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.

Friday, February 6, 2015

2015 St. Joseph's Preview: Young Pitching, Experienced Hitting

St. Joseph's comes into 2015, after a slightly disappointing 2014. The Hawks were never really able to capture momentum from their finish in 2013 and were inconsistent all year long, especially in the circle. Coach Terri Adams' squad still showed great fight last and almost advanced to the Atlantic 10 Tournament final. She is going to be looking for this squad to finish the job.
Niki Carillo (photo by Vincent Dusovic)

It all starts in the circle and Coach Adams has a very young, but talented staff. Anna Lauterbach and Niki Carillo return in the circle, while talented freshman Madison Clarke joins the mix. Former Fordham great Jen Mineau is also on board as the team's new pitching coach, which should pay huge dividends for this young group. Last year, Lauterbach went 6-4 with a 3.12 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 54 innings. Lauterbach brings the ball with some heat and Coach Adams is going to need her to step up. Carillo comes back after a solid freshman year, which saw her go 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 54 innings. Coach Adams is going to be counting on her two tall pitchers for significant innings in 2015. Canada native Madison Clarke joins the fold and she is going to be a good one. Clarke has talent galore and she can bring the ball with some heat. Clarke will definitely be a contender for Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.
Hannah Dionne (photo by Vincent Dusovic)

The Hawks are extremely deep behind the plate, as both starters return from last season. Hannah Dionne is the incumbent at catcher, as she came on strong at the end of last year. Dionne hit .359 with 23 hits, 1 HR, and 15 RBI. If Dionne can put up these numbers again, St. Joseph's is going to be in great shape. Stephanie Chaiser is also back behind the plate and she should see some time out there as well. Alexis Bush may also see some action at catcher.
Ashley Alden (photo by Vincent Dusovic)

The Hawks are in great shape in the infield, as most of their talented group is back. Nicole Palase is back at shortstop, Sarah Yoos is back at second, and Ashley Alden returns at first. Last year, Palase hit .276 with 34 hits, 4 HR, and 18 RBI. Coach Adams is going to be looking for her to put up even bigger numbers in 2015. Yoos suffered a bit of a sophomore slump after winning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in 2013, but she still had a solid season in 2014. Yoos hit .268 with 30 hits, 1 HR, and 15 RBI, but also had an on base percentage of .436. The Hawks are going to need more production out of Yoos this year. Ashley Alden had an outstanding 2014 season after transferring from Rutgers, hitting .345 with 39 hits, 6 HR, and 23 RBI. Morgan Earling has graduated, which means the Hawks will have a new starter at third and it looks like Brandi Harkness may get the nod. Last year, Harkness hit .230 with 29 hits, 4 HR, and 20 RBI. Coach Adams is going to look for even bigger power numbers from Harkness in 2015.
Melissa Ruf (photo by Vincent Dusovic)

St. Joseph's will have a young outfield in 2015, but a mighty talented one. Leadoff hitter Isabella Picard is back after a solid freshman season, which saw her hit .279 with 9 RBI and 11 steals. The Hawks are going to count on Picard to get on base once again and cause problems for opposing defenses. Melissa Ruf is back after an outstanding junior season. Last year, Ruf hit .363 with 33 hits, 2 HR, 17 RBI, and 9 steals. Ruf is an important player for the Hawks, both in the outfield and at the plate. Madeline Brunck is also back and her speed could be a difference maker for the Hawks. Brunck is a speedy lefty, continuing St. Joseph's tradition of talented lefty hitters. Freshman Nikki Alden is going to be a player to watch. Nikki Alden is the sister of Ashley Alden and she is a stud. Nikki Alden is a highly touted power hitter and she is going to be a handful for opposing hitters.

Designated Player
Kerrie Kortmann finished last season hitting very well and could earn the spot of designated player. Kortmann hit .292 and was clutch at the Atlantic 10 Tournament last season. A number of other players could also see time at designated player for the Hawks.

St. Joseph's will feature a very manageable nonconference schedule in 2015, as it will start with a few easier games, before ramping up the competition. The Hawks will travel to Wilmington, Raleigh, Myrtle Beach, and Tampa for tournament to open up the year. Some highlights of the nonconference slate include matchups against NC State, Coastal Carolina, North Dakota State, Iowa State, Purdue, and Long Island. For conference play, St. Joseph's will host URI, UMass, Dayton, and St. Louis. The Hawks will hit the road to face George Mason, Fordham, La Salle, and St. Bonaventure. St. Joseph's will not face George Washington this season.

The Hawks are going to be a young team in the circle and experienced everywhere else. St. Joseph's is going to have a powerful offensive lineup that could one of Coach Terri Adams' best lineups ever. These Hawks have power and speed and they are ready to fly. This team could have the ability to go toe to toe with Fordham offensively. For the Hawks, it will all come down to pitching. If the young pitching staff can step it up, they will compete for the Atlantic 10 title.

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