Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year In Review

Another year ends and Canisius Softball enters its fourth decade of competition. Time for a brief look back.

Favorites to win the MAAC again, the Griffs open their season in Norfolk, VA on the 15th and sweep the Spartans. The 18-1 victory in game 2 was in the nation's top 10 for margin of victory. Freshman Lizzy Gatto hits a double her first at bat and freshman Katie Lancellotti hits a homer her first collegiate start.

The Griffs travel to Raleigh, NC on the 27th to take part in the North Carolina St. Wolfpack challenge. Canisius and Buffalo meet for the first of 4 games in 2009 with the Bulls winning 2-1 in 8 innings. The Griffs then lose to the host Wolfpack and the final 2 days of the tournament are rained out.

The busy month March begins with a trip to Huntington, WV and the Marshall tournament. The Griffs open against Buffalo and this time win 3-0 behind a 15 strikeout performance by senior pitcher Mallory Aldred. Sophomore Lauren Hope hits the first of 3 triples she would produce in the tournament. The Griffs finish 2-3, also beating Delaware 11-1.

On the 10th, the MAAC honors Lauren Hope as Player Of The Week; and Mallory Aldred as Pitcher Of The Week.

The Golden Griffins head west to California for a 10 day road trip that begins on the 13th in San Jose, CA at the National Invitational Tournament. The Griffs go 2-3 at the NIT, beating host San Jose St. in the bottom of the 7th with a Cameron Norton single; but also suffering their worst loss of the season, a 14-0 spanking at the hands of Long Beach St.

The Griffs play a doubleheader at St. Mary's College on the 18th, the second game of which is a marathon 13 inning 7-4 victory over the Gaels. Lizzy Gatto drives in the winning run in the top of the 13th, but the big story is the pitching of freshman Caroline Main, who in relief of Mallory Aldred pitches 11 innings allowing only 1 run in the longest game in Canisius softball history.

The Griffs stay in Moraga, CA for the St. Mary's tournament, in which they go 3-2. On the 21st the Griffs defeat Idaho St. 6-0 to give Head Coach Mike Rappl his 700th win at Canisius.
During the stay in Moraga, sophomore Paige Freiberger, from nearby Hercules, CA, wins 2 games (against Central Connecticut and Idaho St.) on the final at bat of the game.

On the 26th the Golden Griffins return to the cozy confines of the Demske Sports Complex for their home opener against Youngstown St. On a chilly, drizzly day Mallory Aldred pitches her first career no-hitter with 8 strikeouts and with the help of a 2 run Katie Lancellotti homer.

The Griffs close out March by opening MAAC play at Rider on the 28th. The teams split with Mallory Aldred getting the win in the second game with the help of Michelle Fridey's 3 for 3 performance.

After a week filled with rain delays, the Griffs open the home portion of their MAAC schedule by sweeping St. Peter's on the 5th with shutouts by seniors Juliette Bowers and Mallory Aldred. Katie Lancellotti knocks a grand slam homer in the second game.

The next day Canisius does the same thing to Manhattan, beating the Lady Jaspers 10-0 and 9-2, giving the Griffs a 5-1 MAAC record. Mallory Aldred pitched a total of 8 shutout innings, and senior Cameron Norton drove in the 100th run of her career as Canisius extend their home winning streak to 17 games, third longest in the nation.

Niagara pays a visit to the Demske on the 9th for a crucial MAAC doubleheader and dominates the first game winning 6-1 on the strength of 3 homers. In game 2, the Purple Eagles enter the 7th inning winning 4-2 when the Griffs orchestrate a stirring comeback. Senior Rachelle Barrientos wins the game with a line drive 2 run double to the fence. This win would be crucial in the Griffs' championship 2009 season.

On the 13th the Griffs travel to Syracuse to play their cross state rival Orange, and are no-hit the only time in 2009, stymied by freshman Jenna Caira.

On the 14th the MAAC honors Hollister, CA native Lizzy Gatto as Rookie Of The Week.

On the weekend of the 18th the Griffs hit the road for a pair of MAAC doubleheaders at Fairfield and Iona. This was the low point of the season as they lose 3 0f 4 and put themselves in a difficult postition in the MAAC standings.

On the 19th at Iona, sophomore Lauren Hope steals the 54th base of her career which sets the all-time Canisius record breaking the mark held by Jacqueline Fusco.

On the 23rd, the Griffs bombard local rival St. Bonaventure at the Demske on dual shutouts by Juliette Bowers and Mallory Aldred winning 8-0 and 7-0.

Marist comes to town on the 26th for a crucial doubleheader. This senior day marks the final home game for Juliette Bowers, Mallory Aldred, Cameron Norton, Rachelle Barrientos and Angela Turrey. The Griffs win the first game 8-4 as Katie Lancellotti drives in 3 runs; but lose the second game 4-2. The loss means Canisius must win at Siena the next weekend.

On the 27th Lizzy Gatto is once again named MAAC Rookie Of The Week.

The Griffs play a rescheduled doubleheader at crosstown rival Buffalo on the 29th, splitting the games and the season series.

On the 2nd the Griffs travel to Loudonville, NY to play the Siena Saints in a must win situation. They get the job done, powered by Mallory Aldred's 11 strikeout shutout and qualify for the MAAC Tournament.

On the 7th, the All-MAAC team is announced with Mallory Aldred, Lauren Hope, Paige Freiberger and Cameron Norton all named to the second team.

The same day the Griffs open play at the 2009 MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY by crushing Manhattan 8-2. Cameron Norton opens the festivities with a 3 run homer; Lizzy Gatto, Katie Lancellotti and Rachelle Barrientos each contribute 3 hits to go along with 9 Mallory Aldred strikeouts.

The second day of the MAAC Championship begins with the winner's bracket showdown between Canisius and Niagara, and sees the powerful Purple Eagles claim a first inning 4-0 lead. But the Griffs will not be denied, and fueled by Cameron Norton's stellar 4 for 4 performance (including her second homer of the tournament), they come back to win 6-4 and are in the driver's seat for the final day of action.

On the 9th, The Golden Griffins win their third consecutive and twelfth overall MAAC Championship by splitting games with the Niagara Purple Eagles on the final day of the tournament. The day begins with a closely fought 2-0 victory by Niagara. Juliette Bowers pitches 5 shutout innings in her final MAAC game, but the Griffs lose after Mallory Aldred comes in to relieve her in the 6th inning.

The second championship game was all Canisius. The Griffs win 9-0 to claim the title in a game that was never in doubt. Mallory Aldred throws a shutout for her 19th victory of the season, and the Griffs pound out 15 hits. Freshman Lizzy Gatto hits her first career homer; Paige Freiberger, Katie Lancellotti, Michelle Fridey and Rachelle Barrientos all have 2 hits. Senior Cameron Norton caps off an incredible tournament by hitting 3 for 3 with her third homer of the weekend, and is named MAAC Championship Most Outstanding Player. She, Lizzy Gatto, Mallory Aldred, Rachelle Barrientos and Michelle Fridey are all named to the Tournament Team.

On the 10th the Griffs learn they are selected to play in the National Tournament at the Columbus Regional and will open against host Ohio St.

On the 14th Canisius plays the 11th ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes and lose a close game, 3-0. Mallory Aldred allows only 6 hits to the 44-9 team, and Rachelle Barrientos smashes 2 doubles, but the Griffs leave 10 runners on base and can't produce a run.

The next day the Griffs end their season losing to Kentucky 7-0, finishing with a record of 26-25.
Rachelle Barrientos closes out her career with her third hit of the National Tournament.

The rest of the year saw a summer trip to the Dominican Republic, then the arrival of newcomers Chloe Contreras, Brittany Wood, Amanda Baun, Stephanie Pfentner and Taylor Klun. The Griffs had a productive fall season, winning the Nan Harvey Tournament. Valorie Nappo was brought aboard during the national early signing period.

The new season begins in 6 weeks!! Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Uniforms For The Griffs?

There's a rumor going around that the Canisius Softball team will have new uniforms for the 2010 season...ok, I'm starting the rumor! I know though that a lot of teams across the nation are switching to Adidas uniforms (including St. Bonaventure), and the Griffs did not wear uniforms this fall season (just tees and shorts), so who knows?
I have to talk about something in late December!

Some Canisius Uniforms From Past Years

Current Uniform

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mallory Holtman

I'm sure most of you have seen this before, but what you may not know is that Canisius coach Mike Rappl once recruited Mallory, and offered her a scholarship. She decided to stay close to home...

*Click button on player for full screen*

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kenmore's Gerace Leads Canisius Into NCAA Tournament

It's the middle of December, Canisius is on winter break and no one is playing any softball, so here's one from the archives courtesy of the Tonawanda News. It's about Griffs' star Jamie Gerace closing out her career and about to head to the NCAA Tournament against Virginia Tech and...Angela Tincher!

BUFFALO Pity Jamie Gerace. After four hard years working toward her history degree, the Kenmore native can’t take part in Canisius College’s graduation festivities Saturday.

“Most people, I think, would rather avoid commencement,” Gerace joked Wednesday. “It’s a four-hour event where you say goodbye to everybody. I can say goodbye today.”

Even a girl who can gab like Gerace doesn’t need four hours to do that.

Gerace has more important things on her agenda, anyway. She and her Golden Griffins softball teammates are returning to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in Gerace’s four years, having charged through last weekend’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships for the program’s 10th title since 1993.

Canisius will open against Virginia Tech, the No. 16 seed in the tournament, at 5 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio. The Griffs originally thought they’d meet host Ohio State in the first game of the double-elimination regional, but the schedule was modified after the NCAA admitted to making a clerical error.

Gerace, a two-time Western New York player of the year for Kenmore West, is hitting .280 this season, fourth-best on the team. She leads the Griffs in walks with 28 and her 33 runs scored rank second on the squad behind North Tonawanda graduate Katie Miranto, who set a school record with 44.

“She’s playing first base this year as well as anybody we’ve ever had,” said coach Mike Rappl, who’s in his 28th season. “She’s really done a good job handling that position, whether it’s fielding bunts or getting back for pick-offs. Also, being a team leader in the infield, she’s got all the cut-offs coming in and she goes and settles the pitchers down in key spots.”

Gerace was a shortstop prior to shoulder surgery after her freshman season. Rehabbing her shoulder and switching positions delayed Gerace’s development, Rappl said, and affected her confidence up until the early part of this season.

“There’s growing pains that come with adjusting to college,” Rappl said. “And an injury just compounds that.”

“I was stressing out over little stuff,” Gerace said. “Coach likes to read to us from this book (“The Mind Gym”) and when he did that, it really hit me dead on. The book is kind of like a sports version of “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.” ”

As Gerace gained confidence, so did her teammates. Canisius has won eight in a row and 17 of its last 19 as Gerace has emerged as the team’s most vocal presence.

“She’s a great leader,” Miranto said. “She has a personality that attracts people to her.”

Gerace counts Ken West assistant Joe Catalano among her greatest influences, and hopes to soon get into coaching. But once the tournament is over, she’s looking forward to some down time.

“Softball has consumed my life,” she said. “My family lives seven minutes away and I barely have time to go see them. I’m looking forward to just hanging and not having any responsibilities.”

PS: Angela Tincher no hit the Griffs in that game! Then the next year she did it to Team USA!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Buffalo Bulls Softball Fan Site Changed

We've decided we like the blogger format best, so you will find the UB page from now on here:

It will also be found in the blog roll on the right hand side of this site.
All the Buffalo posts have been exported there.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2010 Syracuse Softball Schedule

The Orange will be hosting Buffalo for a doubleheader on March 24, and will be at the Demske Sports Complex for two against the Griffs on May 4.

Syracuse pitcher Jenna Caira (Richmond Hill, Ontario)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Michelle DelPrince

One of the players to watch the next two years is ECIC 1 First Teamer Michelle DelPrince. Michelle is in her junior year at Lancaster High. She also plays for a very talented New Era Diamond Girls team. Her positions are 3rd base and outfield. Watching Michelle play at last year's Aunt Rosie's tournament I noticed that she has all the tools: she's fast, has a good arm, a good bat. The one play she made that I noticed was a slide into 3rd base, and if I recall she was out but her slide was so hard that the third baseman did not enjoy making the play. Here's a view of Michelle, click the button on the player for full screen:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let It Snow

Before Lake Effect

After Lake Effect

What does this have to do with softball?
The first big storm means softball season is just around the corner!
And to the new California girls on the team, this is a very rare event around here.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Griffs Announce Val Nappo Signing

"Valorie is the type of player any coach would be happy to have on their team," (Coach Mike)Rappl said. "She has a true love and understanding of the game, along with the offensive and defensive skills to play at the Division I level. She is a fierce competitor with a slick glove and a constant bat, but she can also hit for power."


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Buffalo Player Profiles

The Buffalo Softball player profiles are being posted, and will be completed tonight.
Go here:

Canisius Softball All-Time Records

*UPDATED 5-18-13*

Batting (Season)
Average: .500 Debbie Cowell (1987)

Hits: 70 Jenny Maheu (2008)
Katie Miranto (2008)

Runs: 54 Katie Miranto (2008)

RBIs: 52 Michelle Fridey (2010)

Doubles: 22 Diana Calandra (2000)

Triples: 9 Jody Tassone (1995)

Homers: 11 Paige Freiberger (2010)

Stolen Bases: 40 Lauren Hope (2008)

Slugging %: .800 Debbie Cowell (1987)

Walks: 31 Paige Freiberger (2011)

Sacrifice Hits: 17 Tricia Andres (1994)

Hits By Pitch: 15 Michelle Fridey (2010)

Batting (Career)

Average: .448 Meg Thompson (1988-91)

Hits: 227 Katie Miranto (2005-08)

Runs: 161 Katie Miranto (2005-08)

RBIs: 144 Meg Thompson (1988-91)

Doubles: 46 Jody Tassone (1993-96)

Triples: 26 Jody Tassone (1993-96)

Homers: 19 Jess Martin (2005-07)

Stolen Bases: 118 Lauren Hope (2008-11)

Sacrifice Hits: 49 Tricia Andres (1992-94)

Walks: 83 Paige Freiberger (2008-11)

Pitching (Season)
Wins: 21 Veronica Maher (2000)

Saves: 15 Mallory Aldred (2008) *

Complete Games: 20 Michelle Corrigan (1992)
Kristin Spak (1995)
Caroline Main (2010)
Jen Consaul (2013)

Strikeouts: 238 Andrea Bunten (2004)

ERA: 0.57 Michelle Corrigan (1993)

Appearances: 41 Mallory Aldred (2008)

Shutouts: 12 Kristin Spak (1995)

No Hitters: 2 Michelle Corrigan (1994)
Natalie Kelterborn (1994)
Andrea Bunten (2004)

Starts: 29 Veronica Maher (2000)
Juliette Bowers (2008)

* NCAA Division 1 Record

Pitching (Career)
Wins: 74 Michelle Corrigan (1991-94)

Saves: 21 Mallory Aldred (2006-09)

Complete Games: 74 Michelle Corrigan (1991-94)

Strikeouts: 663 Andrea Bunten (2002-05)

ERA: 0.84 Michelle Corrigan (1991-94)

Appearances: 113 Genevieve Garcia (1999-02)
Lindsay Morris (2004-08)

Shutouts: 31 Michelle Corrigan (1991-94)

No Hitters: 5 Michelle Corrigan (1991-94)

Starts: 97 Michelle Corrigan (1991-94)

Andrea Bunten

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is The Rest Of The Big 4 Catching Up To Canisius?

Our 4 Division 1 softball teams are preparing for the upcoming season. How do they stack up against one another?

Canisius, Buffalo, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure comprise what is unofficially known as the "Big 4". Historically, Canisius has dominated play, as noted by the Griffs' all-time record vs. these schools:

vs. Buffalo 23-15
vs. Niagara 81-18-1
vs. St. Bona 47-11

Last season wasn't all that much different. The Griffs and Buffalo split four games; the Bulls winning their two in extra innings with both winning runs coming off very strange bounces of the ball.
Niagara showed well splitting at Canisius; in fact they were two outs away from sweeping the Griffs. But Canisius took two of three from the Purple Eagles in the MAAC Tournament, including a 9-0 victory in the Championship game.
St. Bonaventure was overwhelmed in their two games at Canisus.

I think things are beginning to change.

Niagara has been yipping at the Griffs' heels the past few seasons, and have a very talented team. They just need to get over the MAAC hump. I was impressed by their determination when they visited the Demske last April for that doubleheader. And frankly, they were the better team for 13 innings until the Griffs exploded in the bottom of the 7th of the second game to save their season.
I think all they need is to taste success at the tournament level. The Griffs' experience showed in the MAAC Championship game. Niagara returns a talented team this season and may get their chance to gain that experience.

Buffalo had a Division 1 team in the olden days, but only returned at the beginning of this decade and have had some tough seasons. Last year, they had a lot of difficulty in MAC play, including at home. But changes are happening fast. Coach Jennifer Teague has had what I believe are two very good recruiting seasons. I was very impressed by her new players this fall. I expect the Bulls to make the MAC Tournament this year, and for years to come. But, the rumors going around are that the Bulls are looking to move one day to the Big East Conference. Or possibly the Atlantic 10. At any rate, there's no reason why the Bulls shouldn't be a dominant force in the MAC.

St. Bonaventure plays in a difficult conference, which includes schools such as powerful UMass, Charlotte, and Fordham. They have done well in the past, but I think they are gearing up to compete with these schools on a more regular basis. Coach Threehouse just finished recruiting what I believe are going to be key components in this upgrade. Especially pitcher Jen Sansano, who was heavily recruited. He's already projecting her to be the best pitcher in Bonnies history; in fact he goes so far as to speculate if she may end up as the greatest pitcher in Atlantic 10 history! He's coached against Brandice Balschmiter, so I guess he knows what he's talking about!
I was impressed by the Bonnies in fall ball---they all seemed to be on the same page as they say.

The game of College Softball is evolving so fast. If you just started watching now, you don't know. The game has exploded amongst girls all over the country, and the young women who make it to Division 1 were all outstanding youth players. There are more players to go around, so I see a shift coming in the Big 4. Which is good for Western New York Softball fans. Canisius blazed the trail, the others are catching up. I like and root for the other three teams, except when they play Canisius!

Come out and watch them play. They're getting better every year.

Jen Sansano signing National Letter Of Intent

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Valorie Nappo Signs With Canisius

Valorie Nappo of Clarence (NY) has signed a National Letter Of Intent to play softball with Canisius College beginning with the 2011 season, this according to the LaNova website.
More information if and when it becomes available.

I'm guessing this will be the Griffs' only signing this year. Once again, congratulations Val!

More about Valorie here: