Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Diamond Girls Website

This seems to be a comprehensive site covering all the DG teams.
Click on the Diamond Girls icon on the left hand side of this page to visit.

Time Lapse Snow!

This is very off topic, but here is the recent east coast blizzard in a 20 hour time lapse photography video taken in New Jersey.

Of course,this NEVER happens here!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Could Be A Record Breaker

I'm going out on a limb on this cold holiday season night to predict that the Golden Griffins will set a school record for wins in a season in 2011. I've had this thought since their 2010 season came to an injury plagued end last May.

For the Griffs to set the school record, which was established by the 2008 team when they won their 39th game in the NCAA Tournament, everything will have to break their way. The 2011 team is deep, having lost only one player to graduation. In fact, they will have two more players on the roster this season (they played with only 15 in 2010). We may as well begin with that departed player, the great Michelle Fridey. Sophomore Stephanie Pfentner will be filling Michelle's spot this year, and while we can't expect her to put up "Fridey-like" numbers (yet), it should be noted that Stephanie had a great fall season and was hitting the ball all over the place (including a grand slam homer). It looks like Stephanie has adjusted her bat to the college game, and she's already solid defensively behind the plate. Marissa Miller will back her up, and get a chance to adjust to the new level.

But Stephanie Pfentner does not have to "replace" Michelle---that leadership and production will come from the upperclassmen. The Griffs have very talented and seasoned senior and junior classes. Eleven of them in all (I count Katie Medina as an upperclassman even though she's a redshirt sophomore). I want to put the spotlight here on junior Katie Lancellotti. Katie could very well turn out to be the school's all time power hitter with the numbers she has produced her first two seasons. I have a strong feeling though that she is going to explode her next two seasons. She's a strong, smart player now with experience. Recalling her Clarence days, she was a dominant athlete. And she is going to be surrounded by great hitters.

Seniors Lauren Hope and Emily Helbig played with ease this past fall. Both players could make serious bids at the .400 average mark. Lauren is going to run wild this season as she chases the MAAC stolen bases record. The girl is almost impossible to throw out. Watching her carefully, I noticed what a great slider she is. A lot of her thefts were close plays, but the tags were never made because she wasn't near the ball. She's an all around ball player too, and has a surprisingly good arm in the outfield. And she's a fierce competitor---she does not like losing. I recall one incident where she was called out on a third strike, without swinging, and she mumbled something in the direction of the umpire who swiftly jerked his head toward the batter's box as if to execute an ejection. But Lauren had already sprinted to the bench and he was looking at a blank spot! I think she is going to do everything in her power to end her career with a third title.

Emily Helbig once again owned MAAC pitchers in 2010. She hit .395 in MAAC games; but she did very well against all pitchers last season. This fall she was basically hitting extra base hits every time up. But for me watching her, she's such a calm influence in the field, where she is the best defensive player in the conference. The only Canisius (regular) player in history to go a whole season without committing an error. As a senior, I believe she will increase the confidence of the team. Backing her up will be another senior, Kerry Ulmer, who will have a chance to be the team's regular designated player. Kerry had a hot streak at the plate at one point last season and she will have the opportunity to replicate that.

Junior Lizzy Gatto is one heck of an all around player who, if she did not break her finger, would have had a .400 season in 2010. At the time she got hit by a Sarah Minice fastball, she was the hottest hitter in the MAAC outside of Teresa Healy. Lizzy can do it all, and she'll be chasing .400 again. The Griffs' outfield will be solid in 2011 with Lizzy, Lauren Hope and the tandem of Amanda Cannizzo and Lauren Falzone. Amanda is a tough, clutch player who proved it with her dramatic 2 rbi 7th inning game winner in the MAAC Tournament vs. Manhattan. Freshman Val Nappo is a wildcard. She was outstanding in fall ball, hitting everything in sight and hard. The girl does not strikeout. Literally, she did not strike out her senior season at Clarence. Coach Rappl may have no choice but to find her a spot in the already deep lineup. Sophomore Chloe Contreras may have trouble cracking the lineup this season, but she did produce when called upon in 2010 and will once again be used as a pinch runner.

The Griffs really are loaded offensively. Watch out for Katie Medina this season. She progressed dramatically within her first season of play. She has the best eye on the team, and an outstanding swing. Combine these elements with her athleticism and you have a dangerous player. Again, she will be surrounded by a talented lineup and has no problem taking a walk to let someone else drive her home. Junior Lauryn Chris will back her up at second, and is still IMO the best base runner on the team. She will be the Griffs' primary pinch runner again.

With all this offensive power, it almost seems unfair that Canisius has the best pitching duo in the conference. Both Griff hurlers made All-MAAC in 2010, and look to be even better this season. Caroline Main was unbeatable in conference play until she was injured in the MAAC Tournament. She seemed to be enjoying herself too as the season progressed and I'm sure she can't wait to get out there again. Amanda Baun had a fabulous freshman season, finishing second in the MAAC in ERA and setting school records for freshman wins and strikeouts. If the team scores as much as I believe they will, Caroline and Amanda will be pitching with leads much of the time. Jen Consaul will be afforded the time to develop properly.

Captain Paige Freiberger is the heart of the team this season, and after missing last season's MAAC Tournament she may have that little extra incentive going for her. It had to be a very disappointing end to her record breaking season. She'll get another chance. Paige is Ms. Clutch---how many games did she pull out of her hat last season? She won't have Michelle Fridey batting next to her this time, but as I have shown above she will have more. The other teams may try to pitch around her, but it won't do any good. I look for Paige to end her Canisius career in a blaze of glory...

Of course, all the pieces have to fall in place for the Golden Griffins to set the record this season. They must remain healthy. They must get the odd break here and there. They must win the games they ought to win. They must post the occasional upset. Above all, they must have the desire. They can acquire that desire from their championship experienced upperclassmen. And from their coach. Mike Rappl, the most successful Division 1 coach in Western New York (that's for all sports), knows how to acomplish the kind of season I believe this team can have. He has certainly assembled a talented squad. He's assembling a talented future squad as I write. It never ends for him; he's the one constant. He wants to raise the level of the program higher. This team can help him do it. The 2011 team I believe is talented enough to win the MAAC and more.

How's that for some winter rambling? Snow is everywhere, the schools are empty. Softball season is just around the corner!!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lauren Hope Tours The Bases

Snowy December nights make it difficult to write about softball so what better time to delve into the video archive.

This video is from the Griffs' game at Buffalo last April, and features the speed of Lauren Hope who runs around the bases to produce a run as she often does. She places a soft pop perfectly into left field, and watch how fast she gets to second base. Would have been a single for most players.

If you watch Lauren bat you'll notice before she steps up she has her eyes all over the field, ascertaining where she will place the ball. A couple years ago during a game against Youngstown State, I was sitting next to a YSU parent when Lauren came up to bat. The second baseman creeped in ever so slightly, and I said to the parent, "triple to right field". Next pitch Lauren went in to third standing up, and the parent moved away from me!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Local Players Hit The Road

Four local players are going out of town to continue their travel ball careers with very elite teams.

Caitlin Attfield, Meghan Cuda and Yasmin Harrell will be playing for the TC Tremors Elite, an outstanding team out of central New York which has the reputation of helping its players get noticed by college coaches. Chelsea Plimpton played for this team in her high school days.

Tori Nappo (pictured) is playing for the New Jersey Intensity Elite; in fact she already has played with the Intensity this past summer and fall. Tori has been chosen as a top national 2012 recruit by Spy Softball Magazine, so she has been noticed. We'll follow the progress of these elite local players of course.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rumors And Facts

I've heard a rumor, and I know a few facts, but I've been too busy digging out to dig in.

Anyway, the weather is horrible at present, but that only means that softball season is around the corner. And after perusing the Griffs' 2011 schedule, I stick by my prediction that they will set the school record for wins. More on that later...now back to shoveling :(

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Griffs Release 2011 Schedule

Canisius College has released its official 2011 softball schedule.

Aside from the games I previously wrote about are these:
The Griffs will play in the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, FL on the weekend of February 25-27. Opponents are unknown at this time; apparently Canisius pulled out of the Hampton tournament.

The Griffs will be playing a non conference doubleheader at the University Of Detroit Mercy on April 5; on May 4 they will visit Robert Morris University for a pair of games. The remaining MAAC doubleheaders I did not previously mention are:
At Siena on April 23; at Rider on May 7.

I don't think the Griffs' schedule is as difficult as last season, but it is filled with challenges.
Season begins in 2 1/2 months!

Friday, December 3, 2010

St. Bona Affected By Different Weather

I hope Coach Threehouse of St. Bonaventure doesn't mind me posting his photo (link to his blog is in the blog list on the right hand side of this page), but I just had to.

While we had a massive lake effect storm the last two days (which has now passed), Olean was afflicted with flooding. Here you see St. Bona's beautiful McGraw-Jennings Field underwater---the whole field is submerged.
Hope everyone is safe and dry down there.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let It (Stop) Snow(ing)

I'm within the infamous narrow band of lake effect snow. If you are too, I hope you are safe and warm. Let's pray for the quick rescue of the people stranded on the New York State Thruway.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recruit Update

December is upon us and the Griffs have recruited their class of '15 players. I am very impressed with this class; let's recap:

Erica Afanador
According to my information, Erica will be signing her NLI in the spring. That means the official Canisius site will not be permitted to talk about her until she signs on the dotted line, but we do not have that limitation. We'll follow her career closely (as well as the other recruits) leading up to fall ball next year.
Erica is not likely to see much time at shortstop her freshman season with Katie Lancellotti in her senior season, but third base is going to be open in 2012. I project Katie Medina to be moved over there. Erica will probably play some at second base as a freshman and then be moved to short when she is a sophomore. Then you can pencil her in as a three year starter.

Michelle DelPrince
When Michelle joins the Griffs as a freshman, the team will have six outfielders (assuming Val Nappo stays out there). However, by the time she's a sophomore that number will be three (including her, but not including any future recruits) so she will have the opportunity to jump in as a starter in 2013. In the meantime, she may also get a look at third base.

Robin Kennery
WGRZ-TV has reported that Robin was recruited as a second baseman. And she is an outstanding fielder who ought to see some time at second her freshman season. The position should be wide open in 2013 (don't know yet if Katie Medina, who is a redshirt sophomore this season, will come back in 2013). But I'm still not convinced that Robin won't get an opportunity in the circle down the road. We'll see.

Sonia Aguilar
I feel that Sonia has a chance to be a four year starter at first base. She is an outstanding fielder with a heavy bat, a .600 hitter in high school with an astronomical slugging percentage. It's still not clear where Coach Rappl plans to play the versatile Valorie Nappo. Val is an outstanding first baseman also, but plays the outfield just as well. If Sonia adjusts to Division 1 softball immediately, she will "force" the coaches hand as he writes his lineup card.

Of course, any of these players can "make" Coach Rappl play her regularly. The team is going to be very good in '12, so there will be competition for playing time.

Recruiting month is over, and now comes the quiet before the season begins on February 18 in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon the student-athletes will head home for a month with their families before returning to prepare in earnest to take back the MAAC title!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kristina Chavez To Be Inducted Into Canisius Hall Of Fame

Kristina Chavez Gnanski, who pitched for the Golden Griffins from 1995-98, will be inducted into the Canisius College Sports Hall Of Fame on January 23, 2011.

Kristina led her team to three MAAC Championships during her playing career. She won 47 career games; posting a stingy 1.50 ERA during her playing days. In 1996 she went 13-2 with a 1.02 ERA. She was named the Most Outstanding Player for her performance in the 1997 MAAC Championship when she and the Griffs beat Fairfield for the title. She pitched a no-hitter during her career.

Congratulations Kristina!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Erica Afanador of San Jose, CA has committed to play softball at Canisius College beginning with the 2012 season. This is breaking news for me so I do not know if she has actually signed a National Letter Of Intent yet. (*Note 11/29/10: Erica will sign her NLI in the spring.)

This is certainly an outstanding signing for the Golden Griffins. Erica is a shortstop at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. In 2009, the Monarchs were ranked as the number one high school team in the entire nation! She also plays on a very good South Bay Stars Gold team (which merged with the San Jose Lady Sharks), so she has an outstanding softball background. As a shortstop, Erica was recognized as AMs best defensive player. She has very good speed, is a .300 hitter and hits from both sides. I see her doing very well in the MAAC. See her skills video below.

Congratulations Erica, look forward to seeing you play next September!
And congratulations to Coach Rappl for finding an outstanding group of recruits.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Anndrea Burgess Commits To St. Bonaventure

Anndrea Burgess of Allegany, NY has verbally committed to play softball at St. Bonaventure University beginning with the 2012 season.
Anndrea is a catcher in her senior season at Allegany-Limestone High School. She also plays for the Amherst Lightning.

Congratulations Anndrea!

Video courtesy of:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Good Can Amanda Baun Be?

That's a focused and determined look Amanda has in this photo. She has had that look since the very first pitch she hurled as a Golden Griffin---she struck out the side her very first inning at Canisius. Then the next week she threw a one hitter. She closed her freshman season coming within one out of a MAAC Tournament no hitter.

I've been researching during the off season, and I still can't find a Canisius pitcher who had more wins as a freshman than Amanda Baun did in 2010. That includes the greatest Canisius pitcher of all time, Michelle Corrigan. Only four Canisius pitchers in history have won more games in a season than Amanda. Juliette Bowers won 20 games in 2008, the other three were active in the early to mid 1990s. Hitting has improved a lot since then. Any way you slice it, Amanda is already in her young career in elite company.

In 2010, Amanda Baun ranked first in the MAAC in wins; second in ERA; and second in strikeouts. These numbers speak for themselves, but what impresses me about her is the composure she has shown from her very first pitch. She did have a minor slump during last season, but she said she corrected some mechanics in her pitching and soared right back to the top of the MAAC again. This past fall season she picked up where she left off and was dominant in the circle. I'm looking for her to raise her level of play this season, and onward. She and Caroline Main, who were question marks this time last year, could be an unbeatable MAAC duo in 2011.

Griffs To Play Ohio In Fullerton

When the Golden Griffins make a stop in Fullerton, CA to play the host Titans, they will also be playing the Ohio University Bobcats on Fullerton's field. This doubleheader takes place on March 26.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

...And Then There Was One (revised)

After re-reading my previous post concerning who might be the Griffs' fourth recruit this year, I had to change my opinion. I think now the Griffs will be signing a shortstop. I had forgotten that they were interested in Desarae Maldonado (who signed with Niagara). I feel I know who it is, but I have no confirmation. Of course I could be wrong. We'll see...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Caitlyn Colucci Signs With Gannon

The Diamond Girls are sending another one to the next level.
This time it's Caitlyn Colucci of Lancaster, NY who has signed a National Letter Of Intent. Caitlyn will be playing at Gannon University beginning with the 2012 season. Gannon is a Division 2 school located in Erie, PA. The Lady Knights compete in the Pennsylvania State Conference against the likes of Mercyhurst and Edinboro.

Caitlyn is a senior at the Buffalo Academy Of The Sacred Heart where she is a first baseman and outfielder and a .400 hitter. She also plays basketball and volleyball. And of course she was an integral part of the 2010 Diamond Girls.

Congratulations Caitlyn!

...And Then There Was One

National early signing week has come and gone, and three players have signed to play with the Griffs beginning next season.
But Canisius will be losing four players after this season, so there is one more out there somewhere I assume.

Two first basemen, an infielder and an outfielder will be departing after this season. So far the Griffs have a new first baseman with Sonia Aguilar (pictured); Michelle DelPrince is an outfielder; and Robin Kennery is an infielder. Val Nappo has played plenty of first base, which gives the Griffs two. Looking ahead to 2012, we'll see the graduation of three outfielders all at once. So I'm guessing it will be another outfielder. And probably a fast one, because that's what Coach Rappl likes. Of course next year there's an outfielder we want very much, but that's in the near future!

Maybe there won't be another signing until spring? Paige Freiberger signed in the spring (I think Katie Lancellotti did also), so we may have to wait. Or not. The official Canisius site should be making an announcement soon. At any rate, the players thus far signed are versatile athletes. Sonia has played at third base and catcher; Michelle has played in the infield; and Robin is an accomplished high school pitcher. We'll see how it all plays out, and by the way the season is less than three months away!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Another Diamond Girl will make the transition to Division 1 softball locally as Robin Kennery of Williamsville, NY has signed a National Letter Of Intent to play softball at Canisius College beginning with the 2012 season.

Robin is a senior at Williamsville North High School where she was named to the 2009 All-New York State team, 2009 All-WNY Team and 2010 All-WNY Large Schools team. In 2009 she and teammate Corrin Genovese (who has officially signed with Missouri) led the Spartans to the Section 6 title when they beat a talented Clarence team. She has been North's captain for the past 2 seasons.

Reportedly, Robin has been recruited by the Griffs to be an infielder, likely at second base. She is an outstanding hitter (well over .400 in travel ball) who does have some power. What is interesting though is that she has also been a very good pitcher. In that 2009 championship game against Clarence, she easily beat Pitcher Of The Year Jen Sansano while shutting down the powerful Clarence lineup. She does throw a 60 mph fastball. So I'm not convinced that she will only be an infielder with the Griffs, but we shall see. Certainly she has the potential to develop into a future leader of the team.

Congratulations Robin, look forward to watching you play next September!


Michelle DelPrince of Lancaster, NY has signed a National Letter Of Intent to play softball at Canisius College beginning with the 2012 season.

Michelle is a senior at Lancaster High School and of course plays for the Diamond Girls. I profiled her last year here:

She is primarily an outfielder, but plays infield just as well. She throws righty, but hits lefty. Michelle can do it all: she's a career .340 hitter (.400 with the DGs) who can hit with power. She also has speed and has been a prolific base stealer (she's an excellent slider). She's an outstanding fielder as well, with good range and a strong arm. She is an All-ECIC honoree, and probably should have been ALL-WNY, but you know how that goes.

I'm very happy that the Griffs have signed Michelle, because as I noted last year she has a certain intangible quality about her . A very smart player with her head always in the game, and tough too.

Congratulations Michelle, look forward to seeing you in a Golden Griffins uniform next September!

Corrin Genovese Signs NLI

Corrin makes it official by signing her National Letter Of Intent.
From the Missouri website...

Noteworthy Accolades: Under Armour All-American ... Runner-up for Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of New York ... Two-time All-American ... Player of the Year All-ECIC ... Player of the Year All-WNY ... Team leader in all major offensive categories ... .513 batting average, .803 slugging percentage, five home runs, 29 singles, 18 stolen bases, 14 runs batted in as a leadoff hitter ... ESPN Rise Athlete of the Day for Nov. 2, 2010 ... Invited to OnDeck Softball Allister Camp, Team New Jersey Winter Workout and adidas Futures Camp.

Why They Chose Mizzou: "I chose Mizzou for many reasons. First being the family atmosphere that the team, coaches and campus all provided. Missouri is also known for being a strong journalism program, which helps me reach my dreams of being an ESPN broadcaster. Mizzou is top-ranked nationally for softball, and I knew I wanted to play for a national championship (caliber) team. Everything about the school is what I was looking for in my college search."

Chose Mizzou Over: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Arizona, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Louisville

Congratulations Corrin!

Empire State Games Deleted

After Buffalo did a marvelous job with the Games this past summer, our not so marvelous State government has jettisoned them out of their budget. I think "delete" is the proper term for this (in)action. And they wonder why their children are leaving the state in droves.

Here's a good commentary from the Buffalo News...


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Griffs Visit The Mount In 2011

Another piece of the Canisius College 2011 softball schedule shows the Golden Griffins visiting Mount St. Mary's for a doubleheader on February 21. This will come on the heels of the season opening tournament at the College Of Charleston, so the Griffs will open their 2011 season with four consecutive days of softball.

As I wrote earlier, WNYer Anna Nagro is the new softball coach at the Mount; the doubleheader against Canisius will be her debut. Here are her thoughts on her new job and her team:

Monday, November 8, 2010

ESPN Girl Athlete Of The Day Corrin Genovese

Williamsville North's Corrin Genovese was recently honored by ESPN as their Girl Athlete Of The Day. The 2010 Western New York Softball Co-Player Of The Year will this week sign her National Letter Of Intent to play softball at the University of Missouri where she hopes to win a National Championship.

Corrin is a great softball player, but it isn't the only sport at which she excels. She is also an outstanding basketball player and holds North's record for career points. She has also contributed to the school's volleyball and field hockey teams. Corrin has done everything she could do at the youth level, she must be itching to test herself in Division 1. We will of course follow her career at Missouri.

“It is natural for people in society to think only guys get Division I looks, so when a girl starts the grind and the big-time looks start coming, everyone starts paying closer attention to girls sports,” she said. “And they begin to appreciate the athleticism of women.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Griffs Will Visit Riverside This Season

Another look at the Canisius 2011 softball schedule shows the Golden Griffins paying a visit to California-Riverside for a doubleheader on March 22. This will be a homecoming for Griffs' sophomore pitcher Amanda Baun who attended King High in Riverside.

The Highlanders were 22-32 in 2010, but had a 15-11 record on their home field. The Griffs have an overall record of 2-3 vs. Riverside, and last met the Highlanders in 2007 when the teams split a doubleheader in Riverside.

Amanda Baun pitching for King High 2009

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Griffs Will Host St. Peter's In April

Another sneak peek at the Canisius 2011 softball schedule shows the Griffs' hosting St. Peter's for a MAAC doubleheader on April 9. You'll recall that last season Katie Lancellotti smashed a grand slam homer against the Peahens. As a matter of fact, Katie hit a grand slammer against St. Peter's in 2009 as well! Her streak will be on the line. I'm assuming at this time that Manhattan will be here on April 10.

Well, it's been kind of quiet in softball land, October always is, but the National Letter Of Intent day is coming; and we're still awaiting official release of the Griffs' 2011 schedule. And I'll try to get the 2011 player profiles completed before it snows!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Sonia Aguilar of Nuevo, CA became one of the newest Golden Griffins by verbally committing to play softball at Canisius College beginning with the 2012 season. She should be signing her National Letter Of Intent in a couple weeks.

Sonia is a first baseman and catcher; she has played third base as well. She is a captain of the Nuview Bridge Early College High School team where she was defensive player of the year and an All League CIF selection.

Sonia is a great defensive player, but check out these eye opening offensive statistics:
For her junior season at Nuview High, in 73 at bats, she hit for a .630 average which included 6 homers, 19 doubles and 4 triples. She also had 25 RBIs. Her slugging percentage was in quadruple numbers...an astounding 1.247! Watch out MAAC pitchers, this girl hits for extra bases!

Sonia currently plays travel ball for the Newport Beach Riptide; she has also played for the San Diego Legacy and On Deck Fury.

Congratulations Sonia, look forward to seeing you play next September!

Sonia's Skills Video

Shaina Bunker Verbals With Mercyhurst

All New York State , All NFL, and Tonawanda News Player Of The Year Shaina Bunker has verbally committed to play softball at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA beginning in the 2012 season.

Shaina is in her senior year at North Tonawanda, where in 2010 she hit for a whopping .625 average and a phenomenal .904 slugging percentage! In the field she is an outstanding catcher. She will be joining a division 2 program that seems to have deep roots in the Western New York softball scene.

Congratulations Shaina!

Photo courtesy of the Tonawanda News.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anchor Of The Griffs' Defense

Junior Katie Lancellotti has started every game at shortstop (except her very first game) during her career at Canisius College, and with good reason---she gets to balls that no one else can. Possessing outstanding range at the key position in the infield, I sometimes think Katie could play shortstop and third base simultaneously. She's athletic, tall and tough as well. Runners do not like sliding into second base when she is protecting the bag.

Katie Lancellotti isn't only an excellent fielder; she's a power hitter too. After only two seasons, Katie is at 7th place for all time home runs at Canisius, and is well on her way to smashing the record if she maintains her pace. Same as far as RBIs go...Katie had 42 of them in 2010, improving by 17 her freshman total. And I'll tell you...I think her hitting is going to keep improving. She has a good shot at becoming the all time Golden Griffin power hitter by the time her career ends.

Katie Lancellotti was perhaps the greatest player ever at Clarence High School, an All-State selection and multiple sport athlete. And she receives personal batting help (no doubt) from her father Rick the former baseball player who owns the all time minor league home run record. It can't hurt!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Griffs Will Play At Fullerton In 2011

Another sneak peek at the Canisius College 2011 softball schedule shows the Golden Griffins playing a single game at Cal State Fullerton on March 26. The Titans play in the Big West Conference, and finished the 2010 season with a 14-39 record. The last time the two schools met was in the 2007 NCAA Regional at Columbus, OH.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tori Nappo Playing In Team New Jersey Fall Classic

Clarence High's Tori Nappo, sister of the Griffs' freshman Valorie, is playing for the New Jersey Intensity at the Team New Jersey Fall Classic. In fact, she is playing quite well, driving home the only run in a 1-0 Intensity win over the Texas Storm Saturday. Williamsville North's Corrin Genovese is also playing for the Intensity, and won a 1-0 game herself when she singled, stole second and third bases, and scored the only run in a game against the New Jersey Inferno.

We know that Corrin will be at Missouri next fall, but where will Tori (class of 2012) end up? Division 1 for sure because she's every bit as good as sister Val. I'm assuming the Griffs are going after her...but I also assume other schools are as well. We'll see how it plays out.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Griffs Will Play In Dawg Pound Invitational

Another piece of the Canisius 2011 Softball schedule:

The Griffs were originally scheduled to play on the weekend of March 11-13 at Miami, but the Red Hawks apparently canceled their own tournament in order to head out to Hawai'i. Instead Canisius will now travel down to Maryland and play in the Maryland-Baltimore County Dawg Pound Invitational. The Griffs will play 4 games against Brown, Seton Hall, Morgan State and host UMBC. Niagara will also participate in this tournament, but the Western New York rivals will not meet on the field.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Emily Helbig Rises To The Occasion

Senior first baseman Emily Helbig owns MAAC pitchers, of that there is no doubt. She has a career batting average of .405 in conference games. During the most important and intense portion of the season, Emily is clutch.

Not surprising considering that during her time at Santa Catalina High, Emily was a .500 career hitter. She made an immediate transition to division 1 college ball, hitting for a .314 average her freshman season and making the All-MAAC and MAAC Tournament teams while helping the Griffs to a championship. In 2010 she had her finest season, finishing fourth among MAAC hitters with a .378 average and once again being named to the Conference and Tournament teams.

Emily isn't just a great hitter however; it can be argued that she is the best defensive player in the MAAC. In 2009, she became the first Golden Griffin to achieve a perfect fielding percentage (with at least 70 chances). In the field she is very smart and aware; and as I've written before, if Emily didn't catch it, it wasn't catchable. She gives the appearance of being calm, almost blasé, on the field---I have seen her making fun of the other team's cheers on occasion! Don't be fooled, she's an intense competitor.

Emily Helbig had a very good 2010 fall season; it seemed that everything she hit was for extra bases. She is a key component to the Griffs' drive to reclaim their championship---look for her to have a big season.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Erin Dixson

Two days after her grandmother passed away, Erin Dixson joined her WNY Sting teammates at the Aunt Rosie's 16U Tournament. In a close game against the Diamond Girls (witnessed by yours truly who was unaware of the circumstances) Erin stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded feeling the presence of her grandmother and...

The Sting won the game.
She made a vow to herself that she would not leave the field without winning the first place trophy, which she had plans for. The WNY Sting did go on to win the championship, and two days later as her family prepared for her grandmother's wake, Erin presented the trophy to her grandfather.
You can imagine his reaction.

Not only is Erin Dixson a fine young woman, she is also a great softball player. In 2010 she led Amherst High School to their first Section VI title since 2001, beating rival Williamsville South. She had a record of 15-3 with an ERA of 0.94 to go along with 163 strikeouts. She also hit .390 with a .649 slugging percentage. She had 2 homers, 3 triples and 8 doubles. In the circle she is a flame thrower, achieving speeds of over 60 mph. She was ECIC Division III Pitcher Of The Year, and named to the All-New York State team. Erin will graduate in 2011; it will be interesting to see where she continues her career.

Video courtesy of Buffalo Recruit.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Rivalry Continues...

As we wait for Canisius to release their 2011 softball schedule, I can give you another piece of the puzzle:
The Griffs will host long time rival Niagara on April 27 for a MAAC doubleheader. Both schools will be making serious bids to win the conference so this could be a real barn burner! The two teams seem to always have intense matchups---last season's doubleheader at Niagara was an excellent display of softball and was very well attended.

Pictured: Lauren Hope sliding hard into third baseman Kayla Hines.

St. Bonaventure Closes Fall Season

Interesting reflections from Coach Threehouse at his blog:

Division I is so different from high school and summer ball that it sometimes takes players by surprise. Gone are the days of hitting .500 and striking out 12-17 batters every game. The new reality is that players are now playing against their equals on a daily basis for the first times in their lives. The goal now is to move to the top of the list again. It takes time and patience and most of all confidence and determination. If players think they can just keep doing what they did in high school or summer ball, they are in for a tough transition...


Watching the Bonnies play this fall showed me that they are a together and enthusiastic team. They have a very talented freshman class that needs time to develop.

In recruiting news, St. Bonaventure has received a verbal commitment from Kelli Rohan, an outfielder from McDowell High School in Erie, PA where she has been a .500 hitter.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Griffs End Fall Season With Rout Of Mercyhurst

Mother Nature cooperated in helping the Golden Griffins prepare for the upcoming spring season in that this final fall ball game resembled a typical April home game...cold and misty! Canisius College really has a great field for this part of the nation. Who cares if it rains 19 straight hours? I didn't see a single slip out there.

The Griffs closed the fall portion of the 2010-11 season with a 13-0 win over division 2 Mercyhurst. A very large crowd saw the Canisius bats explode today, beginning with Katie Medina who cranked a 2 run home run over the right field fence in the first inning. She has a smooth swing with deceptive power.

Freshman Val Nappo continued her hot hitting by creaming a pitch way over the left center field fence. As soon as it left her bat the crowd knew it was gone. Val finished with 4 RBIs on the day. Again, she hit the ball hard every time. She is forcing Coach Rappl's hand to play her in an already talented lineup.

Other Griffs had good games as well: Lauren Hope pitched in with a single and 2 RBIs; Lizzy Gatto had a pair of hits (including an outstanding bunt; she can do it all), a stolen base, and she made a double play while playing shortstop. Paige Freiberger drove home 2 runs, and made a number of outstanding plays at third base, including a catch against the wall in foul territory. Amanda Cannizzo and Lauryn Chris each chipped in with hits. Catcher Stephanie Pfentner threw out a runner attempting to steal.

Perhaps the most interesting hit of the day occurred when sophomore Chloe Contreras (pictured) stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Chloe has always hit from the left side (as they seem to teach right handers to do in California), but this time she batted right handed and drove a line drive double to deep center field for 2 RBIs and to the delight of her teammates! She would later score herself. Her swing to me seemed far stronger from the right side. We'll see if she stays there.

Good news on the pitching front: Amanda Baun started this game and pitched 3 strong innings. Don't know what her injury was that caused her to miss last week's scheduled games, but she seemed just fine today. Jen Consaul finished up the game and pitched very well to preserve the shutout.

So that's the end of the fall college season, as well as the local season. The Griffs will next play in February. What can we take out of this fall season? I'll write more later, but it looks like the Griffs are going to be a heavy hitting team with an emphasis on speed. They will also be outstanding in the field at all positions. The senior class looks primed to have a great season. The junior class (counting redshirt Katie Medina) is loaded with talent. Certainly Caroline Main will be completely healed after 9 months off; Amanda Baun had a great fall in the circle. Jen Consaul will continue to receive college coaching and be eased into the rotation. All that remains to be seen is what their attitude will be come February---will they be on a mission to avenge last May's loss?

Next up: who will be the four newest Golden Griffins???

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Griffs Scheduled To Host Mercyhurst Sunday

The Griffs' final fall game is scheduled for 11am at the Demske Sports Complex against division 2 Mercyhurst; however it has been steadily raining all night. If anyone has information on the status of this game, please post a comment here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paige Replaces No One This Season

It seems that Paige Freiberger has always stepped into big shoes during her career with the Golden Griffins. In 2009 she replaced all time Griff Katie Miranto at second base; last season she replaced a third baseman (Cameron Norton) who just came off a Most Outstanding Player performance in leading the Griffs to a championship. But as her senior year begins, the upcoming question next June will be: who will replace our Paige?

No one thought of Paige as being a replacement for anyone during her record setting 2010 season. She broke the Canisius single season home run record with a monster 3 run blast against Big East champion Syracuse. She also hit .311 with 5 triples and 11 doubles while scoring 34 runs. But above the records and statistics, the First Team All-MAAC third baseman is a true leader and a clutch player (remember her late inning triple that beat Iona 1-0?). You all know that Paige was injured the night before the MAAC Championship last May. We'll never know if the outcome would have been different, but her absence cast a pall over the proceedings. She's back and healthy for the 2011 season, and the Griffs will need her leadership to recapture the MAAC title. And then someone next fall will have these big shoes to fill!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Griffs Down To One Pitcher

The Griffs' All-MAAC pitchers, Caroline Main and Amanda Baun, are both on the sidelines suffering from undisclosed injuries.

Caroline Main (left) pitched injured in last season's MAAC Championship---in fact Coach Rappl stated in a video interview that he should have taken her out of the Iona game on May 14.
The injury depleted Golden Griffins went on to lose to the Gaels.

And now Amanda Baun is also injured. How and when this occurred, and what sort of injury she suffered, is a mystery---but Coach Rappl was so concerned that he pulled his team out of this past weekend's mini fall ball tournament at UB. Amanda pitched in the championship game of the Nan Harvey Tournament on the 19th of this month, and seemed just fine.

The two star pitchers now have about 4 1/2 months to regain their health and help their team regain the title they lost last season.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Canisius Not Playing Sunday?

I just received an anonymous tip that Canisius will not be playing this Sunday due to an injured pitching staff.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out Of Town

I'm heading out on a little trip Thursday morning. I'll be back Monday meaning I will not be here for Sunday's games at UB. However, Riley will report on what happens at the Canisius-UB-Niagara mini tournament. Thanks for reading.

Can-Am Blue Chip Softball Fall Showcase Tournament

The first annual Can-Am Blue Chip Fall Showcase will be held this weekend (September 25 & 26) at Sunshine Park in West Seneca. Some of the participating teams will include:
Diamond Girls (Muni & DelPrince), Amherst Lightning Elite, Battery Lightning Elite, Brampton Blazers and the host West Seneca Magic Gold. 13 teams in all will participate. Satrurday start times begin at 8:30am and run right through until 5:15pm. Sunday start times begin at 8:30am and run right through until 1:45pm. Four fields will be used.
Weather should be good for one more great youth tournament!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Val Nappo Is A Natural

Who didn't come away from the Nan Harvey Classic this past weekend impressed with Valorie Nappo's play?

We knew she was All-NFCA East Region and All-New York State and All-WNY, but after all it is a big jump to division 1. How many hits did she have this weekend...7? 8?
I don't know, I lost count. She was slugging the ball in every game; even her outs were hard hit balls. She has a great swing, and we haven't seen her bat from the left side yet, which she can do.

If the spring season started tomorrow, she'd have to be in the starting lineup. Looks like some healthy competition is on the way.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stephanie Pfentner Comes Of Age

Watching Stephanie Pfentner play high school softball, it was always the same---the outfielders would run all the way back to the fence when she came up to bat. Teams playing Canisius will be well advised to start doing that.

With the Griffs' game against St. Bonaventure tied (the winner of which would advance to the championship game) Stephanie stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and creamed a pitch over the center field fence. Making it sweeter was the fact that she hit it off her former high school teammate Jen Sansano. The blast was one of those "no doubters" and caused the Canisius bench to erupt in celebration, along with Stephanie's mom!
Actually, Stephanie had already been hitting very well in this tournament, and it truly looks as if the sophomore is going to have a breakout season as she takes over the regular catching duties.

The Griffs did go on to lose another shootout with Niagara in the championship game, 10-9. Teresa Healy provided the winning margin with a 2 out, 2 run walk off double over the head of left fielder Lauren Hope. I have to think that if this was a MAAC tournament game, the great Teresa Healy would have been given a free pass to the open first base. The Griffs jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in this one, but could not hold. They committed numerous errors. Freshman Jen Consaul struggled again against the high powered Niagara offense, as did Amanda Baun. Caroline Main has not pitched this fall, although with the team; obviously she is injured. Since Canisius does not write much about their team, it's difficult to know. I'll try to find out if she is indeed injured.

Freshman Val Nappo doubled home a couple runs...again. She is making it difficult, if not impossible, for Coach Rappl to keep her out of the lineup. Emily Helbig is addicted to extra base hits this fall. Seeing that the senior has destroyed the MAAC each of her three seasons at Canisius, we may be in store for a huge year from her. Paige Freiberger got banged up sliding into second base vs. St. Bona, but she shook it off and hung in there. Lizzy Gatto played shortstop against Niagara, I don't think there was any problem with Katie Lancellotti, who drove in a run vs. St. Bona; Coach Rappl has played Lizzy there occasionally. Katie Medina also drove in a run today and continued her strong play at second base.

Canisius finished the tournament at 2-2, both losses being one run defeats to Niagara. The fall season continues next Sunday at Nan Harvey Field on the UB campus with a pair of games.
If I'm up by a run in the bottom of the 7th with 2 out 2 on with 1st base open and the MAAC POY steps up, I'm walking her--but what do I know!? More later
Niagara wins the Nan Harvey 10-9 Teresa Healys 2 out double wins it
UB wins 3rd with a 1-0 win ovet Bonnies. Great game by Holly Johnson
Niagara gets out of a no outs bases loaded jam.
Canisius up 9-8 bottom of 6th
9-8 Canisius Teresa Healy cleared the bases with a double. Amanda Baun in for the Griffs
9-4 Val Nappo 2 run double
5-4 Canisius after 2. Emily Helbig with another double drove home a couiple. Lizzy is playing at ss
Griffs take a quick 5-0 lead
Griffs win big 10-2 I think. Katie Lancellotti, Katie Medina and Paige all had RBIs. Next game starts in about 30m vs. Niagara
Big game by Kayla Hines 4 RBIs 7-0 Niagara
UB coach Teague was ejected from her game for arguing about the umps pitching rules interpretation. But i think she was really taking pressure off Tori Speckman
Grand Slam homer by Stephanie Pfentner!!! Off her old teammate Jen Sansano 5-1 Griffs

Nan Harvey Standings

Niagara 2-0
Canisius 1-1
St. Bona 1-1
Buffalo 0-2

The winner of the Canisius-St. Bona game will play Niagara for the championship.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

St. Bonaventure At The Nan Harvey

Here's the lowdown on St. Bona's day from the coach's blog:


Nan Harvey Classic Day One

Val Nappo
With two games being played simultaneously and no functioning scoreboards, I can't vouch for total accuracy but I'll do the best I can to describe the action at day one of the annual Nan Harvey Classic in Amherst.

First of all I want to send my best wishes to UB's Jessica Griffin. In the first inning of Buffalo's game with Canisius, the first baseman was hit in the eye with a line drive. She was down on the field for a very long time before being taken to hospital by an ambulance. Word is that she has been released from hospital. Let's hope she recovers quickly.

The day started out sunny and warm, getting quite windy during the second games. A large crowd showed up populated by partisan rooters of each of the local schools. The St. Bonaventure-Niagara matchup featured the debut of pitcher Jen Sansano, the Clarence native. Jen looked very strong early on, giving up only one hit to 2010 MAAC Player Of The Year Teresa Healy, but she did run into difficulty once Maggie McDonald slammed a homer over the center field fence. Jen gave up 3 runs in an 11-1 Niagara victory. Julie DiMatteo went the distance for the Purple Eagles and was very effective throughout. Julie is always intense whether it be fall or spring. Niagara looks real good this year, with a great senior class.

Canisius and Buffalo continued their game after a very long delay. Amanda Baun has been dominant in fall ball each of her two seasons. She comes to school ready to play; and it's a good sign of things to come for her. She's very focused and calm in the circle; nothing ever seems to faze her, and she won this game with no difficulty. Katie Lancellotti provided the margin of victory by hitting a sharp single to center that drove home two runs. She's a vacuum cleaner at shortstop, throwing out runner after runner with ease. UB's Holly Johnson did make her debut in this game.

Speaking of Holly Johnson, she started Buffalo's game against St. Bonaventure and mowed down Bonnie after Bonnie. I don't know how many strikeouts she had, and she did not pitch the whole game, but when she was in the game, she controlled it. St. Bonaventure made a big comeback in this one, scoring 6 times in the top of the 7th inning to win 7-3. Freshman Lindsay Stowell had a big 2 RBI triple to propel the Bonnies' comeback.

Niagara and the Griffs had a shootout in their game, won by Niagara 9-8 (I think that was the score). Let's talk about freshman Val Nappo (pictured): by my reckoning she had 4 hits on the day (should have had 5) and was on base 6 times. She hit a pair of doubles; she was smacking the ball hard all day. She was robbed of a fifth hit by a spectacular catch by center fielder Kristin Sito, who took away two sure runs and made a double play. Val Nappo is going to fight for a starting job this coming spring I believe. Not at first base, but in the outfield and certainly at designated player. She has hit hard line drives almost every at bat I've seen this fall. I'll tell you right now, Val is going to contribute right from the get go. But she won't be replacing senior first baseman Emily Helbig who is hitting everything in sight this fall and for extra bases.
Two freshmen pitched the distance in this game---Jen Consaul for the Griffs and Kim Bryson for the Purple Eagles. Both pitched well at times, but both also got a good education from two heavy hitting teams. Niagara's Jaclyn Russell smashed a homer over the center field fence; the Griffs' Stephanie Pfentner just missed hitting one over the left field fence and settled for a double and RBI. There were hits galore in this one---Niagara is still the big hitting team of old, and Canisius was a .300 team last season and show no signs of slowing down. For the Griffs Lauryn Chris smacked a nice double; Amanda Cannizzo and Lauren Falzone had hits. Once again though, Caroline Main did not pitch. I'm wondering if she has some sort of nagging injury.

Well, it really was a fabulous day of softball. And the good news is there will be a sequel Sunday! The Griffs will play St. Bonaventure and UB and Niagara will go at it. Both games begin at 10:00am. Scheduled for noon are the championship and consolation games. Weather forecast looks good.
Niagara wins 9-8 at least i think that was the score...more later
St. Bona beats UB 7-3. Griffs down 9-6
4th hit for Val Nappo--she's ready
Another double for Val Nappo she has 3 hits today hitting the ball hard
Stephhanie Pfentner ripped a double to cut the Niagara lead to 3-2
Emily Helbig just smashed a double to cut the lead to 3-1
Alexis Wayne makes it 3-0 for Niagara
Great catch by Kristin Sito to rob Val Nappo of her third hit of the day 2-0 Niagara. UB up 2-0 on Alyssa Ward double
Holly Johnson is mowing em down for UB. Niagara up 1-0
Jen Consaul starts for the
Griffs and retires the side in the first Kim Bryson in the circle for Niagara
Riley learned that Jessica Griffin was hit in the eye. The problem is that she has contacts. Wish her well
Griffs play Niagara next
Correction: it was Maggie McDonald whi hit the homer for Niagara
Griffs just won their game against UB. Amanda Baun looks great again this fall. Emily Helbig with a RBi also. Niagara is winning big
Val Nappo smashes a double to make it 4-0 Griffs nice crowd here
2 RBI single for Katie Lancellotti Amanda is in control Holly Johnson pitching for UB
Jen Sansano is pitching for St. bona she gave up a homer to Becky Zill but is doing well. Amanda Baun is in for the Griffs
Jessica Griffin has been taken to hospital her head was stabilized hope shes ok
Buffalos Jessica Griffin was hit in the face with a line drive ambulance is here she is being carried off the field
Beautiful sunny day in Amherst

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nan Harvey Classic This Weekend

The annual Nan Harvey Classic will take place this Saturday and Sunday at the Audubon Complex in Amherst. Start time is 10am each day.

This is the only chance we have to see all four local teams in one place, and this year's tournament will be most interesting. The main focus of fall ball is on the new players. From what I understand (I was not there) the Griffs' Jen Consaul did very well for herself in Edinboro last week. This weekend will be the first opportunity for her to pitch against division 1 talent.

The much anticipated college debut of Clarence's Jen Sansano (pictured) will take place on the Audubon fields when she throws for St. Bonaventure. Jen was recruited by such schools as Georgia (and Canisius)---could she be the dominant player the Bonnies have been looking for? Only time will tell. She'll be pitching against the likes of UMass and Fordham and Hawai'i in the spring; we'll see her get her feet wet this weekend. Lancaster's Ashley Snider and Maryvale's Kelli Gleiser also begin their college careers with St. Bona.

Niagara will show up this weekend with three new pitchers on their squad. Hoping to take pressure off Julie DiMatteo and balance the Purple Eagle attack will be Kim Bryson, Tashia Daley and Bri Allen. Bri is a transfer from Monroe Community College where she was dominant on a team that went to the National Championship.

Buffalo brings in yet another talented group of freshmen, most of them very fast. But this weekend will feature the debut of former Amherst pitcher Holly Johnson, who recently transferred to UB from Rutgers. Holly is coming off a foot injury, but is said to be almost 100% healthy.

After a rainy Thursday, the weather is looking good for a great weekend of fall ball!

Doubleheader At Long Beach

Another piece of the Canisius College softball 2011 schedule shows the Griffs playing a doubleheader at Long Beach St. on March 25. The two teams last met in 2009 at the NIT in San Jose, Ca.

In the meantime, the Griffs will be playing four games this weekend at the Nan Harvey Classic in Amherst. Looks like the weather will cooperate.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Griffs' 2011 Home Opener

The Canisius Softball home opener is scheduled for March 29. Once again the Griffs and Buffalo will try to play at the Demske Sports Complex; it hasn't worked out the last few seasons due to inclement weather. The two local rivals will also play at Nan Harvey Field on the UB North campus on April 20. Both dates will be single games.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No Coverage For Saturday's Game


*See comments below*

Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip down to Pennsylvania for the Griffs' game at Edinboro Saturday. If anyone is able to provide information after the game, please leave a comment here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Griffs Come Out Of The Summer Running

The Canisius College Golden Griffins opened their fall season with a 15-4 win over the Brampton Blazers in a 9 inning game that featured too many stolen bases for me to count.

I wrote a few weeks ago that Lauren Hope (pictured) will be chasing the all time MAAC record for stolen bases this upcoming season. If today's first fall ball game was any indication, she will have no problem. Lauren stole three bases and didn't even have to slide on any of them! She also hit a bases clearing triple to go along with a couple of singles and another triple. She's looks faster than ever, and I have a feeling the senior is going to close out her career with a big splash.

Katie Medina was very impressive today. On her first at bat, she went to the opposite field and drove a ball right on the line all the way to the left field fence for a triple. Later on in the game she went to the same place for a double. Both were very hard hit balls. She made some nice plays at second base also; she is an all around player with a lot of skill.

It looked to me as if Stephanie Pfentner got faster over the summer. She hit a line drive triple to the center field fence, and then scored on a powerful home plate slide just beating the throw. She has big shoes to fill, replacing the graduated Michelle Fridey, but she looks prepared and up for the challenge.

Paige Freiberger is back and her throwing hand is healed as she made many nice plays at third base. The senior captain hit a couple singles and drove home a run. She really does have a great glove, and of course it's great to see her out there after how last season ended for her.

Amanda Baun pitched the first 5 innings today, and she was on her game for so early in the season; she struck out 7 batters and was mostly in complete control. She looks like she has a lot of confidence after winning 18 games her freshman season.

Amanda Cannizzo had a pair of hits and a RBI; Katie Lancellotti hit a pair of singles and once again stopped a ball that should have made its way to the outfield; Lauren Falzone had 2 hits and scored twice; Kerry Ulmer had a hit and a stolen base; Emily Helbig singled home a run; Lauryn Chris singled, stole a base, and scored a run. Chloe Contreras saw considerable action in left field.

Of course I want to write about the three freshmen. Val Nappo saw action in right field and at first base. She didn't get a hit, but she did drive a long fly ball to the left field fence that just missed. While playing right field, she gunned down a runner trying to advance to third base. Marissa Miller played catcher and at third base, and while playing third made a nice play to cut off a lead runner at third. Jen Consaul pitched the final 4 innings of the game, giving up three runs while striking out one batter. She seemed a little nervous, they always do, but she threw a lot of nice pitches. Coach Hopkins worked closely with her, and will continue to do so in the months ahead.

Caroline Main did not pitch in this one, although she did some warming up. Lizzy Gatto also did not play---she was on the bench and seemed to be fine, so I don't know why she did not see action.

A very good crowd showed up, but the weather did not! It felt a lot like an April game, with strong gusts coming off Lake Erie. But the Griffs got a 150 minute workout in to get their season started. Next up is a trip to Edinboro, PA this Saturday.
Griffs win 15-4 more later
7-1 griffs after 5 freezing out here! ts d
Clouds haue rolled in b4 game time but no rain

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fall Ball Opener Weather

Haven't given a weather report for many months, but in typical Buffalo fashion the temperature has dropped 20 degrees the day before game time! The Griffs open the fall season Sunday vs. The Brampton Blazers at noon at the Demske Sports Complex. High temp forecast to be only 68 with a bit of a breeze. But hey, that's a lot better than most spring games around here!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Last Out

The Canisius College Golden Griffins begin practicing today as they officially begin the new softball season. It will be the first time since the fall of 2006 that they will not do so as defending MAAC Champions.

The reason I posted this photo, which portrays the last out of the MAAC Championship game and the Griffs' 2010 season, is because the emotion you see on the players faces. You can see Lauren Hope with her arm draped around the poll; the girl doesn't like to lose. You can also see Paige wiping away a tear with her injured hand. I believe the Golden Griffins are going to be on a mission this season to avenge this loss! As I wrote earlier, the 2011 edition of the team may be the best ever; they certainly have all the pieces in place. And they probably still have this loss stuck in their throats. I do! For me, this adds up to what may go down as a memorable season, if the players dedicate themselves to the task. I'm already on record predicting they will set a school record for wins.
And it all begins today!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thanks For A Great Summer

Last summer (June, July, August) this blog had about 975 visits. This summer it has had over 9,000 visits. I didn't expect that with the Griffs in summer vacation. But the concept here is the local softball scene with Canisius College as the foundation because they are the elite softball program in the area. As I observe the local scene, I see an explosion of very talented young players and teams. Someone recently told me that in the USA there are more girls playing little league softball than there are boys playing little league baseball. That was unheard of in my day (doesn't that make me seem old!). The visits to this little blog are a testimony to that growth.

The college fall season begins in a few days. This season we will have two, hopefully three writers covering the fates of the local teams. Should be fun.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

St. Bonaventure Fall Schedule

September 18-19
@Nan Harvey, Canisius Softball Fall Classic (Amherst, NY)
10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm Saturday and Sunday

September 25
Alumnae Game @ SBU 1:00pm

October 2
SBU @ UB 1:00pm and 3:00pm

October 3
UPB @ SBU 12:00pm and 2:00pm

You can check Coach Threehouse's blog in the blog list on the right side of this page.
Of course the locals will be interested to watch Clarence's Jen Sansano make her college debut at the Nan Harvey Tournament in a couple weeks. Lancaster's Ashley Snider and Maryvale's Kelli Gleiser also will begin their college careers.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Niagara Softball Site

We are going to be working on a new site for the Niagara Purple Eagles.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Caroline Main vs. Sarah Jackson

Junior Caroline Main faced off against Iona's Sarah Jackson twice last season and the result was a split---Caroline pitched a brilliant 2 hit shutout in a first place showdown, and then lost her only MAAC game of 2010 in an error plagued MAAC tournament game in which she pitched injured. Caroline was the only MAAC pitcher to defeat the 2010 MAAC Pitcher Of The Year, and it's clear that her goal this season is to rise to the top.

Caroline Main emerged as a dominant force last season, and the All-MAAC first teamer is likely to get even better. Caroline was always unflappable, but I noticed three things about her game last season: Her confidence grew rapidly; she assumed a leadership role on the field; and she looked like she was having fun. The Griffs enter this season with a very strong pitching staff and experienced players. Caroline will not be expected to carry the team, but another strong year from her will make Canisius hard to beat. I feel that she wants to be the best; she has shown that from before she came here. Her rivalry with the great Sarah Jackson could push her to new heights.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Desarae Maldonado

Canisius and Niagara are going after the smooth fielding shortstop from the Battery Lightning Elite. She also plays for Irondequoit High (class of 2011) out of Rochester, NY. Word is the Griffs have offered her a scholarship. I've seen Desarae play a few times over the past two summers---she's athletic and fast with very good mechanics. We'll have to wait for her decision.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Canisius Softball 2010 Fall Schedule

September 5
Brampton Blazers (12:00pm)
Demske Sports Complex

September 11
@Edinboro University (12:00pm)

September 18 & 19
Nan Harvey Tournament
UB, Niagara, St. Bonaventure (10am & 12pm both days)
Audubon Complex, Amherst

September 26
vs. UB and Niagara (10am & 12pm)
Nan Harvey Field

October 3
Mercyhurst (11am)
Demske Sports Complex

Friday, August 20, 2010

All-MAAC For Katie Medina?

Perhaps the most intriguing Griff of last season was second baseman Katie Medina. As a red shirt freshman Katie took a while acclimating herself to college softball; it didn't take long---she went on a mid season hitting streak that propelled her into the upper echelon of MAAC hitters. I maintain that Katie has the best eye on the team; that's what my eye observed, but the statistics back up my claim. Katie was the most difficult Golden Griffin to strike out in 2010, being fanned only 11 times. She's good at drawing a walk also, and once on base she moves around them. She scored 34 runs and was nearly perfect in stolen bases (13-14). At the bat, she has a strong swing with occasional power; she hit one over the high right field fence in Youngstown for her first career homer. In the field she is an alert and smart player with a very strong arm. She turned 4 double plays including a 7th inning unassisted DP to save a game at St. Francis.

With a year's experience under her belt (actually two years including the year she sat out), the athletic Hamburg High grad is poised to make her mark in the MAAC.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Watch Out For Lizzy!

Lizzy Gatto is back in town and beginning her junior year at Canisius. Lizzy raised her average a whopping 75 points last season (and that was after a very good freshman season)---but the interesting thing is she may have raised it 125 points if she didn't break her fingers at the end of last season. It's true, Lizzy was on a tear and hitting over .400 when she got hit in the hand with a pitch. It clearly affected her hitting afterward. But she's healed and is going to be dangerous in 2011. Lizzy has all the tools---she also can hit for power and she's 24 for 26 in stolen bases for her career. Plus she's a terrific center fielder with a lot of range and a great arm.
My favorite Lizzy moment last season was when she hit that 7th inning, 2 out homer at St. Bonaventure to bring the Griffs from behind to victory. That was exciting. My second favorite moment was during the game against Rider when she hit a screaming line drive foul ball that almost took teammate Emily Helbig's head off and then she couldn't stop laughing! Look for her to have a big 2011 season.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yanava Hawkins And Her Mom

Yanava Hawkins, class of 2012, was named this year's Buffalo City (Thompson Trophy) Player Of The Year; she was also named to the All-WNY Small School team. She is a multi sport athlete at City Honors, playing basketball and volleyball but of course she is a softball star and a serious prospect. Yanava is also a member of the Diamond Girls, with whom I have seen her play quite a few times. She can hit (to the tune of a .571 average), she has home run power, and she flies around the bases (30 stolen bases). A great all around player, she is a catcher and outfielder.

I recently stumbled across a podcast Yanava did with her mother Gayle Lyons Hawkins. It is part of a "conversations between sisters" series that is being archived in the Library Of Congress. Gayle's sister passed away some time ago, so Yanava stepped into her place for what is a very touching conversation. You may listen to it here, and I recommend you do:

Lauren Hope Will Be Chasing Some Records

Senior Lauren Hope, who is the Canisius All Time base stealing queen, is just 6 stolen bases away from being the first Canisius softball player to steal 100 bases in a career. But she is also on a quest for the MAAC career stolen bases record. She is 18 thefts behind number one Ellen Sarosy who stole 112 bases in her career with Fairfield.

Lauren already holds the Canisius and MAAC record for stolen bases in a season (40). She has a realistic chance at breaking 3 records this season!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fall Ball Just Around The Corner

It's been a great summer season of softball with lots of tournaments plus the Empire State Games, but the new Canisius Softball season is looming. I guess that's my favorite element of following the team---it's always in renewal. It's also interesting to note that college teams change so much from season to season. Hard to believe that Lauren Hope (pictured) is entering her senior year. Speaking of which, last season's team was thought of as a "young" team; and that was true considering they had only one senior and their pitching was so inexperienced. However, this season the Griffs suddenly transform into an "experienced" team! They have ten upperclassmen (eleven if you count Katie Medina who is a redshirt sophomore). Those two inexperienced pitchers---Caroline Main and Amanda Baun---will be coming off a season in which both were voted onto the All-MAAC team.

And so I give my prediction very early and tell you that, IMO, the Griffs are going to set a team record for wins this season! Aside from the experience factor, their schedule isn't looking as difficult as last season and I believe they will have a chip on their shoulders over how the 2010 campaign ended. I don't think they took being knocked off their pedestal too well, especially as it happened on their home field. Of course they must stay healthy, and determined. The key to me is Paige Freiberger. She has improved her play dramatically each season she has been here, and I see that continuing. The team is very comfortable and confident with their captain on the field; we saw what happened when she was injured before the MAACs. It's her senior season, and she wants a championship!

Lauren Hope and Emily Helbig had great 2010 seasons; Kerry Ulmer had a very good hitting streak going for a while last season before tailing off. She will again have the chance to be the regular designated player. The senior class is very talented and will lead the team. The only position I see where there is inexperience is at catcher. Michelle Fridey will be hard to replace. Look for Stephanie Pfentner to get a lot of action this September. Freshman Marissa Miller will have the chance to impress.

The official fall schedule should be released any day now. The annual Nan Harvey tournament should be held September 18 & 19. And I hear Canisius and Buffalo will be having a controlled scrimmage or two.