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.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

12U Diamond Girls Cap Memorable Season With Eastern National Championship

The 12U Diamond Girls (Swiatek) added an exclamation point to an already fabulous season by winning the Eastern National Championship this past weekend in York, PA.
Talk about a great team---these girls have a record of 61-1-1 in 2010, winning every tournament they entered!! That's a dream season if there ever was one! This team also won the 12U Aunt Rosie's and the prestigious NSA Irish Opener Tournament, in which they beat a very good West Jersey Witches team 12-4 for the title. Congratulations girls, you've done us proud!!

Team New Era Diamond Girls 12U
Sydney Breton, Courtney Courtade, Rachel Johnson, Shaye Swiatek, Ainsley Mann, Julia DiMartino, Olivia Jankowski, Jordan Leonard, Grace Gabriel, Olivia Zafuto, Marissa Dimitroff. Coaches Chris Swiatek and Mike Leonard.
Hope I included everyone!

In other Diamond Girls news, I had to include this great photo from the 16U DelPrince site...
as you know, they took second place at the Eastern Nationals, in part by winning a 13 inning game.

Bottom row L-R Nikki Attea, Courtney Kadish, Michelle DelPrince, Ashley McCormick, Ashley Fillmore,Top row:Coach Chris Swiatek, Jen Mikolajek, Yanava Hawkins, Caitlyn Colucci, Robin Kennery, Taylor Swiatek, Kyle Plimpton, Coaches Larry Colucci & Mitch DelPrince

Diamond Girls (Muni) finished in 7th place at the 16U Eastern Nationals, losing to the eventual champions. They had a great season as well, even winning an 18U tournament along the way.

The New Era Classic Showcase will be held this weekend beginning Friday at the New Era Park in Lockport.

Local Players Doing Well At ESPN Nationals

Corrin Genovese and Val and Tori Nappo are in Huntington Beach, CA as members of the New Jersey Intensity at the ESPN Rise National Softball Championships.

The Intensity has finished pool play with a 2-1 record, beating Strike Zone 9-1; the So Cal Firecrackers 5-2 while losing to Fury Fastpitch 6-1. The Griffs' Val Nappo is hitting .667 thus far in the tournament; Corrin Genovese is at .200 but had a big game against the Firecrackers hitting 2 for 3 with a double, run and RBI. She is perfect in the field at third base. Tori Nappo, the youngest of the trio, has yet to record a hit in three at bats.

Play continues through Saturday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Top 10 Finish For West Seneca Magic In Nationals

The recent 14U Eastern National Championship held in York, PA featured three Western New York teams doing very well. The West Seneca Magic Navy team finished the tournament in 7th place (out of 53 teams), beating teams from Maryland , Virginia and Pennsylvania and playing through until the final round. Diamond Girls (Opera) and Diamond Girls (Hennessey) finished in a 13th place tie.
Congratulations to the girls for playing outstanding softball and representing WNY well!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Nappo Sisters Playing In ESPN National Championships

Clarence's Nappo sisters Valorie and Tori (pictured) are both taking part in this week's ESPN Rise National Championships as members of the Jersey Intensity travel team. They join fellow WNYer Corrin Genovese who has played for the Intensity for the last couple seasons. The high school division features an elite lineup of 70 teams ranging from coast to coast. The action can be followed here:

Valorie will be reporting to Canisius College shortly after the conclusion of this tournament.
Good luck girls!

Val Nappo went 1 for 1 in the Intensity's opening game loss to Fury Fastpitch.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Diamond Girls (DelPrince) Finish 2nd At Eastern Nationals

The Diamond Girls (DelPrince) lost a heartbreaker in the championship game of the Eastern Nationals at York, PA Sunday by a score of 4-3 in extra innings to the Tiger Lillies. A great run by the girls to place second in a field of over 60! Congratulations Diamond Girls!

Saturday's Results From The 16U Eastern National Championship

The action continues at the 16U Eastern National Championship in York, PA...

Diamond Girls (DelPrince) advanced through the winner's bracket Saturday with three more wins---6-2 over the Pittsburgh Power, they also beat the Jersey Insanity, and then won 5-0 over the Ohio Ice. The girls are really on a roll! They play this morning against the Tiger Lillies.

Diamond Girls (Muni) lost a game in the winner's bracket Saturday, but are making a run through the loser's bracket where they won three games Saturday to stay alive---7-5 over the Ohio Jaguars and a wins over the BP All Stars and Ohio Ice, a natural tripleheader. That's a lot of softball! They will take the field this morning at 8 against the Ulster Fillies. They will need a couple of wins to climb back out of the loser's bracket.

The Amherst Lightning did win a game in the loser's bracket, but were subsequently eliminated with a 6-4 loss to the Tri State Thunder.

Should be exciting as the tournament wraps up today.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Update From The 16U Eastern National Championship

The two Diamond Girls teams are still in the winner's bracket while the Amherst Lightning are fighting to stay alive in the loser's bracket at the 16U Eastern National Championship in York, PA.

Diamond Girls (Muni): 10
MC Madness: 1

Diamond Girls (Muni): 9
Pittsburgh Power: 3

DG (Muni) are currently still playing in the winner's bracket.

Diamond Girls (DelPrince): 10
Renegades: 1

Diamond Girls (DelPrince): 11
Hearts Of Ohio: 1

DG (DelPrince) are currently still playing in the winner's bracket.

Amherst Lightning (Covel): 3
S. Ohio Cyclones: 4

Amherst Lightning (Covel): 10
Tri City Thunder: 4

The Lightning are currently playing in the loser's bracket.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Canisius-St. Francis Highlights

In this lull before fall season begins, here's a look back at the Griffs' doubleheader sweep at St. Francis (PA) on April 14, 2010. You'll see Katie Medina saving game one with a double play.
Click bottom right corner for full screen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lindsay Morris Named Tonawanda Volleyball Coach

After leading the Western team to Empire Sports Games softball gold, former Griff Lindsay Morris has continued a successful summer by being named the new Tonawanda High School volleyball head coach.

A 2003 graduate of Lancaster High School, the 25-year-old Morris, formerly Garbacz, made her name in scholastic athletics as one of the most dominant softball pitchers in the state. But she also had a successful three-year varsity volleyball career and was an outside hitter for a Lancaster Redskins team that won multiple Section VI Class AA championships and ECIC Division I league titles.

Going onto play Division I softball at Canisius College, Morris also spent her sophomore year as a member of the Griffs volleyball team where she played right-side hitter.

Guiding the Lady Warriors JV softball team to one of its most successful seasons, Morris’ style wasn’t just about teaching the fundamentals of the game. It was about building a culture of winning and, most of all, having fun while doing it.

More important than helping the team notch more wins was the fact that Morris’ coaching style and genuine, caring, good-hearted personality helped re-energize interest into the softball program...

Read more here:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Diamond Girls Win Clarence Tournament

The 16U Diamond Girls (DelPrince) won this past weekend's 18U Clarence tournament. Michelle DelPrince (pictured), an ECIC 1 second teamer, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. All-ECIC first teamer Kyle Plimpton pitched a pair of shutouts. The DGs beat the Rochester Lady Lions 5-0 in the championship game.

A good warm up for the coming Eastern National Championship this week, this was the team's third tournament championship this summer I believe. Good luck at the Nationals!

Three Local Teams Head To Eastern Nationals

Three local 16U travel teams will be participating in the ASA Eastern National Championship to be held this week in York, PA. Diamond Girls (Muni), Diamond Girls (DelPrince) and the Amherst Lightning (Covel) will all be fighting for the title.
You can check out the brackets (dates are not correct, it begins August 4) here:

Good luck girls!
Diamond Girls (Muni)