Grand Valley State University Picked To Win GLIAC Title In 2013 Coaches’ Preseason Softball Poll

 

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BAY CITY, Mich. -- The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) softball coaches selected Grand Valley State University to win the league title in the 2013 GLIAC Softballl Preseason Poll. The league expands to 14 teams for the 2013 season with the addition of Walsh University and Malone University.

The league's head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their team.

2013 GLIAC Softball
Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

 

 Place

School (1st votes)

Points

     

1.

Grand Valley State (12)

168

 
2.
Wayne St. (2)

150

 

3.

Ashland

138
 

4.

Ferris State

137

 

5.

Tiffin

104

 

6. 

Ohio Dominican

101

 

7.

Hillsdale

93

 

8.

Saginaw Valley State

90

 

9.

Northwood

81

 

10.

Findlay
71

11.

Walsh

60
 

12. 

Malone

28


13. 

Lake Superior

26
 

14. 

Lake Erie

23

 

GVSU finished on top of the 2013 GLIAC Preseason poll after claiming the 2012 GLIAC regular season title with a 45-15 overall record.  The Lakers tallied 168 points and twelve first-place votes.

Wayne State University grabbed second in the poll with 150 points and the final two first-place votes. WSU was the 2012 GLIAC Tournament Champion and earned a spot in the NCAA D-II Midwest Regional Tournament last year. Ashland University placed third in the poll with 138 points, followed closely by Ferris State University with 137 points to come in close fourth.

Tiffin University collected 104 points just edging out Ohio Dominican University with 101 points for fifth place. Hillsdale College  grabbed seventh place and tallied 93 points, followed by Saginaw Valley University with 90 to finish in eighth place.

Northwood University grabbed 81 points to finish the poll in ninth place. The University of Findlay tallied 71 points to finish 10th in the poll while Walsh University would finish 11th with 60 points. Malone University finished 12th with 28 points, followed by Lake Superior State in 13th (26 points) and Lake Erie College in 14th with 23 points.

This season, the GLIAC Softball Tournament will be played at Marathon Diamonds in Findlay, Ohio on May 3-5.

For more information about GLIAC softball please visit the GLIAC softball web page at: www.gliac.org.

 

  ---       The following are previews of all 14 GLIAC Softball teams for the 2013 season       --

 

 

 

 

Grand Valley State Lakers
Head Coach:  Doug Woods
23rd Season
2013 Preseason Pick: 1st
2012 Record:  (45-15, 24-8 GLIAC)




OVERVIEW: GVSU is coming off a 45-15 record in 2012, the sixth most wins in school history. The Lakers, last season's GLIAC regular season champions, were 24-8 in GLIAC play, totaling the most conference victories ever for Grand Valley State. Last season, GVSU hit 53 home runs; every one of those roundtrippers were hit by players that return this season. The 2012 team hit .348 (sixth-best in Division II) and returns eight starters and Grand Valley State's winningest pitcher from last season.

INFIELD: Returning at shortstop is junior Briauna Taylor, who was an NFCA All-Midwest Region First Team selection last year after hitting .398 with a GLIAC-high 13 homers and 56 RBI. Joining her on the left side of the infield is junior third baseman Miranda Cleary, who has 28 home runs in her first two seasons in Allendale. The right side of the infield includes senior second baseman Kayleigh Bertram, who hit .366 with 11 doubles, six homers, and 35 RBI and junior first baseman Tonya Calkins, a .352 hitter last season with 30 RBI and 22 walks. GVSU's starting catcher will be senior Emily Holt, who hit .306 with 17 RBI last season.

OUTFIELD: The centerpiece of the outfield is senior centerfielder Nellie Kosola, a First Team All-GLIAC choice and a Second Team All-Region selection by both Daktronics and the NFCA. Kosola led the GLIAC in hits (85) and triples (eight) last season, hitting .411 and scoring 56 runs. In right field is senior Emily Jones, who is a career .317 hitter and has amassed 30 doubles, five triples, and 12 home runs. Returning to left field is junior Brittany Taylor, who missed last season due to injury, but hit .400 with seven homers and 34 RBI in 2011, her first softball season at GVSU.

PITCHING: The team's ace is expected to be senior righty Hannah Santora. A Daktronics All-America Third Team honoree last season, Santora went 24-6 in 2012 with a 1.90 ERA. It was her first season in Allendale. She struck out 153 batters in 202.2 innings and led the GLIAC in shutouts (seven), complete games (26), and opponents batting average (.207). Look for freshman righthander Sara Andrasik to also log some innings in the circle. One final possibility as a pitcher for the Lakers is senior Katie Martin. Last season, Martin hit .426 with 18 doubles, 10 homers, and 52 RBI, while being walked 28 times.

COACHING: 23rd-year head coach Doug Woods returns after a tremendous 2012 season. Not only did Woods win his sixth GLIAC Coach of the Year honor, but he captured his 800th career victory in a mid-April win over Ohio Dominican. In his previous 22 years, Woods is 813-374-3 at Grand Valley State, which includes 10 NCAA Tournament appearances.

 

  Wayne State Warriors
  Head Coach: Gary Bryce
  32nd Season
  2013 Preseason Pick: 2nd  
  2012 Record:  (22-10, 34-22 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: With 13 of the 19 players on the roster in either their first or second year of college, head coach Gary Bryce along with assistants Pat Kent and Nicole Abel will have to do plenty of teaching and molding during the 2013 campaign.

INFIELD: Vying for playing time around the infield are a plethora of new faces.  Freshman Jade McGarr will bat second and play third base for the Warriors in 2013.  "She has a really good arm and quickness."  Another newcomer, freshman Gabby Williams, played well in the fall at shortstop.   "Down the road she will be a quality shortstop."  Three different players started at least 10 games each behind the plate last season.  Former hockey player Julie Ingratta (.302, 1 HR, 14 RBI) is taking the year off due to past injuries.  Sophomore Emily Bryce (.189, 9 RBI) and junior Amanda Burnard (.250, 1 HR, 8 RBI) are strong defensively but will need to improve their offensive production in 2013.

OUTFIELD: The outfield is a different story where all three starters from a year ago are back in the fold.  Junior left fielder Logan White led last year's team with a .397 batting average and was hit by a pitch an incredible 12 times.  Sophomore center fielder Shannon Hilton hit .283 and had just two errors while covering a lot of ground based on her quickness.  Right fielder Stephanie Foreman, a steady performer the last three seasons, enters her senior campaign tied-for-14th in career home runs (12), tied-for-second in sacrifice flies (8), seventh in RBI (109), 16th in doubles (32), 22nd in walks (34), 24th in total bases (214), 30th in runs (78), and 33rd in hits (146).   

PITCHING: After having Sam Cain earn 22 wins a year ago in the circle and toss over 200 innings, the Warriors will be looking for new faces to emerge on the mound.  Sophomore Briana Lee garnered nine wins in 2012, while senior Emily Wickerham made 14 appearances last season.  Mackenzie Boehler, Lyndsay Butler, and Lee should all see time in the circle for the Warriors.  Wickerham is a down thrower that will be used to give batters a different pitch to see.  

COACHING: Bryce (1041-637-7), who has led WSU to 17 NCAA tournament appearances in his 31 seasons at the helm of the Warrior softball program, does have six returning starters led by GLIAC Co-Player of the Year Nikki Fulton (.390, 12 HR, 44 RBI).


  Ashland Eagles
  Head Coach: Sheilah Gulas
  17th Season
  2013 Preseason Pick: 3rd
  2012 Record: (42-17, 23-9 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: The Eagles went 42-17 a year ago, 23-9 in the GLIAC. Ashland advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the fourth consecutive year and won 20 or more games in GLIAC play for a fourth straight season. Only three starters are gone from that team, but those three – Emlyn Knerem, Alyssa Kelley and Bri Woody - are huge losses. Knerem led the GLIAC in wins and strikeouts and was the GLIAC pitcher of the year and Kelley, a third baseman, was second in the conference in batting average and was the GLIAC's co-player of the year.

INFIELD: There are no questions on the right side of the infield. Senior first baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) and junior second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/MassillonWashington) are returning starters and both were named honorable mention All-GLIAC a year ago. Sophomore Jamie Weber (Orient, Ohio/Teays Valley) backed up Woody last year and will be the starter this season. The Eagles believe sophomore Jerrica Young (Loudonville, Ohio) can handle the chores at third base. She was a catcher/designated player a year ago and was fourth in the conference in homers (10) and tied for eighth in RBI (41). Senior Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale) is back for her fourth year as the starting catcher.

OUTFIELD: Taylor Menhart (Twinsburg, Ohio) emerged as one of the GLIAC's brightest young players a year ago. Menhart, a sophomore, brought an exceptional glove to center field and she hit .347 (second on the team) with a .572 slugging percentage. She tied for eighth in the conference in RBI. In left field, junior Carly West (Ashland, Ohio/Hillsdale) is back for her second year as the starter.  In right field, the Eagles will rely on junior Kourtney Yarnall (Canton, Ohio/Perry) for a second consecutive year.

PITCHING: This is the biggest question mark on the team. Who can fill the 231.2 innings that Knerem threw last year? Sophomore Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne) is the most experienced pitcher on the staff. McDermott was 12-6 last year and started 17 games. Sophomore McKenna Galloway (Brunswick, Ohio) was limited to 13 games and seven starts due to injury. Injuries sidelined sophomore Sarah Alley (Milford, Ohio) for the entire 2012 season. Two freshmen – Brittany Flanigan (Louisville, Ohio) and Zoe Myers (Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) - are bidding for innings.

COACHING: Sheilah Gulas is in her 17th season as AU's head coach. She is 569-269 at Ashland. In 25 years as a college head coach she is 772-393. Gulas is AU's leader in career victories.

 

 Ferris State Bulldogs
 Head Coach: Marie Foster
 1st Season
 2013 Preseason Pick: 4th
 2012 Record: (31-24, 19-13) GLIAC)

 

 

OVERVIEW: Ferris State returns 13 letterwinners and plenty of experience from last season's squad that posted a 31-24 overall record during the 2012 campaign. FSU won 15 of its final 21 contests en route to reaching the championship round of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament and narrowly missing an NCAA Division II National Tournament bid.  The Bulldogs will be under the direction of a new head coach as Michigan native Marie Foster takes the reigns.

INFIELD: The Bulldogs lost two all-conference starters in the infield from a year ago at the corner positions, but return veteran experience to help fill in the gaps.  Seniors Lainee Clay and Liz Hamming are back at second base and catcher, respectively, while sophomore Michelle Tononi was the team's starter a year ago at shortstop.  Senior Lindsey Pettit was the designated player and saw action in the outfield last season, but is expected to compete at first base.  Another senior, Allison Webber, is a candidate to contend at third base.  Newcomer Taylor Verbic will add depth in the infield.  Both Pettit and Hamming hit a team-high nine home runs each a year ago while Tononi was one of five players to start all 55 contests.

OUTFIELD: Senior Morgan Kramerich, who was an All-GLIAC Second Team selection a year ago, will anchor down one of the outfield positions were only one starter was lost to graduation. Kramerich hit .308 with 56 hits last season. Juniors Brittney Buti and Alex Wittman along with sophomore Jordan Maxwell should also figure into the mix along with a pair of freshmen in Alyssa Smith and Rachael Gabrielson.

PITCHING: The Bulldogs return plenty of experience in the circle as seniors Dana Bowler and Emily Carlson will help headline the rotation along with junior Amy Dunleavy and sophomore Cara DeLange.  Dunleavey also claimed All-GLIAC Second Team accolades and was a NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team pick in 2012.  She batted a team second-best .340 with 51 hits and 39 RBI's while also pitching in 23 games and compiling an 11-8 overall record in 117 innings pitched.  All four saw action last season.  Freshman Stacy Thompson should help supply additional depth.

 COACHING: First-year head coach Marie Foster takes over the program for Dawn Thompson, who served as FSU's interim head coach last year.  Foster played collegiately at Division I Western Michigan and previously was the head coach for four years at Dakota Wesleyan University where she built a competitve program with teams that set numerous school records.  Before becoming a head coach, she worked as an assistant coach at several levels of competition.

 

  Tiffin Dragons
  Head Coach: Jeff Nickerson
  5th Season
  2013 Preseason Pick: 5th
  2012 Record:  (17-15, 27-25 GLIAC)


 

OVERVIEW: The 2012 season was one of ups and downs for the Tiffin University softball team.  The Dragons roared out to an 8-1 start before winning just three of its next 16 games.  TU fired back with 14 wins in the next 20 games.  Tiffin finished 17-15 in the GLIAC and 27-25 overall and qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the second year. It's almost a brand new look in 2013 as the Dragons have four starters and seven letterwinners back out of 18 players.

INFIELD:  In the infield, Second Team All-GLIAC player Payton Denman returns after hitting .292, while Emily Shaw also returns to play shortstop after hitting .264 and scoring 16 runs. Lesy Herbert and All-GLIAC player Caitlin Houk will split time at catcher. Houk hit .298 with 30 RBI while Herbert batted .237 with 23 RBI. Newcomers Brianna Gamm (second base) and Madison Yanek (third base) also bring strong hitting to the squad.

OUTFIELD: In the outfield, Katie Toomey returns after playing in 31 games last season, but youth will be served at the other spots. Kristin Prokopakis will man centerfield, while Jena King and Kasie Sepeda will also see much action.

 PITCHING: On the mound, senior Amber Young returns after going 12-13 with a 2.93 ERA in 2012. She also had 162 strikeouts and set a new single game record last year with 22 strikeouts in a game. She will be joined by a talented trio of hurlers in Madison Yanek, Kimberlee Hetrick, and Kelsey Yaratch.

COACHING: Jeff Nickerson enters his fifth year with Tiffin. He has an overall record of 290-210 and a TU record of 124-82.
 

 

  Ohio Dominican Panthers
  Head Coach: Marcella Vanlandingham
  18th Season
  2013 Preseason Pick: 6th
  2012 Record:  (26-28, 20-12 GLIAC)

 

 

 

OVERVIEW: With the return of eight letterwinners, the Panthers are ready to finish what they started last season, which is to continue to compete and improve at the Division II level, and has now been three years. Last year's squad finished 26-28 overall and 20-12 in conference action.  Highlights included an eight game win streak, which included a four game sweep of Findlay.

INFIELD: Junior Caitlin Jividen (Wheeling W. Va.) will once again make up one half of the middle infield, where she is the early season projected shortstop. Jividen played 44 games at short where she posted a .917 fielding percentage. She ended the 2012 campaign with 19 RBI, ranking her fourth amongst her Panther teammates, and third in doubles, finishing with eight. Sophomore Alex Cribari (Lyndhurst, Ohio) makes the transition from behind the plate to the "hot corner" this season. Cribari was the GLIAC's Freshman of the Year and First Team selection. Last season, Cribari led all Panthers in batting, posting a .350 average. She knocked in 19 RBI and swiped 14 bases. She also led the team and conference in hit by pitches with 21. Behind the plate, she only allowed eight stolen bases, and caught 10 runners stealing.

OUTFIELD: Key returner to the outfield is senior Brooke McCartney (Salem, Ohio). McCartney started all 54 contests for the Panthers and posted a .980 fielding percentage while committing just one error. At the plate, McCartney finished first on the team in at-bats (177), runs scored (29), second in RBI (20), and hits with 49. She led the team with 17 stolen bases, ranking her third in the GLIAC.

PITCHING: Returning to the circle for the Panthers is sophomore All-GLIAC Second Team selection Rachael Stanzel (Angleton, Texas). Stanzel compiled a 15-10 record during her freshman debut while throwing a team-high 187.2 innings and finished with an earned run average of 2.83. She posted 87 strikeouts, which placed her first on the team and ninth among her GLIAC counterparts.

COACHING: Marcella Vanlandingham is in her 18th season as head coach at Ohio Dominican University.

 

Hillsdale Chargers
Head Coach: Joe Abraham
2nd Season
2013 Preseason Pick: 7th  
2012 Record: (25-24, 17-15 GLIAC)

 

 

OVERVIEW: There's plenty of excitement surrounding the 2013 Hillsdale College softball team. The Chargers are coming off their first winning season in six years after registering a 25-24 record in 2012. Although the program lost four talented seniors to graduation, a talent-packed freshman class enters the fray ready to pick up the slack as coach

INFIELD: With experience up the middle, and newcomers on the edges, coach Joe Abraham is hoping to find the right mixture for the Chargers this season. Seniors Kate Hoop (shortstop) and Miram McKay (second base) are back for their fourth seasons starting at their respective positions. Hoop's offense has improved each season of her career, and had her first over-.300 season in 2012. McKay also has some pop in her bat and is one of the team's best leaders. Junior Kristi Gordon had a strong fall season and will be playing third, along with freshman Danielle Garceau and possibly sophomore Katie Ardrey, when she's not pitching.

OUTFIELD: First-Team All-GLIAC centerfielder Taylor Schulty is the most experienced outfielder on the roster, and enjoyed her best season in 2012, belting five home runs with a .345 batting average. A group of players will be vying for time to flank Schulty in left and right field, led by returning sophomore Jessica Day. Other players in the mix for starting positions include sophomore Courtney Day and freshman Ainsley Ellison. Abraham's emphasis on team speed will be seen the most strongly by the team's outfielders.

PITCHING: Sophomore Katie Ardrey carried a big load on the pitching staff last year, tossing 140 innings with nine wins, the most by a freshman Charger pitcher in 10 years. She won seven of her first 11 decisions a year ago and proved she could be tough on GLIAC hitters. The aforementioned Klopfer and Grunert join her as the team's primary starters. Klopfer was impressive in the fall with her location, while Grunert showed an ability to change speeds with her pitching in her time on the mound in the fall.

COACHING: Joe Abraham enters his second season after turning Hillsdale into one of the GLIAC's most improved teams a year ago. He guided the program to a 25-24 record, its first winning season since 2006, and an appearance in the GLIAC Tournament. With the arrival of his first full recruiting class in 2013, his imprint on the program continues to grow. Erin Porter enters her third season as assistant coach, and plays a huge role in all aspects of the program's operation.

 

Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
Head Coach: Todd Buckingham
1st Season
2013 Preaseason Pick: 8th
2012 Record:  (21-25, 14-18 GLIAC)

             

            
 

OVERVIEW:  The Cardinals are ready to move forward after going 21-25 overall and 14-18 in the GLIAC. The Cardinals will be led by first year head coach Todd Buckingham.

INFIELD: 1B is set with junior Lindsay Hayward being named the starter. 2B will see time split between redshirt freshman Kait McBride, sophomores Marcy Medina and Amanda Kimes and freshman Shelby Weeks. All four play well enough to warrant playing time among the infield positions. SS is secured well into the future with senior Kailah Happ starting and Weeks playing backup and grooming for the starter role next year. Both Happ and Weeks have quick releases and cannon arms. 3B underwent a shakeup as Medina, who was the preseason favorite to start coming off injury, moved primarily to 2B. This means that starter minutes will now be distributed to Kimes,, senior Devon Eley, and sophomore Jordan Randall, with Medina seeing minutes as needed. Senior Ashley Beal is the frontrunner to manage the pitchers this season.  She has a great knowledge, blocks well and possesses quick release.    Redshirt freshman Kari Knight and sophomore Haley Niedzwiecki will see action as well this season.  Knight has tremendous power and may also see action at DP.

OUTFIELD: There will be many combinations used throughout the year. The top starting frontrunners are Randall, sophomore MacKenzie Rousee and senior Kaitlyn Kenyon. Seniors Jenna Holmes and Katie Smith should see a lot of minutes in their final years with the Cardinals. Senior Sammie Sutton and redshirt freshman Chelsea Adcock round out the list of outfielders, giving the Cardinals a very deep and talented pool to choose from. Rouse has great leadership qualities, tracks the ball well with a quick first step and is the clear choice for centerfield. Kenyon is a great contact hitter and exhibited explosiveness at the plate in the fall. Holmes and Smith are two of the best on the team at putting every ball in play. And, Sutton and Adcock will put constant pressure on the defense with their speed. Who plays will come down to matchups and who is hot at the plate at the time.

PITCHING: Four pitchers look to make an impact this season. Senior Jill Williamson is the only pitcher on the staff with any game experience and will be counted on to be the leader. Redshirt freshman Chelsea Davis will also get an opportunity to help the team with her control and movement on the ball.  True freshmen Sarah Appold and Sarah Vrabel will also be counted on to fill starter spots. The amount of success the Cardinals have this year will come down to how well these three develop and perform.

COACHING: Todd Buckingham enters his first season as head coach of the SVSU softball team after being hired in June of 2012.

 

 

Northwood Timberwolves
Head Coach: Meaggan Pettipiece
7th Season
2013 Preseason Pick: 9th
2012 Record:  (20-28, 15-17 GLIAC)


 

OVERVIEW:  The Northwood University softball team appears ready to take a step forward after going 20-28 a year ago.  NU, which won two games in the GLIAC tournament, will have a familiar look this season.  The Timberwolves did lose second baseman Andrea Martin, but return almost every other key player from the 2012 season.

INFIELD: Replacing Martin, a two-time All-GLIAC honoree, will not be easy.  But Northwood returns the rest of the infield, led by First Team All-GLIAC shortstop Stacey Klonowski.  She led the team in batting average (.374), home runs (nine) and RBI's (29).  Northwood's corner infielders are strong as well.  First baseman Sam Zaborowski ranked second on the team in RBI's (24) and was excellent defensively.  Paige Shields plays a strong third base and ended her junior season with a .406 on-base percentage.  A number of contenders have emerged to fill Martin's role at second, with the leading candidate being sophomore Mallory Sebald.   Sophomores Lindsey Obremski and Tiffany Smith will hold down the catching position this season.

OUTFIELD: A pair of seniors, Marisa Borkowski and Rachel Hammer, anchor the Northwood outfield. Hammer earned Second Team All-GLIAC honors a year ago in centerfield, batting .307 while driving in 21 from the leadoff position.  Borkowski claimed First Team All-Region honors as a sophomore and hit .294 as a junior in right field.    Left field will feature a number of players that earned starts a year ago, led by Brittany Merner and Malinda Smith.

PITCHING: Last season, Northwood featured an extremely young pitching staff, sporting three sophomores and two freshmen.  The leader of the staff a year ago is back in sophomore Maddison Sebald, who won seven games.  Junior Catie Kaliszuk also earned seven wins for the Timberwolves, while sophomore Emily Somerville won six games.  That trio will be joined by freshmen Casey Brown and Kayla Gust, each of whom have performed well early in their careers.

COACHING: Northwood head coach Meaggan Pettipiece is in her seventh season at the helm of the Timberwolves, entering the season with a 131-139-1 overall record.  She is joined by Stefanie Rossman, who is in her second season with the program but her first as a full-time assistant coach.

 

Findlay Oilers
Head Coach: Ron Ammons
11th Season
2013 Preseason Pick: 10th 
2012 Record:  (23-24, 14-18 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: The Oilers finished with an overall record of 23-24 last season, including a 14-18 mark in the GLIAC. All of the defensive starters return for Findlay as well as two of the three starting pitchers, giving UF renewed hope for this season. The Oilers aim to avert a late-season fade, which has inhibited them during the past several years.

INFIELD: Three seniors will lead the Oilers infield, with Carly Borders (.303, 5 HR, 18 RBI) at first base, Lauren Mathias (.221, 18 RBI) at catcher and Brittany Dauterman (7-5, 3.02 ERA, .370, 7 HR, 43 RBI) both pitching and serving as DP. Dauterman was a first team all-GLIAC and all-Midwest Region selection in 2012. Juniors occupy the other positions with Emily Reynolds (.196, 15 RBI) at shortstop, Tori Allen (.372, 6 HR, 19 2B, 36 RBI) at second base, and Jackie Messersmith (.263, 14 RBI) at third base. Sophomores will also share time with Emily Stewart (.288) at third and Morgan Arnold (.206) catching.

 OUTFIELD: The Oilers outfield will be led by senior Jenna Motuza (.340, 16 RBI, 34 RS), with juniors Courtney Dwyer (.291, 29 RBI, 11 SB) and Anna Britvec.  Junor Kelsey McKenty will also be available along with sophomores Lindsay Hamilton and Kari Sparling.

PITCHING: Junior Tawna Whited (11-10, 4.13, 72 K) will join Dauterman in the pitching circle, along with freshmen Nicole Motuza and Bonnie Zappitelli.

COACHING: Head Coach Ron Ammons returns for his 11th season at UF with a career record of 157-300-1.

 

    Walsh Cavaliers
    Head Coach: Jaime Porter
    2nd Season
    2013 Preseason Pick: 11th
    2012 Record:  (36-18, N/A GLIAC)

 

 

 

OVERVIEW: Walsh returns 12 letter winners, and starters at seven positions, as they prepare for their first season in the GLIAC. The Cavs finished 36-18 last season and won the American Mideast Conference regular season championship.

INFIELD: The Cavs return starters at every position except shortstop. Erin Ebert (Sr.,) will play first base, when not pitching. Freshman Fallon Gawry will play first when Ebert is pitching. Veteran Dana Brown (Sr.) returns at second base. Brown, a 2nd-team All-AMC choice, hit .346 with four doubles and four triples. She was a perfect 15-15 on the bases.  Calee Ruppel (So.) takes over at shortstop. Ruppel hit .390 last year, as the Cavs's main designated hitter. Veteran Kendra Gerber (Sr.) returns at third base. Gerber, a 1st-team All-AMC selection hit .336 with a team-best 17 doubles.  The Cavs infield is solid.

OUTFIELD: The Cavs return two starters and have a veteran outfield.  Chelsy Testa (Jr.) returns in left, with Kayla Marcus (Jr.) back in right. Testa earned 1st-team All-AMC after hitting .397 with 10 doubles, 14 stolen bases and 41 RBI. Marcus, a 2nd-team All-AMC choice hit .346 with 26 RBI. Eryn Simon (Jr.) takes over in centerfield. Simon hit .288 in 23 games last year.

PITCHING: Senior Erin Ebert comes off a superb year. The right-hander finished 16-8 with a 1.56 ERA. Ebert fanned 148 in 147.2 innings and completed 18 games and tossed 10 shutouts. She will be the workhorse of the staff.  Also counted on heavily will be University of Toledo transfer Casi Rohr (So.) and freshman Marissa Bondoni, both are right-handers.

COACHING: Jaime Porter (55-35, 2 yrs).

 

Malone Pioneers
Head Coach: Whitney Hartman
4th Season
2013 Preseason Pick:  12th
2012 Record:  (10-25, N/A GLIAC)


 


OVERVIEW: The Malone University softball team will unveil many new faces as the squad enters its first year in GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics) play. The Pioneers return four members from last year's team (two position players), which finished with a record of 10-25. One of those returning players, leading hitter from a year ago Desi Givens, is out for the year with an injury, leaving them with one returning position player

INFIELD: Anchoring the infield will be freshman shortstop Alexa Holztrager. Hartman raves about the youngster's strong arm and also likes the pop she provides at the plate. She will be joined in the infield by fellow freshmen Carly Holcomb, who figures to anchor the hot corner at third base, and second baseman Marionna Cane. The first base position is still up in the air but senior Shelby Snyder, sophomore Stephanie Byrne and freshman Amy Donze should all get looks when not pitching. Power hitting freshman Emily Isla will receive the bulk of the load behind the plate, receiving the occasional spell from another freshman, Lisa Cordova.

OUTFIELD: Junior Katy Carr, the lone returning position player eligible to play this year, will solidify the outfield. Carr, who hit .243 last season, should pressure opposing defenses with her speed and bat control. Freshman centerfielder Karissa Melgoza covers a ton of ground as well. Hartman referred to Melgoza as an "anchor" in the outfield.  Look for her speed and agility to be an asset on both offense and defense for the Pioneers. Cordova figures to assume the other outfield position for the majority of the games.

PITCHING: The top pitcher from a year ago, senior Shelby Snyder, returns to bolster the pitching staff despite battling a preseason injury. Snyder went 6-10 in 18 appearances last season finishing with a 4.20 ERA. She threw six complete games and three shutouts and also led Malone with 65 strikeouts. Snyder's leadership will combine with freshman Amy Donze and returning pitcher, sophomore Stephanie Byrne.  Byrne concluded her freshman season with a 2-6 record, amassing a 5.75 ERA and finishing second on the team in complete games (4) and strikeouts (39).

COACHING: Head Coach Whitney Hartman, who begins her fourth season after amassing a 36-61 record in her first three, will have to rely primarily on first-year players to get the job done.

 

Lake Superior State Lakers
Head Coach: Lori Shimasaki
3rd Season
2013 Preseason Pick: 13th
2012 Record: (8-31, 5-27 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Lake Superior State returns eight starters, including two pitchers, in 2013.

INFIELD: Returning infielders include sophomore shortstop/catcher Amanda Maxon, who led the Laker offense with a .366 average, seven home runs and 32 RBIs, and junior slapper and second baseman Haleigh Edgar, who batted .289. Other veterans include junior Dani Reveley and sophomore Allison Traczyk.

 OUTFIELD: Junior Heather Cuthrell and sophomore Alyssa Avila are returning starters in the outfield. Avila also led the Lakers in stolen bases. 

PITCHING: Junior pitcher Felicia Gingrich was 4-13 with a 4.40 earned run average, while sophomore Brandi Anderson was 1-3 with a 2.61 ERA.

COACHING: Head coach Lori Shimasaki is in her third season. Her career record at LSSU is 13-59 overall and 7-51 in the GLIAC through two seasons. In 2012, the Lakers finished 8-31 overall and 5-27 in the GLIAC.

 

Lake Erie Storm
Head Coach: Kristin Hall
3rd Season
2013 Preseason Pick:  14th
2012 Record: (5-44, 2-30 GLIAC)



 

OVERVIEW: The Lake Erie College softball looks to improve on the foundation laid last year as the young squad looks to make noise in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this year. The Storm (5-44, 2-30 GLIAC) return seven letterwinners from last season and welcome eight freshmen to the program who will look to make an immediate impact.

INFIELD: Junior All-GLIAC Julia Brotzman (Madison, Ohio/Madison) returns to anchor the Storm's infield. In her sophomore year, Brotzman led the Storm with a .379 batting average while knocking in 17 runs on 53 hits. She will be joined by redshirt-sophomore Maddi Klemp (Akron, Ohio/Conventry) who hit .273 and stole nine bases in her first year at Lake Erie. Sophomore Amber Dowen (New Lyne, Ohio/Pymatuning Valley), who made 28 starts last season, also returns for the Storm. Freshmen Mackenzie Quinn (Ypsilanti, Mich./Milan), Morgan Studd (Wakeman, Ohio/Western Reserve) and Meredith Scholle (Ada, Mich./Forest Hills Central) look to make an immediate impact in the infield and at the plate.

OUTFIELD: Senior Chelsey Bleck (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay) and junior Jeniffer Gratz (Richwood, Ohio/North Union) return to secure the corners of the Storm's outfield. Gratz made 43 starts in 2012 and tallied 21 hits. Bleck made 35 starts, scored seven runs and stole three bases. Klemp is also expected to help out in the outfield. Freshman Courtney Hawk (New Lebanon, Ohio/Dixie) will join the two veterans in the outfield, taking the center field position.

PITCHING: Junior Dawn Ondercin (Sheffield, Ohio/Brookside) returns to the mound to lead the Storm pitchers. Ondercin started 24 games her sophomore season, pitching in 161.1 innings and striking out batters. Sophomore Amanda Anderson (Streetsboro, Ohio/Streetsboro) enters this season with starting experience after starting in two games and appearing in 13 in 2012. Senior Lyndsie Delprato (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) made six appearances in a relief role in 2012. Freshman Katarina Davis (Independence, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) is expected to join the Storm's rotation in the spring.

COACHING: Kristin Hall returns to the helm of the Storm for her third season. Hall, a 2004 Schreiner University grad, enters the season with 15-82 record. She will be joined by second-year assistant coach Jeff Morganti, a 1989 Akron University graduate. Erika Bennett joins the coaching staff this season as a graduate assistant after a successful collegiate career as a pitcher at Marshall University and Miami Dade College.

 

 

 

OVERVIEW: The 2012 season was one of ups and downs for the Tiffin University softball team.  The Dragons roared out to an 8-1 start before winning just three of its next 16 games.  TU fired back with 14 wins in the next 20 games.  Tiffin finished 17-15 in the GLIAC and 27-25 overall and qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the second year. It's almost a brand new look in 2013 as the Dragons have four starters and seven letterwinners back out of 18 players.
INFIELD:  In the infield, Second Team All-GLIAC player Payton Denman returns after hitting .292, while Emily Shaw also returns to play shortstop after hitting .264 and scoring 16 runs. Lesy Herbert and All-GLIAC player Caitlin Houk will split time at catcher. Houk hit .298 with 30 RBI while Herbert batted .237 with 23 RBI. Newcomers Brianna Gamm (second base) and Madison Yanek (third base) also bring strong hitting to the squad.
OUTFIELD: In the outfield, Katie Toomey returns after playing in 31 games last season, but youth will be served at the other spots. Kristin Prokopakis will man centerfield, while Jena King and Kasie Sepeda will also see much action.
PITCHING: On the mound, senior Amber Young returns after going 12-13 with a 2.93 ERA in 2012. She also had 162 strikeouts and set a new single game record last year with 22 strikeouts in a game. She will be joined by a talented trio of hurlers in Madison Yanek, Kimberlee Hetrick, and Kelsey Yaratch.
COACHING: Jeff Nickerson enters his fifth year with Tiffin. He has an overall record of 290-210 and a TU record of 124-82.
 

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