La Salle Explorers
2011 Record (A10 Play): 5-38 (2-16)
Returning Position Players: Shannon Skomorucha C, Breanna DiTommaso OF, Heather Brabazon OF, Liz Reed 2B/OF, Tristan Musho C, Kati Cooper C/OF, Jackie McBride 3B, Emily Moran UT, Megan Hodgson UT, Jamie Dellinger OF, Danielle Cullen 2B/OF
Pitchers: None returning
Losses: DJ Guinn P, Laura Beth McCreesh P, Kristen Paoletti P, Rebecca Turygan P/2B, Ali Shepherd SS
Newcomers: Kristin Travers P, Alicia Aughton P, Alyssa Bitsimis P, Linnette Seidler OF
Pitching: This is the huge question mark for the Explorers, as not a single pitcher returns. Coach Brianne Brown is going to be counting on freshmen Kristin Travers, Alicia Aughton, and Alyssa Bitsimis in the circle. If La Salle is going to be successful this year they will need to adjust to Division 1 softball right away. Each pitcher will see a fair bit of action this year and it will be interesting to see who steps forward as the staff ace.
Catching: This one of of the areas of strength for the Explorers, as they return two catchers with Division 1 starting experience in Shannon Skomorucha and Tristan Musho. Both catchers should see a fair number of innings behind the plate, in addition to some at bats at designated player. Both catchers have strong arms and solid bats, but more importantly they will counted on for leadership with a young pitching staff.
Infielders: The Explorers bring back all but one infielder from 2011 and they will look to a talented sophomore class to lead the way. Jackie McBride, Emily Moran, and Megan Hodgson all return to anchor the infield. Each had a solid freshman debut, but they will really look to make their mark in 2012. McBride and Hodgson will likely anchor the corners and the heart of the order for La Salle. Liz Reed and Emily Moran will likely start in the middle infield positions and they will also likely be at the top of the Explorers order. Danielle Cullen is another Explorer who could see some significant time in the infield.
Outfielders: La Salle also brings back its starting outfield from last season with Heather Brabazon, Jamie Dellinger, and Breanna DeTommaso. Kati Cooper and Danielle Cullen are also back and freshman Linnette Seidler joins the mix. The Explorers will count on this speedy bunch of outfielders to track down fly balls in the outfield. Coach Brown will need increased production from this group at the plate, the power and speed numbers for La Salle's offense last year were frankly unimpressive. In fact, 2011 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jocelyn Dearborn finished the season with more HR and steals.
Schedule: The Explorers have a slightly more manageable schedule this season, as there are plenty of opportunities to pick up more than 5 wins on this schedule. La Salle will head to three non-conference tournaments this year and fortunately for the Explorers they will face just one BCS team (Villanova) which isn't exactly a power. It is also worth noting that the schedule on the La Salle website has a glaring mistake, as it has the Explorers facing off against William & Mary on March 17th, unfortunately William & Mary doesn't have a softball team.
Postseason prognosis: Just like with Rhode Island, La Salle should be much improved in 2012, but they will be up against some powerful teams in the Atlantic 10. It is hard at this point to see La Salle finish anywhere but 10th or 11th.