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!