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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

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