Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Recent Signings by St. Peter's

St. Peter's recently signed two players, both of whom currently play for the Orland Park Sparks travel team out of Illinois. Both will begin their careers in the 2014 season.

Samantha Storms, Williams Bay, WI. Samantha is a pitcher and infielder at Williams Bay High School, where she is a career high .400s hitter who averages over an RBI per game. As a pitcher, she has averaged 11 strikeouts per game.

Candice Koch, Orland Park, IL. Candice is a shortstop at Sanburg High School. Below is a video of the left handed hitter:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Larry Puzan Has Earned The Niagara Job

An opinion piece in which I go out onto a limb....

I didn't want to write about the Niagara coaching situation during the season, for various reasons. Ellie Chan had been hired as the Purple Eagles' coach last summer; the move was praised by this blog and others, including a prominent former Niagara player who had once played under Chan. The move turned out to be an utter disaster.

Today, the Buffalo News wrote of the situation:
Read Here

Ellie Chan has stated recently that she has retired from coaching. That's surely for the best, and I would hope softball coaches everywhere, at every level, would take careful note of what happened at Niagara University this season. It never has to be that way. You'll note that a Purple Eagle states that she has no problem with "hard coaching"; I believe most top level players thrive on it. The situation there had nothing to do with coaching.

But the Niagara story took an amazing twist, as MAAC softball followers know. Long time pitching coach Larry Puzan took over the program, on an interim basis, and led the team on an amazing run from the worst record in the conference, to an appearance in the MAAC tournament, and the winner's bracket game. Coach Puzan has been at Niagara for quite a while; he's greatly respected there, and is respected by his colleagues across the MAAC. He has been a great pitching coach also; personally responsible for getting Jen Sansano to transfer to Niagara, and helping her become the 2013 MAAC Pitcher Of The Year. Jen struggled at her previous school, without the aid of a pitching coach. That all changed under Puzan's guidance.

I was told recently, by someone close to the situation, that Larry Puzan would not even get the courtesy of an interview for the Niagara job. The article today in the News seemed to mitigate that somewhat. I think Niagara has their coach already in place. You saw how the players responded to him. He has a great deal of experience, and is an athletic director at a local high school. Former Niagara coach Al Dirschberger, now an assistant at Canisius, recommended him glowingly. He won in the most trying of situations, digging his team out of the ditch.

It would be a crucial mistake, in my opinion, if Niagara failed to hire him as their permanent coach.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keilani Finley Signs With Quinnipiac

Keilani Finley of Alameda, CA has signed a national letter of intent to play softball at Quinnipiac University beginning in the 2014 season.

Keilani is an athletic power hitter who was a career high .400s hitter at Encinal High School in Alameda, where she was a BSAL and All-East Bay honoree during her career. She can hit for average, and power, and averaged well over an RBI per game. Defensively, she's quite versatile, adept at catcher, first base or shortstop. She plays travel ball with Synergy out of Castro Valley.

Congratulations Keilani!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NFCA All-Region Selections

Lauren Liseth, Fairfield Stags

Lauren was named to the NFCA's Northeast Region second team. The MAAC Player Of The year hit .389 with seven home runs and .36 RBIs. She had an on base percentage of .565; a slugging percentage of .754; and she stole 14 bases.

Jordan Paolucci, Quinnipiac Bobcats

Jordan was named to the NFCA's Northeast Region second team. She hit .322 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. She had a slugging percentage of .611.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thanks For Reading!

...and another MAAC softball season comes to an end. It was an interesting one, filled with ups and downs. And a brand new champion. I get to repeat what I wrote one year ago. That is you broke all readership records again! And, as I wrote one year ago, Niagara will be looking for a new coach. That won't be the only change for next season. The map above will expand to include Monmouth and Quinnipiac! This will officially occur on July 1, but from this point onward these two teams will be included on this blog as full members. Next season the MAAC schedule will include 20 conference games, and, as of this writing, still only four teams will qualify for the  tournament. Which should make conference play even more intense than it was this past season.

Although the posting here will decrease, I will still keep the blog updated with any news concerning the MAAC. This summer I will run stories on the incoming freshmen; it looks like a real good class of players coming aboard.

Finally, a big thanks to all the players, for whom this blog is written!

Departing Seniors:

Amanda Baun
Chloe Contreras
Katie Medina
Stephanie Pfentner

Macy Cutshaw
Tiffany Lawson
Emily Orr

Cari Anderson
Beth Kann
Jodi Petersen

Amanda Babcock
Anna Gallacher
Jen Keller
Heather Leone
Meghan McDevitt
Kelsi Redding
Jocelin Whitmore

Sarah Carmody
Danielle Koltz
Christina Lausch
Emily Osterhaus
Joelle Zahka

Gabrielle Lustrinelli
Alexis Wayne
Becky Zill

Heather Muscara
Alyssa Paul
Sam Pugh

Saint Peter's
Shelby Beaver
Alexis Gallagher
Sierra Parker

Amanda Ferro
Shannon Jones

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Marist Loss Ends 2013 MAAC Season

Dani Koltz was 2 for 4 in her finale
Fordham 5
Marist 3

The Marist Red Foxes were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament when they lost to the Fordham Rams Saturday in Norman, OK.

It was a different Marist team that took the field in Norman. Oklahoma Saturday, as they battled the Atlantic 10 champion Fordham Rams in a close game. The Red Foxes fell behind early, 2-0, but rallied in the fourth inning to tie the score at 2-2. Marist loaded the bases with their first three hitters in that inning, with hits coming from Nicole Cheek, Alyssa Zahaka and Aly Klemmer. They got on the board when Kyrsten Van Natta beat out an infield grounder. The Red Foxes' fifth consecutive hit, by Janine Lalli, tied the game, but the Rams got out of the jam with two force plays at the plate. Two errors in the bottom of the fifth inning gave Fordham a 4-2 lead; they would add another run in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up by three runs. Marist narrowed the margin to 5-3 in the top of the seventh inning thanks to Aly Klemmer's ground out RBI, but could get no closer and saw their season end. The loss also ended the 2013 MAAC season. Emily Osterhaus pitched well in the loss, surrendering three earned runs. The Red Foxes had 10 hits in the game.

Dani Koltz, Emily Osterhaus, Christina Lausch, Sarah Carmody and Joelle Zahka all ended their college careers. Marist finished their second championship season with a record of 30-26.

I'll have a review of this past MAAC season in the coming days.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Red Foxes Fall To #1 Oklahoma

#1 Oklahoma 17
Marist 0 (5)

The Marist Red Foxes lost their opening game at the Norman, OK Regional to the number one team in the country Friday night.

Not much to say about this one from the Marist point of view. The Red Foxes were overwhelmed right from the beginning, as the Sooners put up eight runs in the first inning and never looked back. Oklahoma learned a hard lesson four years ago when they were upset on their home field by North Dakota State, and did not stop pressing in this tournament game. They finished with 13 hits; Lauren Chamberlin led the way with five RBIs. Kyrsten Van Natta had the Red Foxes' only hit of the game.

Marist will have a good shot at winning their first ever NCAA Tournament game when they face the Fordham Rams Saturday at 4:30 pm EDT in Norman. Oklahoma. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the tournament.

Norman, OK Regional Press Conference

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Norman, OK Regional

Oklahoma Sooners

Conference: Big 12
Record: 44-4
Leading Hitter: Lauren Chamberlin (.423)
Leading Pitcher: Keilani Ricketts (25-1; 1.13 ERA)

Arkansas Razorbacks

Conference: SEC
Record: 34-18
Leading Hitter: Devon Wallace (.377)
Leading Pitcher: Hope McLemore (6-2; 1.92 ERA)

Fordham Rams

Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 35-21
Leading Hitter: Jamie LaBovick (.411)
Leading Pitcher: Jamie LaBovick (13-9; 2.62 ERA)

Marist Red Foxes 

Conference: MAAC
Record: 30-24
Leading Hitter: Alyssa Zahka (.370)
Leading Pitcher: Emily Osterhaus (14-9; 2.29 ERA)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Red Foxes To Play At Norman Regional

The NCAA selection committee has placed MAAC Champion Marist in the Norman, OK Regional. The Red Foxes will play #1 Oklahoma (47-4) on Friday night at 8:30 pm EDT. Also in the field will be #21 Arkansas (34-18), and Fordham (35-12). It will be a double elimination format. More on this Regional later this week.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

There's A New Champion In Town!

Number One!

The Marist Red Foxes won the MAAC Championship with a 4-1 win over the Fairfield Stags Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Red Foxes ended the reign of the Iona Gaels with a convincing tournament sweep this weekend. They never trailed in the Championship game, but did get into some hot water in the top of the first inning when Fairfield loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit. But with no outs, left fielder Christina Lausch set the tone for the day when, after catching a fly ball in deep left field for an out, she completed the double play by gunning down the speedy Kristen Filicia at home plate. It was a huge play, and allowed Marist to get out of the inning with the game still scoreless. It remained so until the bottom of the third inning when freshman Nicole Cheek took a Rae Ball pitch and sent it sailing over the center field fence for a 3-0 Red Foxes' lead. The home run, which tied Nicole for the school single season record (her 15th such hit), scored, besides herself, Taylor Kuzma, pinch running for Sarah Carmody who had singled, and Maureen Duddy, who also had singled.

Marist starter Emily Osterhaus did not allow a Fairfield hit until the top of the fifth inning when the Stags would get three. Fairfield narrowed the Marist lead to 3-1 when Kristen Filicia singled home Bri Levick. Then a two out infield single by Sammy Ruffolo put two runners on for the Stags, and brought Lauren Liseth to the plate with a chance to tie the game, or give Fairfield the lead. But Emily Osterhaus induced a ground out from the MAAC's Player Of The Year, and the threat was extinguished. Marist got that run back in the bottom of the same inning when Dani Koltz sent a towering blast over the center field fence. Emily Osterhaus, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, retired the next six Stags she faced and set off a wild celebration - the Red Foxes were again MAAC Champs after a seven year wait!

Emily Osterhaus outpitched the MAAC Pitcher Of The Year, and the conference's statistical leader this weekend, beating them both. She was brilliant in her control, at one point pitching 17 consecutive shutout innings. She allowed only two runs in her three complete game wins. She was 4-0 against the preseason favorite Stags this season.

For Fairfield, it was another hard luck loss for their talented Class of '14. The Stags have now lost five consecutive Championship games in a three year period. Yet, they will return virtually the same team, with some newcomers, next season to make another challenge. Tiffany Lawson, Macy Cutshaw and Emily Orr wore the Fairfield uniform for the final time.

The Red Foxes will celebrate tonight, and then settle in somewhere on the Marist campus Sunday night to see where they will be playing next week in the NCAA National Tournament, and against whom. At the moment, I'm guessing they don't really care!

Thanks to Paige Lewis' dad for the photo!


Joe Ausanio leads Marist to first championship since 2006
Just in...

The Marist Red Foxes have defeated the Fairfield Stags 4-1 to claim the championship of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. It's the Red Foxes' second title. They will now move to the National tournament next week.
More on the game later.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Will Third Time Be A Charm For Fairfield?

Another big MAAC home run for Kristen Filicia

The Fairfield Stags advanced to the MAAC championship game when they beat the Niagara Purple Eagles Friday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Will third time be a charm for the Fairfield Stags? This time the Stags will attempt to win the championship of the MAAC coming out of the losers' bracket; they will need to beat Marist twice. Maybe this will take some pressure off them. In their game vs. Niagara, they jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Kristen Filicia stole home, utilizing one of the strengths of the team---running wild. It was Kristen who also provided the winning margin when she clubbed a two run homer over the center field fence in the fourth. Not known as a power hitter, Kristen seems to only hit them out in big tournament games, as she did in walk off style against Canisius last season. Becca Trott started this game for Fairfield, and gave a strong performance, allowing only Ambur Farmer's RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning. She struck out eight in the game. Kim Bryson took the loss for Niagara, who ended their season after a remarkable climb back into contention. Kristen Filicia was 2 for 2 in the game; Sammy Ruffolo 3 for 4. Alexis Wayne, Becky Zill and Gabby Lustrinelli ended their college careers.

So now the Stags will again attempt to exorcise their MAAC demons. The last two final tournament days were nightmares for them; and they haven't won it all since 1991. They are clearly the underdog; Marist having beaten them three times this season, including once in this tournament. Maybe this will help them not to press so much.

Fairfield Stays Alive With Win Over Siena

Rae Ball shut down the powerful Saints

Just in...

Fairfield stays alive and Siena is eliminated as the Stags take a 3-0 win at the MAAC Tournament today in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Rae Ball was masterful in a complete game shutout of Siena, giving up only four hits, and allowing no walks. The Saints had just a few chances to score, but could not capitalize.
For Fairfield, they opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning when Kimi Kurata's suicide squeeze bunt scored Lauren Filicia. In the bottom of the third, Bri Levick skied a pitch that cleared the right field fence just inside the foul pole, giving the Stags a 2-0 lead. Lauren Filicia drove home Lauren Liseth, who had doubled, in the sixth for the final score of 3-0. Lauren Filicia was 2 for 2 in the game. Jessika-Jo Sandrini pitched well for the Saints, but took the loss. Mandy Ferro ended her college career at Siena with a two hit performance. The great Shannon Jones also ended her storied career today.

Fairfield plays Niagara next, with the winner going to the Championship round vs. Marist.

Red Foxes Advance To Championship Round With Win Over Niagara

Janine Lalli's home run was the difference

Just in...

 The Marist Red Foxes have earned their way into the Championship round of the MAAC Tournament with a 2-0 win over the Niagara Purple Eagles today in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Senior pitcher Emily Osterhaus has been masterful in this tournament; she now has a streak of 13 consecutive shutout innings under her belt. Emily tossed a two hitter in beating Niagara; she didn't allow the Purple Eagles any realistic scoring chances. She struck out four, while walking only one. Marist scored all the runs they would need when, in the top of the fourth inning, Janine Lalli lined a pitch that just cleared the left field fence, and scored Aly Klemmer who had doubled. Jen Sansano pitched well enough for Niagara to win, striking out eight, and allowing only four hits, but took the loss.

Marist now is in the driver's seat, awaiting their opponent for Saturday's Championship game. Niagara will play in the elimination game later today.

Niagara Advances To Winners' Game With Win Over Siena

4 RBIs for Alexis Wayne

Just in...

Niagara has advanced to the winners' bracket game with a 6-3 win over Siena in the completion of a game that had been suspended yesterday due to darkness.

When play resumed this morning, Siena tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a double by Shannon Jones, and an RBI single by Jessika-Jo Sandrini. But a pair of walks and an error doomed the Saints in the top of the seventh. The winning run was scored after a bases loaded walk; this was followed by Alexis Wayne's two RBI single. Jen Sansano picked up the win; Jessika-Jo Sandrini took the loss.

Niagara will next play Marist; Siena will face Fairfield after that game.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Niagara-Siena Game Suspended

Because of the long rain delay, the second game of the day, between Niagara and Siena, had to be suspended due to darkness.
Niagara leads 3-2, and will be batting in the top of the sixth inning when play resumes at 10 am Friday morning. Becky Zill and Alexis Wayne have driven home runs for Niagara. Shannon Jones and Alyssa Lancaster have RBIs for Siena.
The winner of this game will face Marist; the loser will face Fairfield.

Emily Osterhaus Beats Fairfield...Again

Emily is 3 for 3 vs. the Stags this season

After a prolonged rain delay, Marist opened the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY with a 3-1 win over Fairfield.

Sometimes a pitcher just has another teams' number as they say, and for some reason, Emily Osterhaus has a hex on the Fairfield Stags (maybe because she's a good pitcher?!). For the third time this season, Emily shut down the potent Fairfield attack, holding the Stags to four hits. The only run she allowed was MAAC Player Of The Year Lauren Liseth's first inning home run.

It was Marist who opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Maureen Duddy, who had walked and stolen second base, was driven home by Alyssa Zahka's single. Lauren Liseth then hit the aforementioned homer in the bottom of the same inning to tie the game before the rains came. A drenching downpour shut the tournament down for three hours and 40 minutes. The Marist ground crew did an heroic job transforming the outfield lake back into a ball field; they should all get raises!
When the game finally resumed, Marist took a 2-1 lead when Christina Lausch launched a Rae Ball pitch over the left field fence in the top of the second inning. In the top of the third, Alyssa Zahka again drove home Maureen Duddy to give the Red Foxes a 3-1 lead. From that point on, it was all Emily Osterhaus; she would not allow a Stag past second base, and struck out seven for the game.

Alyssa Zahka and Maureen Duddy  each had two hits for Marist, who advance to the winners' bracket game. Rae Ball struck out seven for Fairfield, who will play in the losers' bracket game.

Rain Delay

Only an inning was played today in Poughkeepsie before the rains came. Marist and Fairfield are going to attempt to resume their game today.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mandy Ferro Excelling For Siena Softball

A nice article by our old friend Andrew Champagne who used to work at Siena College, and did a great job covering the softball team. He focuses on senior Mandy Ferro, a local player who is helping the Saints reach new heights:

Ferro is one of just two seniors on this year’s team, but is one of several Saints with Section II connections. Senior Shannon Jones (Troy) and sophomores Antonia Edwards (Bethlehem) and Megan Volz (Lansingburgh) all came from nearby high schools.

“They have proven that you can be a Section II softball player and play Division I softball,” Lajeunesse said. “Not just play, but excel at Division I softball, because these kids have had outstanding seasons.”

Read the article HERE

MAAC Championship Preview

One of the most interesting MAAC Tournaments in recent memory begins Thursday at noon in Poughkeepsie, NY. Now is the time of year for the final four teams to leave it all on the field in the quest for the automatic bid to the National Tournament. I have to say up front that I have no idea who is going to win the title; so let's look at the teams involved.

The number one seed Siena Saints have of course qualified for the first time in ten seasons. They are on an emotional high; they believe in themselves, and in one another. They have beaten the other teams in the field. Their pitching has improved dramatically from the beginning of the season; and they remain the hot hitting team they've been in the past. The one downside, of course, is lack of tournament experience. How will they react if they fall behind? Will getting to the tournament be good enough for them after such a long wait? One thing is for certain: if they play the way they have been playing for the last month, they may be impossible to beat.

Finishing as the number two seed may have been a blessing for the preseason favorite Fairfield Stags. Perhaps they are being a bit overlooked, after an excellent season. The Stags have the best pitching in the conference, with Rae Ball and Becca Trott both with sub 2.00 ERAs in conference play. They have Lauren Liseth, who got into the minds of all the othe MAAC teams (save Marist). They are a great running team, and they have plenty of tournament experience. However, their experience in the tournament has been one of not being able to "get over the hump". They have lost four straight games in the championship round, twice emerging out of the winners' bracket only to finish second. Their pitching may propel them quickly to Saturday - but what then? It's a challenge they look to overcome this time around.

The number three seed Marist Red Foxes once again have the advantage of sleeping in their own beds and playing on their own field. They had a strong team last season, but seemed to have faded come tournament time. Although they were swept by Siena this past Sunday, they look more prepared this season. They have a very balanced lineup, with lots of players capable of driving home runs. They are a good running team, and their pitching has generally been very good. A lot will depend on senior pitcher Emily Osterhaus. When she's on, she's one of the top pitchers in the conference. One only needs to think back on her sweep of Fairfield earlier in the season. The Red Foxes open against Fairfield; if they can win that game, they could get on a roll.

The number four seed Niagara Purple Eagles are in the Tournament thanks to a miracle, that being St. Peter's shocking upset of Iona. That could make them very dangerous, because they may appreciate the opportunity more than the other teams. But what really makes them dangerous is the pitching of junior Jen Sansano. Down the stretch, Jen was a stone wall. Riding her shutdown pitching, the Purple Eagles won eight consecutive conference games. The only fly in the ointment was the extra innings homer she gave up vs. Iona; but that was when she entered that game in relief after pitching a complete game. This week, I'm looking for her to pitch until she drops. If Jen continues with her stellar pitching, and she is motivated to do so, Niagara may shock. But the rest of the team has also played well down the stretch, particularly seniors Becky Zill, Alexis Wayne and Gabby Lustrinelli, all of whom have tournament experience from 2010. Becky can hit one out at any given time.

Against the field:
Siena 5-1
Fairfield 3-3
Marist 3-3
Niagara 1-5

Last championship won:
Siena never
Fairfield 1991
Marist 2006
Niagara 1998

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MAAC Stars Of The Year*

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


Lauren Liseth, Fairfield Stags

Lauren was the player MAAC pitchers feared most in 2013, and with good reason. Through the regular season, she led the conference in hitting, and is the MAAC's only .400 hitter. She also leads in slugging percentage and on base percentage. She's number one in doubles, and has twice as many walks as her closest competitor. She also has stolen 13 bases.


Rae Ball, Fairfield Stags

Rae was remarkably consistent throughout the season, leading the MAAC with a stingy 1.67 ERA. She had the best record in conference games, 7-1, to go along with a 1.58 ERA in MAAC play.


Nicole Cheek, Marist Red Foxes

Nicole had a fabulous debut season, setting a new school record for RBIs. She currently leads the conference, and by a wide margin vs. those still playing, in home runs and RBIs. She also leads the conference in hits and total bases.

2013 MAAC Softball All-Stars*

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


Rae Ball, Fairfield Stags


Lauren Liseth, Fairfield Stags

First Base

Paige Lloyd, Siena Saints

Second Base

Nicole Cheek, Marist Red Foxes


Shannon Jones, Siena Saints

Third Base

Dani Koltz, Marist Red Foxes


Kehli Washington, Rider Broncs

Aly Klemmer, Marist Red Foxes

Alyssa Lancaster, Siena Saints

Designated Player

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints

Honorable Mention

Jen Sansano
Emily Osterhaus
Becky Zill
Alyssa Zahka
Dana Sensi
Kristen Filicia
Alexis Wayne
Robin Kennery
Katie Bowen
Amanda Babcock
Meghan Cuda
Elena Bowman
Sarah Schutz
Amanda Werth
Lee Harrison
Mandy Ferro
Sammy Ruffolo

Monday, May 6, 2013

MAAC Stars Of The Week* 5/6/13

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

Player Of The Week

The Siena Saints

It was an historic weekend for the Siena softball program as they qualified for the tournament for the first time in 10 years; set a school record for conference wins; and won the MAAC regular season title.

Pitcher Of The Week

Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Siena Saints

In Siena's crucial MAAC weekend, Jessika-Jo was 4-0 in the circle with a 0.87 ERA. She struck out 17 batters.

Freshman Of The Week

Nicole Cheek, Marist Red Foxes

Last week, Nicole broke the Marist single season record for RBIs. She currently leads the MAAC in home runs and RBIs.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Coach Bill Lajeunesse gladly takes the involuntary shower after leading Siena to their first MAAC regular season title in school history
Siena 15
Marist 5 (6)

Siena 6
Marist 4 (8)

The Siena Saints made history when they swept the Marist Red Foxes Sunday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Saints are playing awfully good softball right now, and they cut through game one of their doubleheader at Marist like a buzz saw. The Red Foxes did take a 2-0 first inning lead by scoring a pair of unearned runs, but the Saints sprinted ahead with a seven run second inning. RBIs by Meg Volz, Abby Carpenter, Paige Lloyd, Manday Ferro, Shannon Jones and Jessika-Jo Sandrini gave them an insurmountable lead. Sarah Carmody and Nicole Cheek did drive home runs to tighten the scored a bit, but Siena scored eight more runs to end the game early. Jordan Sandrini added icing to the cake by hitting her first career home run, a three run shot, and Siena won 15-5. Jessika-Jo Sandrini got the win for the Saints.

Siena jumped in front 4-0 in game two, thanks to RBIs by Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Paige Lloyd. Mandy Ferro and Abby Carpenter. This time, however, the Red Foxes were able to battle back, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and send the game to extras. Janine Lalli, Christina Lausch and Sarah Carmody drove home runs for Marist. In the top of the eight inning, Abby Carpenter's double drove home Jessika-Jo Sandrini with the winning run. Paige Lloyd, who was 3 for 4 in the game, added another RBI, and the Saints were MAAC regular season champs. Jessika-Jo won another game, her 15th win of the season.

Marist finishes 10-6, and will be the number 3 seed on their home field on Thursday, and will open against Fairfield. Senior Dani Koltz broke the all-time Marist single season run record by scoring twice. Siena finishes with their best MAAC season in history, 12-4, and will be the number 1 seed when they face Niagara on Thursday.

The regular season has ended...let the tournament begin!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saints Sweep Their Way To Poughkeepsie

The Saints' fortunes rise as Jessika-Jo's ERA falls
Siena 8
Canisius 0 (6)

Siena 2
Canisius 1

The Siena Saints qualified for the MAAC tournament for the first time since 2003 when they swept the Canisius Golden Griffins Saturday in Poughkeepsie, NY.

After coming within an inning of making the tournament in 2012, Saturday's sweep had to feel sweet for Siena, as they left no doubt that they belong with the conference's elite. They began the day with an 8-0 run rule win over the visiting Griffs. RBIs by Alyssa Lancaster and Meg Volz gave the Saints a 2-0 lead in the third inning. In the fourth inning, senior Shannon Jones made that lead 4-0 with a two RBI single; that was followed by another RBI by Alyssa Lancaster and an unearned run scored by Shannon. An RBI by Paige Lloyd in the fifth; and another unearned run in the sixth, this time scored by Jessika-Jo Sandrini, wrapped up the game early. In the circle, Jessika-Jo was masterful, scattering three hits while striking out nine. Alyssa Lancaster was 2 for 2; Abby Carpenter also had two hits. Katie Medina had two hits for the Griffs. Jenn Solis took the loss.

Game two provided the Saints with an opportunity to clinch a spot in the tournament. This time they were going against Jen Consaul, who pitched a very good game. Toni Edwards was the surprise starter for Siena, and pitched well, allowing one run over 4.2 innings. Canisius did jump in front 1-0 with an RBI single by Val Nappo in the top of the first inning. The Saints finally got to Jen Consaul in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring the deciding runs. First, Shannon Jones delivered a big hit, driving home Mandy Ferro, who had singled. Alyssa Lancaster then continued her excellent freshman season by delivering the game winning RBI on a sacrifice fly that scored Mel Kalesse. The Saints won 2-1, and let the champagne fly! Jessika-Jo Sandrini got the win by pitching the final 2.1 innings, in which she allowed no hits. She was also 2 for 2 at the plate. Robin Kennery had two hits for Canisius.

Canisius ended one of the most disappointing seasons in their storied history with a 6-10 conference record. Siena still has something to play for before the tournament begins. They will be at Marist Sunday, and with a sweep will win the first regular season title in school history. The Saints stand at 10-4.

Niagara Comes Back From The Brink...Twice

She's baaaack! I know of three MAAC teams that would have preferred Jen Sansano not be in Poughkeepsie.
Niagara didn't seem to have their heads in the non conference doubleheader they played at home today vs. UMBC, in which they were swept. Rumor has it that players on the field were seen frequently checking their iPhones for updates on the Iona games!

Niagara came "back from the brink" after losing that heartbreaking extra innings game at Iona last week when the Gaels were upset by St. Peter's today. It must have been an agonizing week for the Purple Eagles, wondering what might have been with their pitcher Jen Sansano, who has been stonewalling the rest of the MAAC, in the tournament. Quite frankly, their chances did not look good after watching Marist put up 28 runs at St. Peter's. But all worked out in the end, and now we get to see what will happen if Jen continues her torrid pitching.

But this isn't the first time Niagara came back from the brink. It's been a tumultuous season for the Purps. Multiple canceled games, and a 1-5 start in conference play seemed to doom them. The situation surrounding their new coach, who was suspended by the University pending investigation (this will not be discussed here at this time), would have one believe that their season would fizzle to a quick end. But it has not, which is a real credit to the players. The seniors in particular, Becky Zill, Alexis Wayne and Gabby Lustrinelli have all raised the level of their play and led the team through the valleys. So, Niagara returns to the tournament for the first time since 2010, with nothing to lose and nothing to prove. The other teams will have to prove they can hit Jen Sansano though!

13 Is Fairfield's Lucky Number

Rae Ball has been crushing the ball lately; she's not a bad pitcher either!
Fairfield 13
Rider 4 (6)

Fairfield 13
Rider 1 (5)

The Fairfield Stags ended their conference season with a 12-4 record after routing the Rider Broncs twice Saturday in Lawrenceville, NJ.

13 runs. Twice. Number 13 creaming pitches over the fence. Twice. Number 13 tops in MAAC pitching. Number 13 for Fairdfield is of course Rae Ball, and she had another great day. Rae smashed two long home runs and drove home seven runs in the sweep. After a slow start offensively, she has returned as the Stags' primary power threat. Although still hitting only .218, Rae suddenly has accumulated five homers and 33 RBIs; and just in time for the tournament. Of course, Rae has been concentrating on her pitching this season;  and it's in this role that she leads the conference with a super stingy 1.67 ERA. Now Rider scored four runs in game one, but only one of them came off of Rae, and that an unearned one. For some reason she was relieved briefly, before returning to finish her win. That won't happen in Poughkeepsie.

These game weren't even close. Rider finished what was probably their most difficult season ever; what with senior defections and two injured pitchers. If the season was a week longer, they'd probably have no healthy pitchers. Ali Meagher has been an admirable workhorse, but you can only ask so much from a freshman. The Broncs have a very promising pitcher coming in next season, so hopefully they will have a full and healthy staff for 2014. Game one saw the Stags' Sammy Ruffolo have a fabulous game, as she hit 4 for 5 with three RBIs, three runs and a stolen base. Lauren Liseth was 2 for 2 with a triple and two RBIs; Rae Ball hit a home run and drove home four runs.

Game two was more of the same. Everyone played for Fairfield in this one, and most of them got hits. Rae Ball hit another home run, and drove home three runs. Lauren Liseth put up another 2 for 2 game; she's back over .400 for the season. Bri Levick was 2 for 2 with three RBIs. Becca Trott cruised to victory.

The Stags look very ready to make a run at their first MAAC title in 22 years. They will be the number one seed only if Marist and Siena split their doubleheader tomorrow, but they've been that before. They just want to win three straight games next week.

Peacocks Shock Iona; Delight Niagara!

Shelby Beaver and the SPU seniors ended their careers on a positive note
Iona 5
St. Peter's 3

St. Peter's 13
Iona 9

The Iona Gaels and St. Peter's Peacock split a crucial MAAC doubleheader Saturday in Jersey City, NJ.

A third MAAC team was involved in this doubleheader, namely the Niagara Purple Eagles, who were idle and desperately needing one St. Peter's win. They got it. Niagara would have to wait though, because Iona stayed in the hunt with a 5-3 game one win. The Gaels jumped out to a 5-0 lead, beginning with Allie Hand's RBI single in the first inning. A Jodi Petersen double, and Bri Schauer single brought home three more runs in the second inning. The Gaels took the five run lead when Beth Kann singled home a run in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the same inning, St. Peter's attempted to rally when Fran D'Amato knocked a two run homer, and Shelby Beaver singled home another run. But Iona starter Carly Argyle would shut down the Peacocks for the rest of the game to get the win. Carly struck out a dozen batters. Lee Harrison took the loss. Jodi Petersen was 3 for 4 in the game for Iona; Fran D'Amato 2 for 2 for St. Peter's.

Game two was perhaps the most interesting MAAC game of the season. With Siena winning the first game of their doubleheader, it became apparent that this was going to be a "must win" for the Gaels. But the Peacocks just wouldn't play the patsy, playing arguably their best game of the season. They simply overwhelmed Iona, pounding out 17 hits in a 13-9 win. Allie Hand got the Gaels on board in the top of the first inning with an RBI single, but the Peacocks responded with two runs in the bottom of the same inning, thanks to Nicole Olmedo and Shelby Beaver RBIs. Iona tied the game with an unearned run in the top of the second inning, but St. Peter's began their surge in the bottom of the third. In that inning, they would take a 5-2 lead with RBIs coming from Chelsea Crews, Shelby Beaver and Stephanie Gilronan. Iona cut the lead to 5-4 in the top of the fourth with Sydney Dimon's two run homer, but the Peacocks then went on a rampage against obviously tired Carly Argyle. St. Peter's put five runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning: Sierra Parker, Chelsea Crews (again), Taylor Corretjer and Stephanie Gilronan (again) all drove home runs. Chelsea Crews again drove home a run in the fifth inning that gave St. Peter's an 11-4 lead; and gave Niagara hope. Iona went into panic mode in the top of the sixth inning, scoring four runs on five hits to pull to within 11-8 of the Peacocks. RBIs came from Bri Schauer, Allie Hand and Katie Jansson. Any hope that the Gaels still had was crushed when Lee Harrison crushed a pitch over the center field fence to give St. Peter's a 13-8 lead. The Gaels added a run in the seventh, but could get no closer, and saw their season end. Hundreds of miles away, Niagara, who had just been swept in a non conference doubleheader, were dancing wildly on their field, because seconds later the news came that Siena had swept Canisius, meaning the Purple Eagles were in the tournament.

Shelby Beaver, in her final college start, got the win, allowing only two earned runs. She also drove home two runs in the game. Carly Argyle took the loss; I think she had nothing in the tank as she was basically the Gaels' only go to pitcher the last month. Sierra Parker was 4 for 5 in her final college game for St. Peter's; Stephanie Gilronan drove home a pair of runs. Chelsea Crews was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. For Iona, Allie Hand was 4 for 4. It was a tough loss for Iona, who staved off elimination last week. For St. Peter's, it was a great win, and one they can build on for next season. And Niagara owes them lunch in 2014!


Just in...

With their sweep of Canisius this afternoon, the Siena Saints have qualified for the MAAC Championship for the first time since 2003.
More later...

Friday, May 3, 2013

10 Is The Magic Number

Shannon Jones will attempt to lead Siena into the MAACs for the first time in a decade
The scenario for this weekend's final regular season MAAC games is simple if Iona and Siena both win two games. That would give each team 10 wins, and berths in the tournament (top four teams qualify). They would simply surpass both Niagara and Manhattan, who will be idle this weekend after completing their conference season with nine wins each. Fairfield and Marist have previously qualified. If Iona and/or Siena finish the season with nine wins, it gets a bit more complicated.

Here are the possible qualification scenarios (note-these are my own calculations, therefore unofficial):
Niagara gets in with either one Iona loss OR four Siena losses.
Manhattan gets in with one Iona loss AND at least three Siena losses.
Siena gets in with two wins OR one win and an Iona sweep of St. Peter's.
Iona gets in with two wins.

Please correct this if I am wrong in these scenarios!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nicole Cheek Breaks Marist RBI Record

With her three run home run in Marist's first game today vs. Hartford, freshman Nicole Cheek broke the school single season RBI record, previously held by Amanda Koldjeski ('01). Nicole currently leads the MAAC in home runs (13), and RBIs (47). She was 3 for 3 in this game, and is among the conference's hitting leaders.
Congratulations Nicole!

Conference Games Only Individual Statistics

Kristen Filicia FFD .500
Amanda Irving RID .459
Alyssa Zhaka MAR .455
Becky Zill NIA .453
Shannon Jones SIE .447

Home Runs
Aly Klemmer MAR 5
Dani Koltz MAR 4
Elena Bowman MAN 4
Nicole Cheek MAR 4
Sarah Schutz ION 4
Becky Zill NIA 4
Tiebreaker=least at bats

Nicole Cheek MAR 19
Becky Zill NIA 19
Sarah Schutz ION 18
Meg Volz SIE 15
Alyssa Zahka MAR 15
Elena Bowman MAN 15
Tiebreaker=least at bats

Stolen Bases
Lauren Liseth FFD 10
Kristen Filicia FFD 7
Robin Kennery CAN 4

Jen Sansano NIA 6-3; 1.33
Becca Trott FFD 4-2; 1.60
Rae Ball FFD 6-1; 1.74
Emily Osterhaus MAR 7-1; 2.02
Jen Consaul CAN 5-3; 2.35