A10 Softball Blog

An Atlantic 10 Conference Softball Fan Blog written from a fan's perspective. It is not affiliated with the conference or any of the teams.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Atlantic 10 Softball's Graduating Class of 2012

Lorena Vela 2B

Lauren Nacke DP
Brandy Brown 1B
Sarah Wedel P
Courtney Kutsulis C
Megan Barrett OF

Jen Mineau P
Nicole Callahan 2B
Lindsey Kay Bright OF
Jo Krasnisky UT

George Washington
Kara Clauss P
Heidi Penna P
Jamie Yaniga OF
Sandi Moynihan IF
Lauren Wilson OF
Jordyn O'Donnell OF
Jillian Stanley C
Amanda Zakeri OF

La Salle
Heather Brabazon OF
Shannon Skomorucha C
Breanna DiTommaso OF

Sara Plourde P
Kyllie Magill 2B
Jordan Storro IF
Stephanie Mayne C
Stephanie Mix OF

Rhode Island
Nicole Massoni C
Alison Hartzell P
Jhokania DeLos Santos OF
Brittany Julich OF

St. Bonaventure
Diana Phalon P
Ashley Nowak DP
Brittany Storch 2B
Brooke Frey C
Kristin Sullivan OF

St. Joseph's
Erin Gallagher P
Lauren Pembleton P
Alaina Loguidice 1B
Bernadette Moran 2B

St. Louis
Kelcie Matesa P
Hannah Huebbe P
Rachel Faletto 3B
Kerri Dockins 2B
Kelly Flanagan UT
Liz Jones C

Capri Catalano P
Rachel Knable 1B
Melissa Robbins OF
Samantha Schoell 3B
Alysse Pujol OF
Christina Sykora OF
Meaghan Marley 2B

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Offseason News and Notes

Butler will be joining the Atlantic 10 in 2013. This will give the conference 12 teams to schedule in conference play, which will likely result in a 22 game schedule with Butler serving as the travel partner of Dayton. Temple and Charlotte will be remaining in the conference for the 2013 season before moving on to the Big East and Conference USA respectively.

Butler softball had an up and down 2012 season, but they were able to knock off eventual champion Valparaiso in the Horizon League Tournament. The Bulldogs could be strong contenders for the conference tournament this season, as the top three pitchers all return. Jenny Esparza could be an early favorite for pitcher of the year next season. The Bulldogs also return a lot of offensive power, so it will be interesting to see how they fair. Butler did not play any games with Atlantic 10 schools last year.

In other news, Temple has signed three players for next season, including Leah Lucas 2B of the SoCal Diamonds who was previously mentioned here, along with Annie Marcopolus OF of the Newtown Rock, and Jessica Tolmie, a pitcher from New South Wales, Australia. These three will join fall signee Kelsey Dominik, as the Owls will look to build off of their 3rd place regular season finish in 2012. They will be counted on to replace one of the most talented classes in recent Temple history: Rachel Knable, Melissa Robbins, Samantha Schoell, Alysse Pujol, Christina Sykora, Meaghan Marley, and recent addition Capri Catalano.

Of note: the Atlantic 10 has had foreign players in the past including 2004 Canadian Olympian Kaila Holtz of UMass who was a 2-time pitcher of the year. The A10 has not had a player from Australia in the past, so Jessica Tolmie will be the first. Tolmie will be a bit of a mystery to everyone going into next season.

Elsewhere Jen Sansano will be transferring from St. Bonaventure. Always a pleasure to watch in the circle and we wish her well as she moves on to her new school.

If you have any offseason news, please email atlantic10softball@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Emma Mendoker transfers to UMass

One of the top pitchers in Western Mass history, Emma Mendoker will be transferring back to her hometown of Amherst to pitch for UMass.

Mendoker had an amazing high school career, which included being named Massachusetts Gatorade State Player of the Year last season. She absolutely dominated the competition en route to a runner-up finish in the MIAA Division 1 State Final to King Phillip (which also had future A10 players). Mendoker played high school ball with Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Quianna Diaz-Patterson at Amherst Regional HS.

Mendoker also played travel ball with Diaz-Patterson for the Polar Crush. The Crush have been very nice to the Minutewomen in the past, sending Jess Serio, Bailey Sanders, Carly Morin, Bailey Sanders, Amanda Morin, Jenna Busa, and Michea Holness as well as multiple others.

Mendoker will be coming off a freshman season at East Carolina, which she redshirted due to an injury. Mendoker will team with Caroline Raymond, Lindsey Webster, and Bridget Lemire in the circle next year for the Minutewomen.

If you have any recruiting news please email atlantic10softball@gmail.com

Columbia Regional

UMass is the A10's lone representative at Regionals this year at they will head to Columbia, Missouri.

The Minutewomen will open up with DePaul and the other teams at the Regional are Missouri and Illinois State. University Field has one of the more unique set-ups in all of college softball, though it does bear some slight resemblances to the UMass Softball Complex. DePaul and Illinois State are both quite familiar with Missouri's home field as they were also sent to Columbia last season. In fact, this will be the fourth straight year that DePaul plays at the Columbia Regional.

Missouri comes in with a record of 43-12 and they will be the favorites in this Regional. For the Tigers it all starts with US National Team member Chelsea Thomas. Thomas features a great drop and outstanding changeup and also may be the hardest thrower in all of college softball. Thomas' numbers this year have been outstanding, as she is 23-7 with a 1.07 ERA and 262 SO in 189 IP. Thomas is going to see all of the action for the Tigers and she will be a tough egg to crack. The good thing for all of the teams here is that there is plenty of video out on her, the bad thing is that is shows just how dominating she is. On offense, Missouri is strong, but not necessarily scary as they are hitting .269 with 49 HR. Missouri does like to run and they have attempted 91 steals and have been successful on 76 of them. Opposing catchers will have to be on their toes. Ashley Fleming leads the Mizzou offense, hitting .372 with 58 hits, 15 HR, 48 RBI, and 9 steals. Nicole Hudson is the other Tiger to watch, hitting .306 with 44 hits, 7 HR, 36 RBI, and 8 steals. Of note, no other Tigers are hitting above .300.

DePaul comes into the Regional with a 35-20 record and this team is always ready to play. The Blue Demons are led by fiery head coach Eugene Lenti and this is a scrappy team. In the circle, southpaw Kirsten Verdun leads the way, as she is 26-13 with a 1.65 ERA and 247 SO in 250 IP. Verdun will be very tough on lefties which could make a big difference this weekend. Verdun is also a leader for the Blue Demons at the plate, hitting .373 with 11 HR and 40 RBI. Samantha Dodd is another Blue Demon to watch as she is hitting .337 with 55 hits. The Blue Demons don't stand out in any one statistical category sans defense, but they are fundamentally sound and find ways to win. Not to mention the fact that they are always tough come tournament time.

UMass enters the Columbia Regional with a 38-11 record and a 22 game winning streak. The Minutewomen are arguably the hottest team coming into this Regional and in many ways they have the big X factor for this Regional. Sara Plourde is one of the most dominating pitchers in NCAA history and she can completely take over a game. Her rise ball is one of the best pitches in college softball. Her numbers in the circle are just staggering as she is 36-9 with a 1.73 ERA and 520 SO in 295 IP. She leads the nation in wins, total SO, SO per 7 innings, and hits allowed per 7 innings. But her game goes far beyond that, as she is also a big bat in the Minutewomen's lineup. She is hitting .315 with 29 hits, including 11 HR with 29 RBI. She has only hit fulltime for 28 games, which makes these figures that much more astonishing. She is not the only UMass bat worth watching, as Cyndil Matthew gets things going for the Minutewomen out of the leadoff spot, hitting .414 with 65 hits, 1 HR, 19 RBI, and 34 steals. A key for opposing teams will be to keep her off the bases. Quianna Diaz-Patterson is another player to watch, as she has had an outstanding freshman season, hitting .341 with 56 hits, 4 HR, and 41 RBI. The top of the Minutewomen's order is tough to stop and if they can also get production from the bottom, they may win this Regional.

Illinois State is the fourth team at this regional, but they are no slouch. Melinda Fischer's squad is one of the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference year in and year out and they are always ready to play. The Redbirds are led in the circle by Jordan Birch who can hold her own with the other big names in the circle at this Regional. Birch is 23-12 this season with a 1.55 ERA and 221 SO in 212 IP. Birch will be the key for the Redbirds, if she is on her game she could make some things happen. The Redbird offense is led by Lizzie Andrews who is hitting .340 with 55 hits, 6 HR, and 25 RBI. Jhavon Hamilton is another one to watch as she is hitting .309 with 12 HR and 36 RBI to go along with 10 steals. The Redbirds have a shot to make some noise, but they will need to be on top of their game.

How the teams stack up:
Batting Average
UMass .278
DePaul .274
Missouri .269
Illinois State .266

Home Runs
Missouri 49
UMass 40
Illinois State 36
DePaul 35

Missouri 76
UMass 66
DePaul 49
Illinois State 39

Missouri 1.54
UMass 2.19
DePaul 2.28
Illinois State 2.66

UMass 536
Missouri 410
DePaul 330
Illinois State 322

Opponents BA
UMass .149
Missouri .186
DePaul .221
Illinois State .254

Fielding Percentage
DePaul .976
Missouri .975
UMass .966
Illinois State .963

UMass' recent history against each team:
8-0 L in 2012
2-0 W in 2009

Illinois State
1-0 W in 2010 (no-hitter)

Have not played since 2002

Prognosis: This is going to be a brutal Regional. This is the second toughest Regional by RPI and it has four teams with a legitimate shot of beating any other. The big key will be the winner's bracket. Last year, Morgan Melloh was ousted at this regional by losing two games in the loser's bracket and she was one of the top pitcher's in the nation. If UMass is to win this regional it must do so by beating DePaul in its first game and then beat presumably Missouri in its second game. If UMass can avoid the scrum of the loser's bracket they will be in a good position to advance. This is going to be a brutally competitive regional and there may be quite a few 1-0 ballgames. It may come down to who can get on the scoreboard first. UMass can do it, but it is going to be tough.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

All-Conference Awards

These are our awards and may differ slightly from those issued by the conference on Tuesday:

Atlantic 10 Player of the Year: Sara Plourde P UMass
Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year: Sara Plourde P UMass
Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year: Quianna Diaz-Patterson P UMass
Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year: Elaine Sortino UMass

All-Atlantic 10 1st Team
P Jen Mineau Fordham
P Sara Plourde UMass
C Steph Pasquale Temple
1B Brandy Brown Dayton
2B Bernadette Moran St. Joseph's
3B Elise Fortier Fordham
SS Quianna Diaz-Patterson UMass
OF Cyndil Matthew UMass
OF Lindsey Kay Bright Fordham
OF Briana Gwaltney Charlotte
DP Paige Ortiz Fordham

All-Atlantic 10 2nd Team
P Erin Gallagher St. Joseph's
P Kara Clauss George Washington
C Lauren Rendon St. Joseph's
1B Jamie LaBovick Fordham
2B Nicole Callahan Fordham
SS Sarah Prezioso Temple
SS Ashley Snider St. Bonaventure
OF Lauren Wilson George Washington
OF Autumn Taylor George Washington
OF Jessica Buschjost St. Louis
OF Dana Parks St. Joseph's
DP Lindsey Webster UMass

All-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team
P Kayla English Dayton
P Lexi Betancourt Charlotte
C Lauren Rendon St. Joseph's
C Jackie Kleinsmith Charlotte
SS Quianna Diaz-Patterson UMass
SS Nicole Palase St. Joseph's
SS Tori Valos George Washington
OF Alex Rogers Charlotte
OF Melissa Ruf St. Joseph's
OF Natalie Mariano Dayton
DP Paige Ortiz Fordham

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Live Chat

A live blog for the final Saturday of the regular season