Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Golden Griffins At The Plate

Back up to the fence, Steph's up!

Continuing a fan preview of the 2012 Canisius Golden Griffins softball team with a look at the offense.

In 2011, the Griffs as a team were tops in the MAAC, having the third best year in the conference since 2000. Graduation has taken away some firepower; but plenty of offensive talent remains in place.

The senior class looks solid at the plate. Lizzy Gatto can do everything offensively, and is coming off another very productive season. She can hit for power and average and is an excellent bunter. Lizzy also runs very well, and will pick up the stolen bases lost to Lauren Hope's graduation. Lizzy was a perfect 21-21 last season. The All-MAAC center fielder is a game changer.

Replacing Lauren Hope as the team's lead off hitter will be Lauren Falzone, who had a breakout season in 2011. Lauren was hovering around the .400 mark for a large portion of 2011, finishing with a .351 average. She too runs very well, and was 5-5 in thefts. I would expect that number to increase with her move to the top of the lineup. She looked like a natural lead off hitter in fall ball, and although she's replacing one of the greatest lead hitters in Canisius history, I think she's up to the task.

Katie Lancellotti will be chasing the Canisius career home run record this season. She has been a prolific RBI producer during her career, driving home 42 in 2010 alone. Katie's not the fastest player on the team, but she will steal a base, going 6-7 last year. She looked very sharp to me in fall ball. Look for a rise in her average.

Lauryn Chris filled in for an injured Katie Medina for a large part of the 2011 season, and saw her batting average rise dramatically to .313. It looked to me as if she changed her swing a bit. Lauryn is probably the best base runner on the team. It remains to be seen how much playing time she will be allotted, but she is likely to make the most of it.

Stephanie Pfentner heads the junior class in the batter's box. Stephanie banged out 7 homers in 2011's shortened season. Many of them were of the "moon shot" variety. A dangerous hitter who can launch one at any time. I thought Stephanie was hampered by having to play every single game behind the plate. That won't be the case this season; she'll benefit from being the designated player often. Stephanie has the rare ability to change a game with one swing of the bat.

Katie Medina missed significant time in 2011, and I assume was not 100% at times she did play. She had knee surgery last summer after the season ended, so she of course had to rehabilitate her knee. We'll have to wait and see how well she has recovered. Hopefully Katie will be back strong because she is a run producer who knows how to get on base and is always a threat to steal.

Chloe Contreras has yet to see much action in her career, but has produced at about a .300 clip when she's had the chance. She will again see lots of action as a pinch runner though.

Val Nappo finished her freshman season on a strong note. She ended 2011 as one the top hitters in conference games. She was second on the team with 10 doubles, and is another Griff who runs well. Val finished with a .273 average her first season, which is exactly the same average as Lizzy Gatto had her first season. She's the same kind of player, possessing all the tools. Val will benefit from her year of experience, and from here on out could be a steady .300 hitter.

Jen Consaul is primarily a pitcher. However, Coach Rappl gave her lots of at bats in the fall, and she was clobbering the ball all over the place, including over the fence a couple times. She's going to be busy pitching this season, but I don't see how coach can keep her out of the batting lineup.

You never know how freshmen will perform until they actually get on the field in the spring, but I think the Griffs will get serious contributions from their new class of players. Robin Kennery was hitting everything thrown her way this past fall, for average and power. She made a lot of hits in key situations too. Michelle DelPrince in the fall got better as the season progressed. Smart, fast base runner. Sonia Aguilar showed some real power in the fall; I would expect her to get lots of at bats right from opening day. Erica Afanador made one start and did well, but she will probably have to wait her turn with the exceptional middle infield the Griffs will field. However, she did a lot of pinch running, and with her speed expect her to see duty. Marissa Miller is a redshirt, after major surgery last year, and has not seen any action since the fall of 2010.

Offense wasn't the problem for the Griffs in 2011, and it won't be this year also. They have the chance to have a powerful middle of the lineup to take advantage of all the speed they should have on base. I don't expect much drop off, if any, from last season.

Friday, January 27, 2012

WNY Softball Suffers Another Great Loss

More terribly sad news to report to you.

Legendary Williamsville South High School softball coach Gerry Gentner passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer. He fought this battle with a lot of dignity and courage; at one point coaching his beloved team with a chemo drip attached to his body. He put his girls first.

Coach Gentner built a powerhouse at South, winning New York State championships and mentoring great players such as Michelle Fridey, Chelsea Plimpton, All-American and Olympian Caitlin Lever, current Griff Lauren Falzone, and many others. I know he was well loved by his players.

Our condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Gentner's family during this most difficult time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kalie Michalski To Join The Griffs?

2011 Lake Shore High School graduate Kalie Michalski has apparently joined the Golden Griffins in time for the upcoming 2012 softball season, this according to the Lake Shore High School website. Kalie is an All-ECIC 2 First Teamer who plays a multitude of positions, including third base and catcher.

That rumor seems to be confirmed. The second part of the rumor is that someone has left the team, and that is unconfirmed...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Golden Griffins In The Circle

With the season only three weeks away, and the team busy at practice, it's time for this fan's preview of the 2012 Golden Griffins to begin.

Once again this season, with Iona very strong in the circle with two seniors, the Griffs' chances will primarily depend upon the performance of the pitching staff. The team will have a senior in the circle for the first time since 2009; and they will have four pitchers for the first time since 2007. It's no secret that outside of Jen Consaul's encouraging freshman season performance the staff struggled last season. But there's reason for hope in '12.

Senior Caroline Main is the key to this season, I think, and the Griffs will ride her arm as far as it takes them. Caroline, as you know, was injured at the end of the 2010 season, and never seemed to fully recover until the final week or two of 2011. I think she was injured again last year, but you know how secret they are about these things. At any rate, she didn't look injured to me at all this past fall. She performed like the 2010 All-MAAC Caroline; and that's what the Griffs will be looking for from her. You'll remember that season she was undefeated in MAAC play. This is her year, and this is her team. I think she's ready and eager to pitch; if she returns to form, the Griffs will be a contender.

After an All-MAAC freshman season, junior Amanda Baun did have a sophomore slump. Amanda is vitally important to this team. She proved what she can do in '10 when she set a Canisius freshman record for wins. She can be a dominant strike out pitcher. I think Amanda needs plenty of innings in the early portion of the season to give her that chance to succeed once more. This past fall, she seemed to me to be working on mixing up her pitches more.

Sophomore Jen Consaul was pressed into action once conference play began last season. She responded admirably under a lot of pressure. What I noticed most about her is that she doesn't get rattled, no matter the situation. I thought her best performance was at Siena, in game two of a MAAC doubleheader after the Griffs had been run ruled in game one. She totally shut down the Saints, who were smelling blood, and kept Canisius in the race at the time. So, Jen Consaul pitching more than probably coach Rappl had planned turned into a blessing in disguise---she ended up as one of the MAAC's top pitchers in conference play, with a 5-1 record and 2.05 ERA. this is significant considering she didn't pitch all that much in pre-conference play, and was just adjusting to college softball. Jen will compete for starting time.

The Griffs have a freshman, Corinne Schaus on the roster this season. Corinne did not pitch much at all in the fall, so I suspect she will be eased into the lineup with some relief innings in the early part of the season. But as last year proved, you never know what will happen.

The 2012 Golden Griffins must have the goal of returning to the MAAC Tournament. The performance of their pitchers will determine if this is to be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Pitch Is A Month From Today!

The Griffs begin practicing Monday the 16th.
But there's still no snow??!
Outdoor practices maybe?
Maybe not!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

WNY Softball Loses A Great Friend

Very sad news to report.

John Tripi, a great friend to and a leader of Western New York softball, has passed away today.

Mr. Tripi was the commissioner of the Amherst Girls Softball League, and was a leader of the great Amherst Lightning organization. As you can see from the photo below, he made an impact on a lot of young women who went on to play softball at Canisius College.

We offer our sympathy and prayers to John Tripi's family during this difficult time.

*There will be a tribute to John Tripi at the Sports Performance Park at Eastern Hills Mall on Tuesday, January 10th starting at 5 p.m. All are welcome.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Alexis Roman of Chino, CA has committed to play softball for Canisius College beginning in the 2013 season.

The newest Golden Griffin is another recruit to come from a top ranked California High School softball program. Alexis Roman is a second baseman/shortstop at Don Lugo High School in Chino. She is a three time All-Mt. Baldy League selection, and helped the Conquistadores to a league championship in '11. Alexis plays travel ball currently with Pure Fastpitch; she has also played with the Lakewood Firecrackers and the So Cal Wicked. Presumably she will be signing her NLI in the spring.

Congratulations Alexis!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

2013 Canisius Softball Schedule

*All times eastern.

February 16-17
Cleveland St. Dome Tournament

February 16
St. Bonaventure W 5-2
@Cleveland State L 7-4

February 17
Bucknell W 4-1
St. Bonaventure W 10-2

February 22-24
North Carolina A&T Invitational

February 24St. Francis W 10-4
N. Carolina W 12-0

February 25
St. Francis W 9-3
MD.-Eastern Shore W 7-4

March 8-9
Hampton Pirate Invitational

March 8
Delaware 12pm
Central Connecticut State 2pm

March 9
Maryland-Eastern Shore 2pm
@Hampton 4pm

March 15-17
Cherry Blossom Classic

March 15
Pittsburgh 12:15pm
@George Mason 4:45pm

March 16
Ohio State 10:30am
Pittsburgh 12:45pm

March 17
@George Mason 10am

March 23
@Ohio (DH) 1pm

March 27
@Buffalo 4 pm

March 30
@Mount Saint Mary's (DH) 12pm

April 2
@College Of Charleston (DH) 4pm

April 3
@Charleston Southern (DH) 2pm

April 6
@Rider (DH)* 1pm

April 8
St. Bonaventure (DH) 3pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 10
Detroit Mercy (DH) 2pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 13
Marist (DH)* 12pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 16
Robert Morris (DH) 3pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 18
Niagara (DH)* 3pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 20
Manhattan (DH)* 12pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 21
Saint Peter's (DH)* 12pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 24
Buffalo 4 pm
Demske Sports Complex

April 27
@Iona (DH)* 12pm

April 29
@Fairfield (DH)* 11am

May 1

@Colgate (DH) 3pm

May 4
@Siena (DH)* 1pm

May 9-11
Poughkeepsie, NY

*=MAAC Game.