Monday, October 31, 2011

55 Game Schedule In 2012

Griffs will play under a roof in 2012!

Canisius College released their official 2012 softball schedule today, which includes a doubleheader at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

Looks like Coach Rappl is determined not to have a repeat of the 2011 season, which saw his team play a truncated 41 game schedule due to many cancellations. He has scheduled 55 games for 2012, which may be the most ever for a Canisius regular season. It's an interesting and challenging slate.

After opening at the Pirate Classic with a couple of games against host East Carolina and one against Virginia, Canisius will be in Virginia for a pair of doubleheaders at Hampton and Norfolk State. The first weekend of March will find them again in Baltimore for the UMBC Invitational, where they will play James Madison, Coppin State, Princeton and the host school. Two appearances at the South Florida series of tournaments come next, with weekday doubleheaders at Florida Gulf Coast and at South Florida against the Bulls and the Dutch National Team in between. The Dutch have been training in the USA the last four springs, so that will be an interesting exhibition. At the USF tournaments, they will play Maryland, Long Island and Cleveland State among others.

The Griffs will return north with an interesting doubleheader on Saturday March 24 when they take part in the Duel At The Dome at Syracuse's Carrier Dome. Playing against the Orange and Colgate, I believe this may be the first time Canisius will play an indoor game. At least we know for certain it won't be rained out! March 28 will be their first local appearance, with a single game at Buffalo. The Griffs will open their home schedule on April 3 when they host Detroit Mercy for a doubleheader. Mount St. Mary's will be in town two days later on the 5th.

Canisius will open MAAC play on Saturday April 7 with a doubleheader against Siena at the Demske. Road trips to Robert Morris and St. Bonaventure will highlight April. The regular season closes with a MAAC clash at home against Rider. The Griffs will have 7 home dates in 2012, and will play at local rival Niagara on May 2.

The new season begins in a little over three months; the Griffs will have a busy spring!

Friday, October 28, 2011

2012 Roster---Katie Lancellotti

Katie Lancellotti, Senior
# 14

.225 Batting Average; .325 Slugging Percentage
3 Home Runs; 3 Doubles; 23 RBIs
.993 Fielding Percentage

.264 Batting Average; .451 Slugging Percentage
6 Home Runs; 1 Triple; 7 Doubles, 42 RBIs
.973 Fielding Percentage

.248 Batting Average; .428 Slugging Percentage
6 Home Runs; 1 Triple; 6 Doubles; 28 RBIs
.937 Fielding Percentage

2012 Roster---Caroline Main

Caroline Main, Senior
# 10

4-10; 4.12 ERA
83 Strikeouts

16-7; 2.62 ERA
139 Strikeouts

2-5; 4.71 ERA
32 Strikeouts

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2012 Roster---Lizzy Gatto

Lizzy Gatto, Senior
Center Field

# 47

.319 Batting Average; .479 Slugging Percentage
1 Home Run; 4 Triples; 8 Doubles; 18 RBIs
21-21 Stolen Bases

.348 Batting Average; .529 Slugging Percentage
4 Home Runs; 2 Triples; 9 Doubles; 25 RBIs
17-19 Stolen Bases

.273 Batting Average; .398 Slugging Percentage
1 Home Rune; 3 Triples; 7 Doubles; 19 RBIs
7-7 Stolen Bases

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Ball '11 Wrap Up

I was mostly impressed with the newest edition of the Golden Griffins softball team as they began their journey to the 2012 season. I thought the team had a very productive fall season in preparation for what will be a difficult challenge beginning in a few months. Like it or not, the expectation for the Canisius softball program is to win MAAC titles, which is why they've been so successful. They will be in for a good fight in '12, but I believe they have the tools to accomplish the goal.

The fortunes of the Golden Griffins this season will rest largely on the arm of senior pitcher Caroline Main. Caroline has battled back from injury, and she looked to me to be in 2010 form. You'll remember she was unbeaten that season in conference play as the Griffs won the regular season title. She was mostly dominant this fall during her time in the circle, striking out many, including 11 Bonnies. And I'm sure she's eager to make her final season a memorable one.

The Griffs will have more pitching depth this season than they have had probably since 2008. I continue to be very impressed with the play of sophomore Jen Consaul, and I get the feeling that Coach Rappl has a growing confidence in her ability. Jen came to Canisius with the reputation of being a hard worker, and it shows in her play. She's a very intense but even keeled pitcher. She doesn't get down on herself when opponents hit her, but seems to learn from the experience. She's already shown she can be counted upon, and this fall has added another aspect to her game---offense. She hit the ball very hard in September. She can play first base, designated player, or simply hit when she is pitching. So she is going to contribute one way or the other.

The Griffs will be hard pressed to win a championship without junior Amanda Baun being involved in a major way. She struggled during the second half of her sophomore season, and Canisius needs her to return to the All-MAAC form she displayed in 2010. It looked to me as if she was working hard on her game this fall; it seemed like she was mixing her pitches more effectively. IMO, it's Coach Rappl's number one priority to work her back into the elite pitcher she truly is. If that happens, the Griffs would be three deep in the circle and very difficult to beat. I believe Amanda will have a big season in 2012.

The biggest eye opener of the fall season was the outstanding play of freshman Robin Kennery. The Griffs had a big question mark over third base with the departure of Paige Freiberger, but that seems to have vanished with the performance put on by Robin. For a freshman, she seemed to have an awful lot of confidence going for her; maybe poise is a better word. I'll be honest and state that I thought she would be eased into the lineup, but it doesn't look like that's going to occur. She hit pretty much everything that was thrown her way, showing a lot of power too. In the field she is calm and intelligent.

I wrote a lot about senior shortstop Katie Lancellotti, and for good reason. She dazzled in the field, making great play after great play. I thought she should have been All-MAAC last season for defensive reasons alone. I would like to see her hit around .300 this season; she hit very well in the fall, and by the way, ran the bases better than I have ever seen her do. Katie will be chasing the all-time Canisius home run record in 2012.

Coach Rappl played consistently what appears to be his starting lineup for this season, with the exception of second baseman Katie Medina who was recovering from knee surgery. Although she played some outfield, sophomore Val Nappo settled in at first base. She is outstanding defensively at the position, and again hit the ball hard this fall. You might not know it, but last season Val was amongst the MAAC leaders in conference games , with a .359 average in MAAC play. You also may not know that second baseman Lauryn Chris was number one in the MAAC in conference games with a .455 average. That's why I keep saying she must play in 2012. She was outstanding at second base this fall, playing all the games due to Katie's injury and showing great range and of course lots of smarts. Katie is the starting second baseman, and hopefully she will be fully recovered come February, but Lauryn has to have a place in the lineup somewhere. Need those seniors in the lineup.

The Griffs' outfield looks very solid, especially with the surge in freshman Michelle DelPrince's play. Michelle will replace the departed Lauren Hope, and brings almost as much speed. Her play got better as the fall progressed, and she showed herself to be a real "heads up" player. She will be in left field. Senior Lizzy Gatto of course will be in center where she has been from day one. Enjoy her one more season; she is one of the best all around players to ever wear a Canisius uniform. She made fall ball look easy this this year, and she can do it all---hitting, fielding, throwing, stealing, etc. But this season she will be called upon to be a leader, and the Griffs need that most of all from her. The truth is, Canisius missed Michelle Fridey terribly last season, more than I anticipated. Lizzy will have to fill that gap. I believe that Lauren Falzone is going to have an All-MAAC season in 2012. She is the new leadoff hitter, replacing Lauren Hope, and she stepped very comfortably into that role this fall. She got on a hot hitting streak from the very beginning of last season, and has not cooled off since. Her flirtation with .400 was not a fluke. She is showing all around skill; a great bunter and runner who has always been very solid in right field. She mostly hit at the bottom of the order last season; now she will be asked to do more. If fall ball is any indication, she will have no problem with that. Junior Chloe Contreras saw a lot of time in the outfield this fall (although she wasn't dressed for the final game), and we should see her getting some starts this season. And of course, she has been a very capable pinch runner during her career.

Last season, the Griffs were down to just one catcher; this season they will have three. Sophomore Stephanie Pfentner is a rock behind the plate. She is another player who makes it look so easy, but defensively she is immensely talented. I lost count last season how many times she ended threats by throwing out a runner. She rarely commits an error, and this fall was no different. The problem last year was that she was forced to play every single inning behind the plate. She needs time at the designated player position, and freshman Sonia Aguilar will provide that for her. Sonia hit the ball very well this fall, including a long homer. Defensively she is very poised behind the plate. I think she will be seeing a lot of playing time this season. Redshirt freshman Marissa Miller did not play at all this fall, leading me to believe she is still recovering from rotator cuff surgery. I did notice her warming up pitchers occasionally. But thus far, she has not seen any regular season action.

Freshmen Corinne Schaus and Erica Afanador were used primarily as pinch runners this fall. Erica did have a start at second base, and performed well. Corinne pitched only one inning all fall, the last inning of fall ball. It looks like she may have to wait her turn. But of course, she must be prepared because who thought Jen Consaul would pitch so much last season. Erica's natural position is shortstop, but Katie Lancellotti has played every inning of every game during her career (with the exception of her very first game when Coach Rappl inexplicably started Lizzy Gatto at short), so she will also have to wait her turn. But I see her being used extensively in a pinch running role.

Now the weather turns bad, which we must go through to get to the spring season. I look forward to the 2012 season and am curious to see how Canisius will perform in the role of MAAC underdog. The Iona Gaels will attempt to become only the second team in conference history to win three titles in a row. The only team to do it? You know who!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Griffs To Open Season At East Carolina

It looks like Coach Rappl has assembled a very challenging schedule of games for this season, beginning with an appearance at the Pirate Classic in Greenville, North Carolina on the campus of East Carolina. The tournament begins February 10, with the Griffs opening against the Drexel Dragons. They will play a pair of games against the host Pirates, the 2011 Conference USA Champions and winners of two NCAA Tournament games last season. Another opponent will be the ACC's Virgina Cavaliers.

The new season is just around the corner!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Griffs Close Fall Season With Shutout

The sun visited the Demske Saturday!

Pink umpires, visiting recruits, players "passing the helmet", an unusually sun drenched autumn afternoon and big hitting were all part of the final day of the Golden Griffins' 2011 fall season.

The big hitting part was the one element that we've seen before this fall as the Griffs handled Mercyhurst easily by a 10-0 score Saturday at the Demske Sports Complex. One player who particularly stood out was freshman Michelle DelPrince. Shelley has been steadily improving during fall ball, and today she exploded for three RBIs in a 3 for 3 performance. She creamed a pitch to the right center field fence in the first inning that resulted in an easy triple and two runs scored. She would go on to single home another run, but her most impressive at bat IMO was a simple late inning bunt. She used her great speed to make it an easy infield hit. But after using her legs, she used her head. Noticing that the Mercyhurst infield had fallen asleep, she took off for second base, without an instant's hesitation, and slid safely under the tag for a two base bunt! What I wrote about Michelle last year:

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.

If you've watched her carefully this fall season, you'll have noticed the learning curve. This is one smart player who I believe has played herself into a starting role.

Today's game ended with senior shortstop Katie Lancellotti making a fabulous play. Of course, she made it look easy when she ranged deep behind second base, snagging a hot grounder then instantly flipping it to Lauryn Chris for the force out. She's at the top of her game, and in fact the Griffs' infield is very solid this season. I thought Val Nappo was outstanding at first base, and I guess she's ready to settle in there for the next three seasons.

Canisius received outstanding pitching today, utilizing all four of their hurlers including freshman Corinne Schaus who made her debut in the circle. Caroline Main started, and was very sharp as she has been all fall. She looks 100% healthy, and I feel that she's going to have a big season. Amanda Baun and Jen Consaul both had no problem breezing through their time in the circle.

Lizzy Gatto hit a nice double down the line, and stole a base as well. Val Nappo got the scoring started with a hard single. Freshman Sonia Aguilar drove home a pair of runs, and again played very well behind the plate. Freshman Robin Kennery hit safely again, and walked. I think she's gotten hits in every game this fall. It's interesting that Coach Rappl never mentioned third base when he signed her, but now it's looking as if she may be there for four years. Lauren Falzone hit and stole, as she seems to do every game she plays now. Stephanie Pfentner is a rock behind the plate, and I believe the best defensive catcher in the MAAC. I still think that not having to catch every single inning is going to help her bat.

There was a pause during the game when Coach Rappl had Erica Afanador and Corinne Schaus go into the stands with helmets collecting donations for the fight against breast cancer. That's why the blues were in pinks! And finally, let's hear it for the Buffalo weather which came through after the last dreary weekend with a spectacular day for softball!
Griffs win 10-0. 2 rbi double by Sonia Aguilar. Corinne Schaus makes her pitching debut.
8-0. Another rbi by Michelle DelPrince and some errors
RBI single Val Nappo. 2 RBi single Jen Consaul. 2 RBI triple Michelle DelPrince. 5-0 Griffs.
Beautiful sunny day at the Demske

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mercyhurst In Town Saturday

The Golden Griffins will close out their fall season Saturday when they host division 2 Mercyhurst at the Demske Sports Complex beginning at 1 pm. It will be a great day weather wise, with temps in the 70s and sunny skies.

The Lakers bring with them a lot of local players, including Shaina Bunker who is beginning her college career after starring at North Tonawanda. Another interesting freshman is Cherise Gunnell, the pitcher who had that fabulous run to the state championships with Falconer last spring. Other locals on the Mercyhurst roster: Julie Harmon (North Tonawanda); Megan Smith (Immaculata); Courtney Smith (Sweet Home); Andrea "Bean" Sauers (Iroquois ); and Amanda Walker (Roy-Hart). And of course, assistant coach Griffin is a Mercyhurst alum.

This will be the last on field competition for the Griffs until February 10.

All-American Scholar Athletes

The NFCA has announced its 2011 All-American Scholar Athletes, and Canisius is well represented:

Lauryn Chris
Jen Consaul
Lizzy Gatto
Katie Lancellotti
Caroline Main
Val Nappo
Kerry Ulmer

Congratulations to all for this impressive accomplishment!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Griffs To Play In USF Series in 2012

The Golden Griffins will make a return trip to the USF series of tournaments in 2012, held in Tampa and Clearwater, Florida, this time playing in two of them. On the weekend of March 9 they will play at the Under Armour Invitational with games scheduled against Toledo, East Tennessee State, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Cleveland State and Long Island. After a weekday game at South Florida, the Griffs will participate in The Game Tournament, scheduled to meet Tennessee-Chattanooga, Maryland, Long Island, Bryant and Towson.

Canisius will open their season on the weekend of February 10 at the East Carolina Invitational. They will also make a trip down to Texas, and a return trip to the UMBC Classic. Opponents have yet to be announced.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sunday's Game Canceled

The Griffs' scheduled game at UB Sunday has been canceled due to the weather.
The Griffs will close out their fall season next weekend with a home game against Mercyhurst.