.

Gaels Put It All Together

Iona 5
George Washington 1

The Iona Gaels used a balance of pitching and hitting to cruise to victory over George Washington Friday at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, NC. Their second game of the day was rained out.

It's George Washington's birthday today, but the Gaels don't care! They never do care about the opposition, and today they put together all the facets of their game for their most impressive win of the young season. Carly Argyle got the start in the circle for Iona, and after allowing a run in the first inning, was shutdown the rest of the way. "Gnarly" Carly would allow only three hits over the game's last six innings, striking out six Colonials along the way. She even helped her own cause offensively, with an RBI double in the sixth inning.  The Gaels pecked away at the GWU pitching until finally tying the game in the fifth inning courtesy of a bases loaded walk. The bases were still loaded, but with two outs, when Ms. Clutch Eileen McCann stepped to the plate and calmly stroked a double to center field for two runs and the lead. This invigorated the Gaels who kept hitting, building a four run lead, against which old George had no chance. Eileen and Bri Schauer were both 2 for 3 in the game.

Iona will play North Dakota State Saturday. Because of the rainout, there could be an added game. Check back for updates.

Niagara Drops A Pair On Opening Day

Desarae Maldonado was 4 for 7 on the day
Tennessee Tech 7
Niagara 4

Ohio 14
Niagara 5 (6)

The Niagara Purple Eagles opened their 2013 with a pair of losses Friday at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, TN.

Niagara got their 2013 feet wet today, and although the second score looks lopsided, they had leads in both of these games before falling at the end. The Purple Eagles built an early 4-0 lead against Tennessee Tech, first by scoring an unearned run in the opening inning. It was Becky Zill's two run blast in the third inning that really got their offense going, and it was going well. A Desarae Maldonado double gave them a 4-0 lead, but it was all Tennessee Tech after that. Junior Jen Sansano made her first start in a Niagara uniform, and breezed through the game's first three innings, holding the Golden Eagles without a hit. But she ran into trouble beginning in the fourth inning;  and although she allowed only six hits, most of them were ill timed.

Niagara fell behind a run early in their game against Ohio, a team enjoying their best start in school history. But they again had a good third inning, scoring three runs to take the lead. A bases load walk to Becky Zill tied the game, and Gabby Lustrinelli's two out single sent two more runs home. A Brittany Richberg double in the fourth inning; and a Katie Gruarin triple in the fifth inning provided runs to keep the score close. But Ohio struck for a dozen runs in the last three innings, ending this one early. Freshman Sydney Smyers made her first college start, and did well for three innings, but I thought she was left in too long. And I don't know why Kim Bryson saw no action; hopefully there is not a physical problem there.

For the day, second baseman Desarae Maldonado hit 4 for 7 , with two doubles and an RBI. Becky Zill had three RBIs. Freshman Becca Saggiomo had her first college hit against Tennessee State. Niagara will play two more Saturday, against North Carolina Central; and Lipscomb.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Schedule Note

The North Carolina A&T tournament is on for Sunday and Monday. Manhattan has dropped out; Canisius will play. St. Peter's will play three games on Saturday.

Some bad weather in the North Carolina area has put a crimp in some MAAC teams' plans.
Manhattan will not open this weekend, canceling their games at the North Carolina A&T tournament. Canisius was scheduled to play in the same tournament, and indicated earlier today that they would be playing on Sunday and Monday, but perhaps that has changed also. No word yet.

Iona is in Chapel Hill, NC to play in UNC's tournament, which began a day early because of weather. The Gaels have not played yet. They will try to play Friday if possible, but there may be...snow (!) in the forecast. [UPDATE: Iona just announced that their Friday games will be played later in the day] And Saturday looks bad. Sunday looks good though, so there may be rescheduling there.

St. Peter's is in Elon, NC for that school's tournament. The Friday games have been moved to Saturday, and the Peahens may (or may not) be playing a tripleheader. Still up in the air.

Fairfield is in Greenville, NC. East Carolina announced earlier today a rescheduling. Lehigh has dropped out, so the Stags will play four games instead of permitting. They will try to go Friday morning

It's not all bad news. this major weather system is currently passing through Chattanooga, TN, where Niagara will open play Friday. They should be clear to get all their games in. As should Siena, who are also in Tennessee.

I will update the weather information as necessary.

Purple Eagles Open Season Friday

The Ellie Chan era of Niagara University softball begins this weekend at the Frost Classic, hosted by Tennessee-Chattanooga. Although the Purple Eagles will not be playing the host school in this large field, they will be playing five games. On Friday they face Tennessee Tech and Ohio, Saturday they will play North Carolina Central and Lipscomb. They wrap up the tournament on Sunday with a game against Northern Kentucky, a team just beginning division 1 play.
The weather looks good in Tennesse this weekend; not so in other locations MAAC teams will be playing. More on that as information is provided.

Stags Open Season This Weekend

The Fairfield Stags begin their quest for a MAAC title beginning this Friday when they travel to Greenville, NC to take part in the Pirate Invitational hosted by East Carolina University. The Stags are scheduled to play Liberty (twice), Lehigh, Notre Dame and the host Pirates.
There may be some weather issues with this tournament, so stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Saints Open Season This Weekend

MAAC softball gets into full swing this coming weekend, with more teams getting in on the action. The Siena Saints begin their season Saturday on Betty Basler Field (pictured above), home of the East Tennessee State Bucs. The two teams will play a series of three games. ETSU has begun their season with a 3-6 record, including wins over Towson, James Madison and Charleston. The Bucs are led by Jackie Baird, who has a .577 average thus far.

As for Siena, Shannon Jones enters her senior season, and the Saints hope she will lead them to the promised land. The MAAC coaches voted Siena to finish in third place in their preseason poll.

Monday, February 18, 2013

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 2/18/13

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

Player Of The Week

Stephanie Pfentner, Canisius Golden Griffins

Stephanie had a scorching opening weekend, hitting .857. She reached base safely in 11 of her 12 plate appearances.

Pitcher Of The Week

Amanda Baun, Canisius Golden Griffins

Amanda was a perfect 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA over the weekend. She also struck out 10 batters.

Freshman Of The Week

Meghan Cuda, Canisius Golden Griffins

Meghan began her college career by batting .400. She also had 10 assists at third base.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Canisius Sweeps Sunday; Take 3 Of 4

Marissa Miller had 4 RBI game
Canisius 4
Bucknell 1

Canisius 10
St. Bonaventure 2

The Canisius Golden Griffins left the CSU Dome Tournament with 3 of 4 games when they beat Bucknell and St. Bonaventure Sunday in Cleveland, OH.

Canisius began Sunday with another fine pitching performance from senior Amanda Baun, who pitched six solid innings in the Golden Griffins' 4-1 win over the Bucknell Bison. Amanda allowed five hits while striking out nine batters, improving her record to 2-0. Bucknell's only run was unearned. Jen Consaul pitched the seventh inning, earning her second save of the season. Tori Nappo's second inning RBI single gave Canisius a 1-0 lead, They increased that lead with a three run fifth inning, thanks to RBIs by Alexis Roman, Val Nappo and Stephanie Pfentner.

Canisius fell behind early in their game against St. Bonaventure, 2-0, but that lead did not hold up long for the Bonnies. The Golden Griffins stormed in front with a four run third inning, and never looked back. Robin Kennery got the onslaught started with a two RBI double, scoring herself after two passed balls. This was followed by Stephanie Pfentner's double, which resulted in another run after Tori Nappo's single. In the fifth inning, redshirt sophomore Marissa Miller increased the Canisius lead with a two run single. Four more runs in the seventh inning completed the blowout with Marissa driving home two more runs, and Erica Afanador smashing a two run homer. Jen Consaul earned her first win of the season, allowing one earned run and five hits while striking out four Bonnies. Stephanie Pfentner was 3 for 3 in the game, completing a weekend that saw her hit 6 for 7 with three walks. Freshman Meghan Cuda was 3 for 4; the Nappo sisters had two hits apiece.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Golden Griffins Split On Opening Day

Amanda Baun allowed just two hits in the win
Canisius 5
St. Bonaventure 2

Cleveland St. 7
Canisius 4

The Canisius Golden Griffins gained a split as they opened their season Saturday at the CSU Dome Tournament in Cleveland, OH.

Canisius was the fourth MAAC team to get into action early this season, and it was in Cleveland of all places that they began play. Safe and warm under the dome that covers Cleveland State's soccer field, the Griffs began the day with a four run second inning against the Bonnies. Three freshmen got their first career hits in that inning as Tori Nappo doubled home a run, followed by an RBI by Alexis Roman that sent Meghan Cuda, who had singled, in to score. Michelle DelPrince continued the attack with a two run single, and Canisius had a 4-0 lead. Michelle would add another RBI in the fourth inning. Canisius starter Amanda Baun cruised through five innings of shutout pitching, allowing just a pair of hits to pick up the win. Jen Consaul relieved her in the sixth inning, allowing two unearned runs by St. Bonaventure, including one scored on an illegal pitch. Meghan Cuda, Stephanie Pfentner and Michelle DelPrince each had a pair of hits.

Canisius jumped in front early, 2-0, in their game against the host Vikings. They scored the runs without benefit of a hit, helped by an error and wild pitch. Cleveland State took the lead for good though with three runs in the fourth inning off of starter Jen Consaul. Corinne Schaus relieved her in the sixth inning, but was not effective, giving up four runs in the final two innings. Val Nappo was 2 for 2 with an RBI for Canisius.

The Golden Griffins continue at the CSU Dome Tournament Sunday with games against Bucknell and St. Bonaventure.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Canisius Opens Season Saturday

The Canisius Golden Griffins begin their 2013 season Saturday when they travel to Cleveland, OH for four games over the weekend. February softball in Cleveland? In the winter, Cleveland State University covers their soccer field with an inflatable dome, and this is where the Vikings will be hosting their CSU Dome Tournament. The Golden Griffins will play St. Bonaventure and Cleveland State Saturday; then Bucknell and the Bonnies again on Sunday.
Canisius is the only MAAC team in action this weekend.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Recent Niagara Signings

The Niagara Purple Eagles have signed two more players who will join them beginning in the 2014 season.

Chanelle Ward is from San Diego, CA and is in her senior year at Helix High School. Chanelle is a smooth fielding shortstop, according to Niagara Coach Chan, who hit for a .326 average last season with the Highlanders. She plays travel ball with the San Diego Renegades.

Theresa Fleckenstein is from Ransomville, NY, and is a senior at Lewiston-Porter High School. Theresa is a catcher and .400 hitter who can hit for power; she is also a very good runner. She plays travel ball with the New Era Diamond Girls.

Congratulations Chanelle and Theresa!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 2/12/13

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

Player Of The Week

Fran D'Amato, St. Peter's Peahens

Fran spearheaded the Peahens' attack this past weekend, hitting .375 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

Pitcher Of The Week

Krista Morrone, Rider Broncs

Krista was superb in her college debut for the Broncs with a record of 1-1 and a 2.00 ERA.

Freshman Of The Week

Dana Sensi, Rider Broncs

Dana finished her first weekend of college softball leading the conference with a .545 average.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

St. Peter's Splits Wild Doubleheader

Fran D'Amato had a huge day for the Peahens
St. Peter's 9 (8)

St. Peter's 12

The St. Peter's Peahens exploded for 21 runs on 31 hits in a doubleheader against Maryland-Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD Sunday.

Game one of the doubleheader was a back and forth affair, with both teams taking and surrendering leads. Chelsea Crews started a big day for herself by driving home Sierra Parker, who had doubled, for an early 1-0 lead. UMES took the lead in the bottom of the same inning, 2-1, thanks in large part to a triple. The Peahens roared back in front with a four run third inning, thanks to Fran D'Amato's two run homer and RBI hits by Shelby Beaver and Michelle Tinajero. UMES, however, got it all back in the bottom of the third, and the game was tied 5-5. St. Peter's then found themselves down 7-5 entering the top of the seventh inning, and staged a comeback to take an 8-7 lead. Shelby Beaver's second double of the game brought home a run; RBIs by Tori Feorenzo and Michelle Tinajero gave the Peahens the lead once again. But UMES tied it back up, and the game went to extra innings, with the tiebreaker rule in effect. Fran D'Amato's third RBI of the game gave the Peahens a lead, but it was short lived as UMES put up two in the bottom of the eighth to walk off with the win.

Game two was also high scoring, but St. Peter's jumped in front early and never looked behind. They pounded out 19 hits in this one. Everyone in the batting lineup had at least one hit, and the Peahens scored in every inning. Fran D'Amato got things started with her second homer of the day, followed by Chelsea Crews' two run double. In the second inning, Alexis Gallagher singled, stole second and third bases, then scored on a wild pitch. In the third inning freshman Amber Velasquez drove home fellow freshman Lee Harrison. In the fourth inning, Fran D'Amato singled home a run for her fifth RBI of the day. In the fifth inning, a couple of UMES errors and a Taylor Corretjer RBI gave St. Peter's an 8-3 lead. An RBI by Amber Velasquez and two by Taylor Sierra in the sixth extended the lead to 11-5. Amber Velasquez finished the assault in the seventh with her third hit and second RBI. Erica Colon went the distance in the circle for the win.

This was the greatest offensive output by St. Peter's in a few years. They averaged over seven runs per game this weekend. Senior Shelby Beaver was great at the plate, hitting .500 in the four games. Transfer senior Sierra Parker is proving to be a great addition; she hit .429 this weekend. Chelsea Crews was 6 for 9 on Sunday. Fran D'Amato was hitting with lots of power. The two freshmen, Amber Velasquez and Lee Harrison both played very well. The offense looked very improved. And this is without leading hitter Nicole Olmedo in the lineup! The Peahens will next be in action on the weekend of February 22 at the Elon Tournament.

Gaels Fall In Extra Innings

Ali Hand makes a play at the Beach Blast
NC-Wilmington 3
Iona 2 (8)

The Iona Gaels completed play Sunday at the Beach Blast in Wilmington, NC with a close eight inning loss.

The Gaels had no problem getting runners on base and in scoring position in this game, but they did have a problem producing runs, leaving 14 on base. This would cost them in the end. But the game started out well when in the top of the second inning, Beth Kann blasted a pitch over the left field fence. It was her second homer of the season. The senior is seeing regular playing time, and has responded with a .333 average to begin the season. Wilmington took the lead with a pair of runs, one of them unearned, in the bottom of the fifth. A hit batter and error hurt the Gaels in that inning. Iona had a number of chances to tie up the game after that, and finally did so in the top of the seventh inning when Ali Hand scored off of a Katie Jansson single. The game then went to extra innings. The Gaels loaded the bases quickly in the top of the eighth with no outs, but with could not convert. Wilmington won the game in the bottom of the same inning with a pair of sacrifices that scored the runner placed on second base in the tiebreaker scenario.

Carly Argyle went the distance for Iona, and I thought she pitched very well aside from some wildness. She struck out six, and allowed only one earned run. She also had two hits, as did Katie Jansson. The Gaels will next take the field on the weekend of February 22 at the North Carolina Classic.

Broncs Pick Up First Win Of 2013

Freshman Dana Sensi off to great start
Rider 3
Cleveland St. 2

The Rider Broncs earned the first win of their 2013 season this morning with a late inning rally over the Cleveland St. Vikings in Greenville, NC.

The Broncs continued to hit well in their first game today at the Pirate Classic, with another nine hit performance. Cleveland State got on the board first due to a passed ball in the top of the first inning,but the Broncs responded immediately when they hit safely three times after two outs in the bottom of the same inning. Alyssa Paul's double drove home Ally Breeden to tie the game. The Vikings hit a solo homer in the third inning to go up 2-1, but this time Rider would not be denied. They loaded the bases in the sixth inning with two base hits and a walk. Emily Cotrell then earned an RBI to tie the game, and an error by the CSU catcher allowed Alyssa Paul to score the winner.

Redshirt freshman Krista Morrone was again very good in earning her first career win. She allowed only three hits, striking out three batters. Over the last four innings of the game, she surrendered only a walk. Freshman Dana Sensi was 3 for 3 in this game, giving her five hits over her last two games. Kehli Washington was 2 for 4 with a stolen base. Rider will play Ohio later today.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

0 For MAAC

St. Peter's Coach Bart setting her opening day lineup
Early February is rarely kind to the cold weather MAAC schools, and Saturday was no exception. But there were some interesting happenings as these teams began to arise from softball hibernation.

Iona's first game today is one they'd rather forget I'm sure. They were shellacked by Nebraska-Omaha 16-0, and were one hit by the same pitcher who one hit them Friday. They just didn't seem to match up well with this team. Their second game of the day, against North Carolina-Wilmington was much better, but still a 2-1 loss. Although she had an unfortunate seventh inning with three walks that brought in the winning run, I thought freshman Christine Costello pitched a very good game. She allowed only four hits while striking out six. Iona only has five hits in their last three games, three of them off the bat of Eileen McCann. That's something they need to remedy.

Rider had an interesting pair of games. Against Towson, a team who had been averaging over seven runs a game, Krista Morrone got her first career start and did very well. She had a rough fifth inning, helped along with a key error, but otherwise showed very good control against a potent offense in a 4-0 loss. The Broncs' second game, against East Carolina, saw them hitting the ball hard and well. In the run rule 8-0 loss, Rider loaded the bases three times, but could not push across a run. They had a real chance to jump to a big lead, but could not finish. They left 11 on base. Still, considering their slow offensive start last season, it was an encouraging sign. Freshmen Dana Sensi and Samantha Judd had two hits apiece.

St. Peter's jumped to a 4-0 lead in their first game against Maryland-Eastern Shore, but could not hold it. Transfer Sierra Parker had a big game in her debut, hitting 3 for 4. Freshman Lee Harrison drove home a pair of runs. Shelby Beaver was 2 for 3. But in the end, the Peahens lost 5-4. In game two, they fell behind early, but did keep battling, eventually losing 9-4. Fran D'Amato was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs in this one. Erica Colon pitched in both games in relief, and did well, throwing a total of 6.3 innings allowing only one earned run while striking out six batters. Note: Nicole Olmedo was not in the Peahens' lineup today; looks like she's nursing an injury.

All three teams are back at it Sunday; hopefully we'll get some wins on the board!

Two More Teams Open Play Today

Saturday brings two more MAAC schools into the 2013 softball season. The Rider Broncs will begin two days of games later this morning at the Pirate Classic hosted by East Carolina in Greenville, NC. The Broncs will play Towson and the host Pirates today; on Sunday they will face Cleveland State and Ohio. The weather forecast calls for sun and low 50s.

The Saint Peter's Peahens will be in Princess Anne, MD for two days of doubleheaders against Maryland-Eastern Shore. The weather there is also clear, but the temperatures will be in the low to mid 40s.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gaels Open Season With Split

Top Guns!
Iona 11
Detroit Mercy 3

Nebraska-Omaha 7
Iona 0

The Iona Gaels opened their 2013 season at the Beach Blast in Wilmington, NC by unleashing their bats against Detroit Mercy this morning.

Carly Argyle got the start against the Titans in her first season as Iona's primary starting pitcher, and threw a good, controlled game. "Gnarly" Carly issued only one walk, late in the game, while striking out six Titans. Only two of the Detroit runs were earned. But it was the offense that was the story, as the Gaels pounded out 14 hits. They got it going in the first inning when leadoff batter Jodi Petersen singled, stole second base then scored on a throwing error. Detroit Mercy tied it up in the bottom of the same inning, but it was all Iona after that. A big fourth inning was started by senior Beth Kann when she smashed a pitch over the centerfield fence. After Sarah Schutz doubled with her first collegiate hit, Katie Jansson reached base after being hit by a pitch. Bri Schauer's single then loaded the bases allowing Ali Hand to punch home a pair of runs with a double. That set the stage for senior Eileen McCann, who lined one over the left field fence, giving the Gaels a 7-1 lead. In the sixth inning, Ali Hand's second consecutive double increased the lead to 8-1. Katie Jansson put the icing on the cake when she clubbed a pitch out over left field for the 11-3 win. Ali Hand finished 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs. Jodi Peterson, Eileen McCann, Bri Schauer and Sarah Schutz all had two hits. Sydney Dimon got her first collegiate hit off the bench.

Game two saw Iona go against a great pitcher, Omaha's Dana Elsasser who has a career 1.10 ERA. Dana was dominant, allowing only one hit, which was a single by Beth Kann. Making her first career start for Iona was Christine Costello. She pitched well until hitting a rough fifth inning. Five of the seven runs were earned.

The Gaels are back at it in Wilmington on Saturday morning with a pair of games.

Iona Opens Play Today

Overnight rain has pushed the start times back an hour. First game at 10am.

The Iona Gaels will begin defense of their MAAC championship and become the first MAAC softball team to get into action when they begin play at the Beach Blast in Wilmington, NC later this morning. The Gaels will play two games Friday, against Detroit-Mercy at 9am; and against Nebraska-Omaha at 11:30am. The weather forecast looks good for the weekend.

BTW, seniors Eileen McCann and Jodi Petersen will be chasing a number of school records this season. Each should easily break the career hits record; Jodi has a nine hit lead currently. Each has a realistic shot at the career RBI record as well. Jodi is eight steals away from the career stolen bases record. Eileen already holds the career home run record, and looks to etch her name in stone with a great season. But of course, both would would rather forget the personal records for a 4peat.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2013 MAAC Preview - St. Peter's Peahens

Coach Ranae Bart continues to rebuild the St. Peter's softball program
  • 1 Shelby Beaver P Senior
  • 9 Alexis Gallagher OF Senior
  • 23 Sierra Parker INF Senior
  • 3 Stephanie Gilronan OF Redshirt Junior
  • 5 Erica Colon P Junior
  • 6 Aimee Schnecker OF Junior
  • 11 Kristen Kaneyuki 1B Junior
  • 12 Michelle Tinajero INF/C Junior
  • 4 Maria Maresca OF Sophomore
  • 10 Chelsea Crews C Sophomore
  • 20 Francesca D'Amato SS Sophomore
  • 21 Taylor Corretjer 3B Sophomore
  • 22 Nicole Olmedo 1B Sophomore
  • 32 Tori Feorenzo P Sophomore
  • 14 Amber Velasquez SS Freshman
  • 18 Lee Harrison P/UT Freshman
The St. Peter's Peahens brought in a good freshman class last season as they attempt to return to former days of glory. They showed some improvement, but still have more steps to climb. This season they need to concentrate on becoming more competitive in the MAAC.

Leading the senior class will be pitcher Shelby Beaver (pictured left). Shelby was 2-20 in 2012 with a 6.05 ERA, but she did much better once MAAC play began, finishing with a 4.59. She pitched a great game against eventual champion Iona, on their home field no less, losing 2-1 on a pair of unearned runs while throwing a four hitter. She also threw a four hitter in beating Rachael Matreale and Rider, also on the road. Shelby has proven that she can be a factor in conference play, but she will need some help in the circle this season. Outfielder Alexis Gallagher proved to be the best runner on the the team last season, leading the Peahens in runs (22) and stolen bases (7-11) to go along with her .239 average. Senior infielder Sierra Parker has transferred to St. Peter's for her final season from Caldwell College, a top division 2 team where she was a .300 hitter. Her experience should help this season.

Stephanie Gilronan (pictured left) returns to the team as a redshirt junior this season after recovering from injury. She's another very good runner who led the team in runs as a sophomore. In 2011, she was very productive in MAAC games, hitting .314, best on the team. The Peahens are hopeful that pitcher Erica Colon will reach the potential she showed as a high schooler; she improved her ERA a bit in 2012. Aimee Schnecker was used mostly defensively last season, getting only 14 at bats. First baseman Kristin Kaneyuki also did not see much plate action in 2012; but she showed some offensive spark as a sophomore when she was second on the team in RBIs. Catcher Michelle Tinajero did improve her average last season, but still finished at only .157. She was, though, very steady behind the plate.

The sophomore features a player this blog chose as the conference freshman of the year, first baseman Nicole Olmedo (pictured left). Nicole started her heavy hitting early last season, and proved she was no fluke, leading the team with a .312 average. She also led the Peahens in home runs (8); RBIs (23); and slugging percentage (.539). She among the conference's leaders in offensive numbers all season. She was also outstanding in the field.

Shortstop Fran D'Amato (pictured left) was also a bright newcomer for the Peahens in 2012. Sporting a solid .266 overall average, which included 10 doubles and 13 RBIs, Fran really excelled during conference play with a .325 average, which placed her amongst the MAAC's leaders. Nicole and Fran should be the core around which the team will be built looking ahead. Third baseman Taylor Corretjer finished with a .195 average in starting 41 games in 2012, but showed lots of promise. She's another good runner, with four stolen bases last year, and was solid in the field. Catcher Chelsea Crews got 20 starts as a freshman, hitting .217 with four RBIs. Pitcher Tori Feorenzo gained experience with 46 innings of work in the circle, finishing with a 2-5 record. Outfielder Maria Maresca saw limited action as a freshman.

The Peahens will have two freshmen joining the squad this season. Amber Velasquez is a shortstop coming from a top high school program, New York State champs the John Jay Patriots. Lee Harrison is a pitcher and infielder from Coronado High School in Las Vegas, NV. A  high .400 hitter, Lee is also a control pitcher.

It's been a tough climb back up the hill for St. Peter's the past four seasons, but last year showed some real progress and hope. I think their offense will improve even more this season; what they need to prioritize is the stabilization of their pitching staff. The Peahens had a lot of close, competitive conference games in 2012. They now need to believe they can start winning more of those, especially at home. BTW, call them St. Peter's University this season, as they have changed designation.

Next up: The season begins!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

2013 MAAC Preview - Manhattan Lady Jaspers

Northeast First Teamer Katie Bowen leads the LJs in 2013

  • 21 Amanda Babcock SS Senior
  • 4 Anna Gallacher OF Senior
  • 10 Jen Keller OF Senior
  •  5 Heather Leone 1B Senior
  • 23 Meghan McDevitt C/OF Senior
  • 2 Kelsi Redding P Senior
  • 27 Jocelin Whitmore OF Senior
  • 12 Katie Bowen 2B/P Junior
  • 29 Amy Bright P Sophomore
  • 11 Amanda Paxson DP/2B Sophomore
  • 13 Mickayla Romero 3B/P Sophomore
  • 00 Sabrina Spataro OF Sophomore
  • 8 Sydney Weedon 1B Sophomore
  • 6 Audrey Avery OF Freshman
  • 55 Elena Bowman C/1B Freshman
  • 1 Emily Cutler OF Freshman
  • 32 Erin Hamm P Freshman
  • 7 Zee Pierce P Freshman
  • 14 Andi Stallard C Freshman
  • 22 Shannon Walsh 2B Freshman
In 2012, the Manhattan Lady Jaspers began to rebuild after the graduation of virtually all the players from their three year MAAC tournament run. The new edition of the LJs began last season very slowly, but ended it on a positive note with six conference wins, including one over regular season champion Fairfield. They hope to continue that success this season.

The Lady Jaspers will field a solid senior class, and one that did well in MAAC play last season. Outfielder Jen Keller has been very consistent during her career at Manhattan, and in 2012 enjoyed her best season, hitting .263. She hit .267 in conference play with 12 runs and no errors. Shortstop Amanda Babcock (pictured left) hit .254 last season, scoring 23 runs. During MAAC play however, she raised the level of her play to hit .283. Outfielder Jocelin Whitmore was another player who excelled in conference play, hitting .292 in MAAC games. Meghan McDevitt hit only .202 last season, but that included four home runs and 15 RBIs; 12 of those came in conference games. One of the homers was a winner against conference rival Canisius. Pitcher Kelsi Redding joined the team as a transfer in 2012 and pitched well within the conference with a 3-3 record and 3.23 ERA. Anna Gallacher and Heather Leone saw limited action in 2012.

There is only one member of Manhattan's junior class, but she is one of the most dynamic players in the conference. All-MAAC and NFCA All-Northeast selection Katie Bowen (pictured left) built upon a great freshman season by increasing her average 12 points to .348 in 2012. She led the LJs in home runs (6); RBIs (26); runs (26); and slugging percentage (.546). I think Katie can improve these fine numbers her next two seasons. She also made 17 starts as a pitcher, with a 3.50 ERA. She posted a 3-5 record in MAAC play, including a shutout against Canisius.

Mickayla Romero (pictured left) hit .229 overall for her freshman season, but she really turned it up once MAAC play began. She led the LJs with a .300 average in conference games, also hitting a home run and six RBIs. She seems to be settled in as the team's regular third baseman, although she did see some action in the circle and first base. Sydney Weedon struggled at the plate as a freshman, hitting .115, but she was outstanding defensively at first base, committing only two errors over the season. Amy Bright was seeing significant action as a pitcher before her season unfortunately ended with an injury after 13 games. Manhattan track member Sabrina Spataro joins the LJs this season; I'm assuming she will see much pinch running action.

Seven freshmen will join the Lady Jaspers this season, including All-Houston catcher Andi Stallard (pictured left). Outstanding defensively behind the plate, Andi is also an accomplished hitter, and should get the chance to start immediately. Elena Bowman out of San Mateo, CA is an impressive hitter, batting over .400 for her high school career with very high slugging percentages. Two pitchers, Zee Pierce (Bronx, NY) and Erin Hamm (Collegeville, PA) will shore up the LJs staff. Also coming aboard this season will be Audrey Avery (Malta, NY); Shannon Walsh (W. Milford, NJ); and Emily Cutler (Bloomingdale, NJ).

I thought the new look Lady Jaspers showed great improvement in the second half of the 2012 season. They have good coaching, so I would expect their play to progress this season. I believe Katie Bowen can improve on her pitching numbers during conference play, which would make the MAAC race interesting. I don't know if the LJs are quite ready for a return to the tournament, but they will surely be competitive this season in the MAAC.

Next up: Saint Peter's