Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 MAAC Softball Preview - Iona Gaels

Kristen "Grand Slam" Turner had another powerful season in '15
2015 Record: 12-8 (16-28) 6th Place
Head Coach: Melissa Inouye (4th Season)

Carly Argyle (P/DP) Redshirted in 2015

Sarah Schutz (3B) .250 BA; 5 HR; 16 RBI

Jordan Courage (P) 5-12; 5.81 ERA

Brianna King (C) .283 BA

Allyne Clark (C) .138 BA

Kristen Turner (1B) .360 BA: 12 HR; 32 RBI; 28 R

Katie Newton (SS) .303 BA; 14 RBI; 8 SB

Christine Costello (P/DP) 6-8; 2.71 ERA; .254 BA; 4 HR; 27 RBI

Ashlyn Morris (OF) .276 BA; 20 R

Kelsey Long (OF) .164 BA

Courtney Miller (OF) .205 BA; 2 HR

Tori Danner (C) .158 BA; 2 HR

Jessica Harkness (P) 1-4; 6.73 ERA

Kimberly Chiapparelli (IF)
Lani Evans (P)
Marisa Gergel (OF/1B)
Samantha Mello (OF)
Hailey Thompson (IF)

Are the Iona Gaels the favorites to win the MAAC in 2016? After picking them not to make the tournament in 2010 (the year they began their championship run), I no longer make predictions! But the 2016 team looks dangerous. They have a head coach, Melissa Inouye, and a number of players with championship experience. They have a very strong upper class that includes the returning redshirt senior "Gnarly" Carly Argyle. There was no doubt the Gaels missed Carly last year, who was All-MAAC and NFCA All-Region in their championship season of 2014. She's healthy, and looks to be one of the top pitchers in the conference. She's a fine hitter also.

The Gaels have a hitting lineup that is balanced and can strike at any time. Junior Kristen Turner is coming off another big season, among the MAAC leaders in batting. She can hit for power and average, and is known for clutch hitting. Senior Sarah Schutz also swings a powerful bat, as does pitcher Christine Costello. Speaking of pitching, the Gaels look to have a deeper staff this season, led by the aforementioned Carly Argyle. Junior Christine Costello picked up the slack last season, and by tournament time, I thought she was one of the top pitchers in the conference. The Gaels should have a potent one-two punch in the circle. But they also have senior Jordan Courage and sophomore Jessica Harkness who can be very capable. The unknown entity for now is freshman Lani Evans, the highly touted pitcher from SoCal.

Coach Inouye has prepared for her team a very challenging pre-MAAC season schedule. Monmouth did the same last season, and nearly won it all. Keep an eye on the Gaels this season!

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