Friday, February 26, 2016

Saints Sweep The Day

Siena's Chelsey Drew had a big day Friday
The MAAC softball season really got rolling Friday with seven teams in action on fields across the country.

Last year at the beginning of the 2015 season, the Siena Saints played well, but always came up short, losing their first eleven games in frustrating fashion. The beginning of this season is proving to be a different story however, as the Saints are now finding ways to win, or holding on for wins late in games. They won another two games Friday, "sealing the deal" in two one run games. They stormed to a 6-1 lead vs. Delaware in their first game, holding on to win 6-5. Chelsey Drew drove home three runs with a double and single. Sammy Smaldone smacked two doubles, driving home a run herself. Alyssa Lancaster also registered an RBI. Junior Danielle Cacciola, who the Saints need to step up her game in the pitching circle, has been doing so, earning a win to improve to 2-1. Lauren Butts got a save, shutting down a late Blue Hen rally.

The Saints played tournament host Florida International later in the day, and beat them 5-4. Lauren Butts started this contest, getting the complete game win. She stranded FIU's potential tying run on second base in the seventh inning to end the game. Chelsey Drew was 1 for 1 in this one, giving her three hits for the day. The Siena freshmen are showing themselves to be instant contributors to the team: Mady Cossack had a big game, hitting 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Claire McNamara drove home a run also, and executed a perfect double steal with Jess Volmer, who scored on the play.

Elsewhere in the MAAC:

Quinnipiac has been playing good softball this young season, splitting a pair of games on Friday. They beat Buffalo 3-1 behind Sydney Robey's four hit pitching performance. The senior has an ERA of 1.44 thus far this season. Keilani Finley hit 2 for 3 in the win, with a double and RBI. QU fell behind 4-0 in their second game, vs. Rhode Island, but nearly pulled of a comeback after a sixth inning, three run home run by freshman Erin Larsen.

Defending champ Fairfield opened their season with a 5-2 loss to Butler. Tori Reed's third inning double had given the Stags a 2-0 lead, but they could not hold it, although they would have a few good opportunities to tie the game. Canisius dropped two error filled games; first 8-2 to Appalachian State, then 5-1 to Brown. Meghan Cuda did homer in game one. Rider dropped their first two games of the season. After storming out of the gate vs. Wagner, and taking a 4-1 lead, they allowed the game's final 13 runs in a 14-4 loss. They also dropped an 8-0 game to Appalachian State. St. Peter's began their season with a 10-2 loss to San Diego, but three of their freshmen pitchers did well in relief after a seven run first inning by USD. Iona opened their season with the return of Carly Argyle vs. Lehigh, and she pitched very well through a regulation seven innings. But the game remained 1-1; Iona had a chance to win in the bottom of the eight inning, but could not push a runner home from third base. They lost 8-2 in nine innings. They also dropped a 6-3 decision to tournament host Greensboro.

Fifteen games will be on tap for Saturday!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Four MAAC Teams To Open Season This Weekend

Manhattan, Marist and Siena will be on the beach!
 *Friday Update*
Turns out I was wrong when I wrote "Quinnipiac is guaranteed perfect weather". Their second Friday game has been delayed due to high winds!

The 2016 softball season continues on Friday with four more MAAC teams taking the field. Manhattan, Marist and Siena will all actually be participating in the same tournament, namely Eastern Michigan's annual Madeira Beach Invitational down in Florida. The weather will be splendid - mid 70s and sunny every day. Each team will play five games, but never against one another. Could be some scouting going on though! Quinnipiac is guaranteed perfect weather...because they will be playing indoors at Illinois-Chicago's Rosemont Dome Tournament. The Bobcats will also play five games.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

MAAC Season Is Underway

Moriah Harris won MAAC Player of the Week
The 2016 MAAC softball season began this past weekend with Niagara and Canisius taking the field. Both teams showed the usual out of the gym rust common to northeast teams, but each earned a win.

Niagara was in Cleveland (indoors), and  a pair of freshmen earned MAAC weekly honors when all was said and done. Looks like the Purple Eagles have found quite a pitcher in Canadian Sierra Bertrand, who was named Pitcher of the Week. Sierra earned the Purps' win over Bowling Green, and allowed no earned runs over the weekend. She also hit her first career homer at the plate. Rookie of the Week Jen Szilagyi also pitched well, but it was as a batter that she made her mark, hitting .500 for the set of games. Niagara hit .317 as a team, with Sarah March slugging a pair of home runs, and Chanelle Ward driving home three runs.

Canisius was out west for seven games, earning their first win of the season at Riverside on Monday (4-1). Erika Mackie and Madi Weathers teamed up for the win/save as they did often last season. Moriah Harris swung a hot bat for the Golden Griffins in earning Player of the Week. The sophomore hit .467 in the seven games. clubbing two homers while driving home four runs. The running Griffs stole ten bases over the weekend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

St. Peter's 2016 Softball Schedule

The Saint Peter's Peacocks will open their 51 game 2016 softball season with a long west coast trip beginning the weekend of February 26. After participating in the Amy Harrison tournament at Riverside on that date, the Peacocks will play a doubleheader at Loyola Marymount on March 1. Then it's off to San Luis Obispo to play in Cal Poly's Mustang tournament on the weekend of March 4. St. Pete's will conclude the tournament portion of their schedule at the Fordham tournament on the weekend of March 12.

St. Peter's will have their home opener on March 31 when they host Wagner for a doubleheader, then open conference play on the same field vs. defending champions Fairfield on April 2. The Peacocks will close their regular season on May 7 at MAAC foe Monmouth. St. Peter's will play seven home dates in 2016.

St. Peter's 2016 Softball Schedule

Saturday, February 6, 2016

2016 MAAC Softball Preview - Manhattan Jaspers

Senior Elena Bowman hopes to lead Jaspers to the title
2015 Record: 13-7 (26-20) 3rd Place
Head Coach: Tom Pardalis (7th Season)

Elena Bowman (C) .448 BA; 16 HR; 41 RBI; .920 Slugging %; 1.000 Field %

Emily Cutler (OF) .216 BA; 20 R; 1.000 Field %

Meredith Bryant (OF) .173 BA

Madison Bailey (OF) .250 BA

Zee Pierce (1B) .200 BA

Andi Stallard (C/OF) .145 BA

Anna Crowley (P/OF) 0-1; 3.60 ERA; .206 BA

Erin Hamm (P) 1-2; 3.39 ERA

Kelsey Brennan (IF) .000

Jenn Vazquez (1B) .336 BA; 11 HR; 41 RBI; 25 R

Stephanie Reinhardt (SS) .260 BA; 22 RBI; 23 R

Danielle Gabriel (P) 1-1; 6.08 ERA

Rachael Mumma 2B .250 BA

Briana Matazinsky (P/IF) 9-7; 3.91 ERA; .276 BA; 6 HR; 25 RBI

Victoria Ross (C/OF) .154 BA

Shannon Puthe (OF) Transfer (St. Joseph's)

Esther Gonsalez (IF)
Stephanie Kristo (P)
Lauren Pitney (IF)
Alexa Dawid (OF)
Kat Prevo (IF)
Dominique Palagruto (OF) 

The Manhattan Jaspers feel they have some unfinished business this year after a great season in 2015 that saw them fall just short in their championship quest. The player in the spotlight for the Jaspers, of course, is catcher Elena Bowman. Now a senior, Elena has been recognized as one of the top players in the nation after an epic 2015 season. She is deadly at the plate, with the ability to hit one out at any given time. She drives home runs; she scores runs; and she owns an astronomical slugging percentage. Somewhat overlooked is her defensive ability. Elena is the best catcher in the MAAC, and had a perfect fielding percentage in '15. An outstanding field leader who handles her pitchers very well.

MAAC teams rightly fear Elena Bowman, but if they choose to pitch around her (Elena was walked 34 times in 2015), they have another problem awaiting them by the name of Jenn Vazquez. Jenn's swing is just as powerful as her teammate's, and in fact she tied for the team lead in RBIs. Many a time she made teams pay for pitching around Elena Bowman. Overall, the Jaspers are a very good hitting team. Briana Matazinsky showed as a freshman that she too can hit for power. Junior Stephanie Reinhardt proved herself to be a very good all around hitter.

Manhattan lost stalwart Amy Bright to graduation, but will have a deep pitching staff this coming season. I think it is still to be played out as to who will emerge as the "go to" pitcher on the team. Erin Hamm and Anna Crowley are the seniors on the staff, and have both pitched well at times. Junior Danielle Gabriel, who pitched that fabulous MAAC tournament shutout as a freshman, was sidelined for much of 2015 with illness. Sophomore Briana Matazinsky posted a 9-7 record in 2015, and will make a strong bid for more innings. The Jaspers also have a very promising freshman, Stephanie Kristo, who as a senior at nationally renowned Archbishop Mitty high boasted an ERA of 0.95.

The Jaspers are one of the best coached teams in the MAAC, and I'm sure Tom Pardalis has set a high goal for his team this season.They are certainly one of the favorites to win it all.