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