Sunday, April 29, 2012

Griffs Control Their Own Fate

Siena's game one loss to Iona today means that Canisius can qualify for the MAAC tournament by simply winning their final four games vs. Niagara and Rider.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Griffs Stay Alive

Katie Medina drove home the run that kept Canisius in the hunt

The Griffs had to come out of Marist with a win today, and they did that, taking game two of the doubleheader 4-3.

Canisius never trailed in game two, jumping in front in the first inning thanks to a Marist error that allowed Lizzy Gatto to score after the Griffs loaded the bases. Marist tied the game, but then Stephanie Pfentner hit a timely home run, good for two runs, in the fourth inning. Marist tied the game with a pair of solo homers off starter Corinne Schaus. Caroline Main entered in relief, and no hit the offensive minded Red Foxes for the final 2 1/innings, allowing her team to scratch out the winning run in the top of the seventh inning. In that inning, Lizzy Gatto got into scoring position with a one double. An infield single off the bat of Robin Kennery moved Lizzy to third base. Katie Medina then hit the fly ball needed to send Lizzy home with the winner. The win improved the Griffs' record to 7-5, and if a few things happen in the MAAC Sunday, Canisius could find themselves in the top four with their fate in their own hands. At any rate, they are still alive in the race to qualify for the tournament.

Lizzy Gatto hit a two run homer in the first inning of game one to give Canisius a quick start, but Emily Osterhaus would go on to limit the Griffs to two hits the rest of the game and Marist won 6-2.

Griffs Travel To Marist For Key Conference Games

Canisius will play a MAAC doubleheader in Poughkeepsie Saturday against the Marist Red Foxes in a matchup that will feature two teams fighting for inclusion in the conference tournament.

Here's a look at Marist:

The Red Foxes are currently in first place; but everything is close at the top of the MAAC. Six teams (including Canisius, currently in sixth place) are competing for the top four slots that will qualify them for the postseason. The Red Foxes have four players who have driven home 20 or more runs, so the Griffs' pitchers will have their hands full. I would say the most dangerous hitter on the team is Dani Koltz, who has been very consistent all season; leads the team in home runs and RBIs; and has a penchant for getting a timely hit in important situations. But they also have three seniors who are having outstanding seasons, and can strike at any time: Ashley Corriss, Megan Lamoureux and Nicole Divirgilio. They have others in the lineup who can hit as well. The Red Foxes' pitching is not on the par of an Iona, and they have used two freshmen quite a bit with mixed results, but junior Emily Osterhaus has recovered from a poor start and has pitched well in MAAC games.

Canisius must get at least a split in this series. It will definitely take 10 wins, very possibly 11 to qualify for the tournament. Being swept would make it unlikely for the Griffs to make it. The Griffs mustn't stop playing if they fall behind this hitting team, because it's not impossible to comeback against them, as Niagara did three times last week. For Canisius, Jen Consaul has been pitching extremely well in conference play. Among the leaders in ERA (1.40), and wins (4), she has walked only two batters, and has the lowest opponents' batting average in the MAAC. They will need a big game from her again. The doubleheader begins at noon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Griffs Sweep St. Peter's; Move Into Contention

Michele DelPrince's grand slam, her first career home run, seemed to set the pace for Canisius Friday in their MAAC sweep of the Peahens. That shot to center field by the freshman kind of put an end to any hopes St. Peter's had of an upset. The Griffs won that game 5-3, and rolled over St. Peter's in game two 11-2. There were more firsts: Val Nappo hit her first homer; Marissa Miller got her first hit and RBI; Kalie Michalski took her first at bat and got her first RBI. And it was the first time Katie Medina played in April, coming back after her injury at Syracuse in March. Katie was 3 for 6 in the doubleheader, in the designated player slot. Val drove home four runs in game two, and Caroline Main struck out nine Peahens.

So the Griffs have taken care of half their business; day two on the trip is Saturday at Manhattan. Another sweep of a weak sister, and the Griffs will have set themselves up very nicely, guaranteed to be coming home in the top four. But, they better not take the LJs lightly.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

With One Swing Santana Turns Defeat Into Victory

Brenda Santana is mobbed by her teammates after 2 out, 7th inning homer

An update on Canisius signee Brenda Santana, who is currently playing her senior season at Banning High School in Wilmington, CA. Through 18 games, Brenda is hitting .519 with four home runs and 22 RBIs. She recently won a game for the Pilots with a dramatic two out, seventh inning home run:

Throughout her career, Banning slugger Brenda Santana had established herself with one of the best strokes in the South Bay.

On Wednesday, Santana was good to the last strike.

With two outs in the seventh inning, Santana drove an 0-and-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a three-run blast, the big blow in Banning's 4-2 comeback victory in a crucial Marine League showdown at San Pedro.

"When I was up there, I had no doubt," said Santana, who was 3 for 4 with a double. "I was waiting for my pitch. I hit it inside out. When it hit the bat, I felt it. It was nice and smooth."

Read more here

Photo courtesy of The Daily Breeze

Schedule Change

Because of an unfavorable weekend weather forecast, Canisius will now play at St. Peter's Friday, with the MAAC doubleheader beginning at 2 pm. Their scheduled series at Manhattan will stay the same, with the doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jen Consaul Tosses Another Shutout

Griffs will pin their hopes on the arm of Jen Consaul

St. Bonaventure 6
Canisius 3

Canisius 8
St. Bonaventure 0 (6)

Sophomore Jen Consaul continued her great pitching with a second consecutive shutout at St. Bonaventure Tuesday.
Jen hasn't allowed a run since the first inning of Saturday's game vs. Fairfield, a 2-1 loss. She threw a four hitter against the Bonnies on the heels of her two hitter vs. Iona.
Robin Kennery had an excellent doubleheader, hitting 5 for 7; Michelle DelPrince was 3 for 6 with three RBIs. Katie Lancellotti drove home three runs.

Canisius has an excellent opportunity this coming weekend to get back in the top four of the MAAC when they travel east to play doubleheaders at Manhattan and St. Peter's. Both teams are having difficulty simply competing in games this season. These are four games the Griffs need to win, and if Jen Consaul continues her streak, Canisius should be playing with more confidence than they have all season.

On a side note: the box score to game one vs. St. Bonaventure mistakenly attributes the loss to Corinne Schaus.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two Hit Gem By Jen Consaul Saves Season

Shuts out defending champions in must win situation

Sophomore pitcher Jen Consaul just defeated a pitcher, fifth year senior Alyssa Maise, who had struck out 15 Niagara Purple Eagles on Saturday. Basically Jen was going to have to pitch a shutout to win this game...and she did it! Canisius scored the game's only run in the first inning when Val Nappo squeeze bunted Lauren Falzone home. If Sarah Jackson is the number 1 pitcher in the MAAC (she beat the Griffs earlier in the night 5-3 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicates), then Alyssa Maiese is 1b. So, the pressure was on Jen, and she delivered, striking out four and walking no one. Lizzy Gatto also had a hand in preserving the win, with a spectacular, but controversial catch over the center field fence in the fourth inning. Iona claimed it was a home run; but the umpires ruled otherwise. The whole Griffs' defense was outstanding.

Canisius absolutely had to have this game, as the top of the MAAC is currently in a log jam. A loss would have placed them in a very tenuous position; as it is now, they are in sixth place, but only a game out.

Under The Lights

The start time for today's Canisius-Iona doubleheader has been changed to 6 pm. Night softball!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Griffs Swept By Fairfield

Lost opportunities translated into a pair of losses for Canisius Saturday, as Fairfield took the conference doubleheader by scores of 2-1 and 4-2. If the Griffs would have cashed in their chances, they'd be sitting alone in first place tonight. As it is, they are out of the top four, and about to face the two best pitchers in the MAAC when they host Iona Sunday.

After falling behind in game one 2-0, the Griffs loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning. They were fortunate to score a run due to a wild pitch. Starter Jen Consaul settled down after that rough first inning in which she surrendered four hits, and shutout the Stags the rest of the way. A golden opportunity presented itself for the Griffs in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs on the board. However, three straight outs with no chance at a sacrifice killed that threat, and for all intents and purposes, ended the game, as Canisius could only muster a two out single in the sixth inning after that.

Canisius jumped in front 1-0 in game two. They did this when they loaded the bases once more, in the second inning, and Stephanie Pfentner singled home a run. They were set up for a big inning, but instead made an average pitcher look very good for the rest of the game. Fairfield exploded for four runs in the top of the fourth. In fact, the Stags played two good innings all day, which made these losses even more painful. Canisius got one back when Lizzy Gatto doubled home a run in the fifth inning, but they could never put together any sustained rally today. And so, Canisius not only squandered an opportunity to set themselves pretty in the standings, but they also lost a chance to put a main rival firmly behind the eight ball. Instead they had the tables turned on them.

MAAC Weekend Scouting Report

It's a big weekend of conference games for Canisius at the Demske Sports Complex. The four games could possibly make or break the Griffs' 2012 season. Canisius has been traditionally very tough at home vs. MAAC opponents, but they have a difficult challenge this weekend, playing against the two teams that made it to Championship Saturday at last season's MAAC tournament.

First up is Fairfield. The Stags are at 1-3 in the conference, so this is a big weekend for them as they begin road play. They narrowly missed a 0-4 start when they staged a late inning comeback vs. Marist last weekend, and they need to play well during their western trip. The Stags no longer have Sarah Minice, so their pitching is not as excellent as it has been. However, sophomore Becca Trott is having a good season as their number one starter. She has had very good outings against Florida State and South Florida. Rae Ball will pitch game two, and while a steady pitcher, she has not shown the ability to be dominant. Offensively, the Stags are a very good running team, on a par with the Griffs. The artificial field will aid them. They also have three hitters with 20 or more RBIs---Ali Wigand, Lauren Liseth and Rae Ball. They all can strike quickly. Fairfield, like Siena, has had difficulty this season h0lding on to leads, and have lost a number of games in late innings.

Defending champion Iona comes in Sunday with the best pitching in the conference. The Griffs are quite familiar with senior Sarah Jackson and fifth year senior Alyssa Maiese. Both have outstanding ERAs. The one possible weakness for the Gaels is that they have not always given offensive support to their two aces, which is reflected in their win-loss records. The Griffs will have to be very careful with Alyssa Maiese when she is batting; the 2011 MAAC home run leader has been raising her level of play of late. Junior Eileen McCann is second in the conference in hitting, and has long ball ability. Junior Jodi Petersen is also having a solid season at the plate.

One win by Canisius this weekend will keep them firmly in the hunt. Anything more than that will set them up very nicely as a favorite to qualify for the MAAC tournament. Weather Saturday will be no problem. Sunday will be very warm, with rain forecast up until noon.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Jennipher Solis of La Puente, CA signed a National Letter Of Intent Wednesday to play softball at Canisius College beginning in the 2013 season.

Canisius fills a pressing need by signing the pitcher, who is a senior at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, CA. Jen had a great 2011 season for the Conquerors, with a 13-3 record and 0.87 ERA. In 2010, she was 15-5, .098 ERA. She has averaged over one strikeout per inning. Jen is also a good hitter, with power and speed. She currently plays travel ball with the Riptide Gold out of Newport Beach, CA.

Congratulations Jenn!

Saturday's Start Time Changed

The Golden Griffins' scheduled MAAC doubleheader vs. Fairfield at the Demske Sports Complex Saturday will now begin at 10 am, due to a forecast of rain later in the day.
Sunday may be a problem, as thunderstorms are predicted for the morning up until noon, then more rain. Two days forward is a long time for weather forecasts, but possibly the games vs. Iona could be moved up to Monday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cancer Awareness Weekend

Press release from the official Canisius Athletics site:

Hello All!

This Saturday the Canisius College Softball Team will be hosting our annual Cancer Awareness game/MAAC double header against Fairfield at 12 Noon. I’m asking for your help in getting this information out to your players, students, and fellow coaches. We are hoping for a big turnout so that we can make a sizable donation to Roswell Park J

As a fundraiser the player’s pink jerseys and coach’s shirts will be auctioned off. There will be an auction sheet for each shirt so people who want to bid on the jerseys can write their information and bid on the sheet corresponding to the jersey they wish to buy. The bidding will only be going on during the FIRST game on Saturday. The auction will end after the conclusion of the first game and the highest bidders will be contacted via phone/email and will be asked to send a check to Canisius College Softball before the jersey will be sent out.

There will also be other small fundraisers going on throughout the game. All of the money from these fundraisers will be going to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo from Canisius Softball. We are playing the game in memory of Sandy Hollander, the Buff State coach who recently passed away from cancer. Also, Julie Gentner will be throwing out the first pitch in memory of her dad. If you could please help me in getting this information out I would greatly appreciate it!!! Please check out the link below and feel free to get ahold of me with any further questions.

Thank you in advance for your help! GO GRIFFS!!!

Single Game Today

Has there ever been a worse home loss than today's 10-2 drubbing at the hands of the weak pitching Buffalo Bulls? I can't think of one. If Canisius plays this way against Fairfield and Iona, it's not going to be pretty.

Because of the return of cold, wet weather, UB and Canisius will now play a single game today at the Demske Sports Complex, beginning at 3 pm. The weather forecast looks much better for this coming weekend.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Griffs At Robert Morris Today

Canisius won game two 4-1 behind the 5 hit pitching of Corinne Schaus. Erica Afanador hit her first career home run; Lizzy Gatto homered as well for 2 RBIs. Robin Kennery was 3 for 4, and finished with 3 RBIs on the day.

Griffs lose game one 6-4 after a rough first inning that saw RMU score 5 runs.

Lizzy Gatto is 5th in the MAAC hitting parade

The Golden Griffins begin a busy and very important week today with a non conference doubleheader at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, PA.
The Colonials are having a very good season, currently with a record of 21-15. They are in first place in the Northeast Conference with a record of 7-3. The Colonials are a good hitting team who are led by two seniors. Sarah Capp is hitting .375 with six home runs and 31 runs; Jaci Timko is hitting .333. In the circle, Nicole Sleith is having a great freshman season, with a 16-9 record and 1.98 ERA. She's at about a strikeout/inning. The two teams last met in 2010 at Canisius, with the Griffs sweeping.

Canisius of course is coming off a big MAAC sweep of Siena this past Saturday. They want to keep the momentum going leading up to a pair of huge MAAC doubleheaders at home this weekend. The Griffs struck for 24 hits against Siena. Lizzy Gatto has been hitting very well as of late, with extra base hits being common. Katie Lancellotti has improved her offensive game; her on base percentage has been very good the last few weeks. The Griffs also had an interesting pitching situation. Jen Consaul and Corinne Schaus each gave up only five hits in their seven inning outings Saturday. I would expect to see Corinne get a start during the week; possibly two.

Game time today is 2 pm. I will follow the action here:!/WNYsoftball

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Freshmen Answer The Bell

Corinne Schaus earned her first win in memorable fashion

Canisius 9
Siena 8 (10)

Canisius 6
Siena 3

The Golden Griffins have gotten off to a 2-0 start in the MAAC season with a doubleheader sweep of the Siena Saints Saturday at the Demske Sports Complex.

What began as a disaster, rebounded into an inspiring day for Canisius softball. The first game of today's doubleheader could be a defining moment for this team. Canisius was stunned early by the powerful bats of Siena, who jumped out to an early 7-2 lead and knocked starter Caroline Main out of the game in the third inning. Seven runs on seven hits through 2.1 innings the Saints scored; that's when freshman Corinne Schaus entered the lion's den. It seemed so unfair at the time, considering she really hasn't had quality time in the circle, outside a great game against the powerful Dutch National team in an exhibition, but the Griffs really had no choice. But Corinne fought her way through the lions, and may have saved the Griffs' season in the process, for it was Siena, and not Canisius, who were demoralized come game two. Corinne was fabulous working her way through the number one offense in the conference, hanging an 0 for 3 on the MAAC's best hitter, Shannon Jones. She allowed only one run on five hits in 7.1 innings, walking no one. She gave her team hope, and they responded with a stirring comeback. It was so nice to see.

The Griffs' offensive rally was led by three freshmen who all played great games. Robin Kennery was 3 for 6, with an RBI and two runs. Erica Afanador was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and as many runs. Michelle DelPrince was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. It was Michelle's two out, two run double that lifted the Griffs back in the game in the fifth inning. And it was fitting that Robin Kennery scored the winning run in the 10th inning after Erica Afanador took one for the team, getting hit, with the bases loaded, for the game winning RBI. The freshmen's play was truly inspiring, and a huge lift to the team. Lauren Falzone was 3 for 6 in the game; and Katie Lancellotti walked another three times. Lauryn Chris drove home a run as well.

Game two was the Lizzy Gatto show. The senior had a 3 for 3 game, including a triple and a double, and drove home four runs. She scored twice herself, and extended her base stealing streak. The Griffs fell behind 1-0 early, but then took control of the game, playing with lots of confidence. After watching the freshmen do their thing in game one, the seniors took control in game two. Aside from Lizzy's great game, Lauren Falzone was 2 for 4 with a triple and two runs. Katie Lancellotti was 1 for 1 with, yes, another two walks. Lauryn Chris hit 2 for 2 with a walk. Sophomore Jen Consaul was steady in the circle again, throwing a five hitter with four strikeouts, and not a single walk. Shannon Jones finally got a hit late in the game, a home run with the bases empty, but the Griffs contained her all day.

Strange day. Could have been a disaster, but turned into a confidence booster. Most importantly, when the Griffs fell behind, they did not stop attacking.
Who isn't happy for Corinne Schaus after her gutsy performance in earning her first win?! The freshmen were unbelievable in this key conference win.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jen Consaul Pitches Big

Jen pitched a 10 inning three hitter Thursday

An encouraging sign from Thursday's doubleheader vs. Mount Saint Mary's was the pitching performance of sophomore Jen Consaul. She outlasted the Mountaineers stingy ace, Nicole Pagano, a pitcher who herself has recently thrown a pair of no hitters, including a perfect game, and some one hitters, including one against St. Bonaventure. It took the Griffs ten innings to solve Pagano, resulting in a 1-0 victory. But in the meantime, Jen matched her pitch for pitch, playing to the situation and giving her team what they needed---ten shutout innings! She simply wasn't going to let the other team score first. Jen tossed a three hitter, striking out ten while walking only two batters. Jen had a no hitter going after five innings; Mount St. Mary's only real threat came in the sixth inning when they hit two singles, but Jen snuffed that out quickly. Canisius won the game when Robin Kennery hit a bases loaded single in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Game two was encouraging for different reason, although it was a loss. Actually, I thought the Griffs should have won this game easily, but they found themselves behind the eight ball very early, and had to attempt to climb out of it. A different lineup decision would have preempted that. The Griffs never stop battling though, and Lizzy Gatto continued her powerful hitting, clubbing a pair of homers, and driving home four runs. She came up big in a key situation, hitting one out with two outs in the seventh to tie the game. Remember...Siena has trouble holding leads!

Katie Lancellotti continued to break out of her slump with two more strong games, hitting 3 for 5 on the day with three walks. In her previous game at Buffalo, she was 3 for 3 with two walks. Thursday, she began the 10th inning rally with a leadoff triple, and scored the winning run. She really seems to be snapping out of it, which is of course vital for Canisius.
BTW, these two extra innings games lasted so long, that game two turned into a night game.

Two biggest games of the season coming up Saturday!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Griffs Begin MAAC Play This Weekend

Canisius will open their home schedule Thursday with a doubleheader against Anna Nagro's Mount Saint Mary's Mountaineers before opening conference play on Saturday when they host the Siena Saints.

The MAAC doesn't appear to be as strong as the last couple seasons; Canisius has a real chance to make amends for their poor start. And yes, they can win it all. But how do they match up against the rest of the conference?

I'll begin with Siena, the Griffs' first opponent. Although 7-16 at the momemnt, the Saints are a much improved team. Their main problem this season has been holding on to leads, even big leads. Even late inning leads. The Griffs need to remember to never stop attacking against this team, a team that can be explosive offensively. Siena's offense is led by the premier player in the conference, junior Shannon Jones. Think Teresa Healy in a green uniform. Shannon leads the MAAC in all major offensive categories. She's hitting .433 at this time. But what makes her even more dangerous, is that this season she is surrounded by a number of very good hitters, including Jessika-Jo Sandrini, Mandy Ferro and freshman Meg Volz. In fact, the top of the Saints' hitting lineup is often deadly, and can strike for multiple runs. But Siena just broke a ten game losing streak. Their pitching has been uneven, and is susceptible to big innings. Siena is on a mission to qualify for the tournament, and will be ready to play Saturday.

As for the rest of the MAAC, I'll get into more detail when the Griffs play the various teams. Iona has their two great senior pitchers. Actually one is a fifth year senior. But often they don't produce much offense for those pitchers.

Fairfield does not have the same shutdown pitching since the graduation of Sarah Minice, and has been slumping. They too have had difficulty holding onto leads. But they are as great a running team as Canisius.

Marist has played a very difficult schedule, which should help them. But they have been having pitching trouble, turning to two freshman lately; and they have committed the most errors in the MAAC.

Rider could be dangerous this season. Senior Rachael Matreale is having Pitcher of the Year type of season. She pitched well last year, but got minimal offensive support. That's changed this season, and the Rider coach is pitching her in both games of MAAC doubleheaders.

Niagara has been devastated with injury this year. Their lineup is all messed up, and they just went through a long losing streak where they could barely get a hit. But Julie DiMatteo returned today and beat Cleveland St. 10-0.

St. Peter's isn't ready to make the jump, but have shown definite improvement. They are no longer getting mercy ruled every game, and are competing well. Not a team to fall asleep against.

Manhattan lost virtually their entire starting lineup and pitching staff to graduation, and it shows. Katie Bowen is an excellent player, but all alone at the moment.

I'm excited that Canisius now has a chance to start a brand new season, beginning Saturday. They can and will compete in this year's MAAC; how far they want to go depends on them. Every player must step up her play; no exception. I was very encouraged by Lizzy Gatto's performance in Syracuse. In fact, the whole team competed well against a top team, but made mistakes. They can gain confidence and make a statement with a big opening Saturday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sandra Hollander Passed Away Monday

More terribly sad news to report in what has been a devastating year for the Western New York softball community.

Western New York Softball Hall Of Famer and Buffalo State head softball coach Sandra Hollander passed away Monday.

Coach Hollander was in the midst of her 24th season at Buffalo State. She is one of the most successful coaches in Division III history, with well over 500 wins to her credit. Her teams won four SUNYAC Championships, the latest in 2009 when she led her team within one game of the College World Series.

Having just learned of this now, I do not know the details of her death. I do know, however, that she fought and survived cancer back in 2006, and returned to her team just in time to lead them to another winning season. Early the next year, she discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs. She again fought it hard, and returned just in time to lead her team to another winning. Tough, tough lady...and very beloved by the young women she led. Couldn't ask for a better role model, and I imagine her current players are devastated. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and players.