Monday, February 25, 2013

Two Golden Griffins Honored By MAAC

The MAAC began its weekly Players Of The Weeks awards; Jen Consaul and Bethany DeMarco were honored by the conference.

MAAC Pitcher of the Week
Jen Consaul, Canisius, Jr., RHP, 5-9, Chili, N.Y./Churchville-Chili

Consaul started her junior season by going 3-1 with a save and a 1.12 ERA in six appearances, as of Feb. 24...

MAAC Rookie of the Week
Bethany DeMarco, Canisius, Fr., 3B, 5-3, Victor, N.Y./Victor

DeMarco started her college career off on the right foot as she hit .462 (6-for-13) with a double, five RBIs and two runs scored in five games through Feb. 24...

Read more here

Griffs' Best Start In 19 Years

Tori Nappo is hitting .385 and leads the MAAC in RBIs
Canisius 7
UMES 4


The Golden Griffins completed their sweep of the North Carolina A&T tournament by beating Maryland-Eastern Shore earlier today, 7-4. The Griffs' 7-1 start is their best since the 1994 season; and we're talking about a lot of very good Canisius teams over the past two decades. The 2013 version is not just squeaking by in their games, but are putting up some impressive offensive numbers. And getting good pitching.

This game wasn't as close as the score indicates. Canisius took a 7-1 lead before UMES scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with no hits after some walks and wild pitches. The Griffs scored three runs in the third inning with RBIs from Robin Kennery, Marissa Miller and Tori Nappo. In the fifth inning, Tori singled home her 11th RBI of the season. And in the sixth inning, RBIs by Robin Kennery and Stephanie Pfentner, and an unearned run scored by Erica Afanador gave the Griffs another easy win. In the circle, Amanda Baun pitched another good game to improve her record to 3-0, allowing just one run over six innings of work. Her ERA for the season thus far is an impressive 1.00.

Some batting averages after the first two weeks of the season: Stephanie Pfentner - .632. Robin Kennery - .406. Bethany DeMarco - .400. Tori Nappo - .385. Michelle DelPrince - .357. Val Nappo - .333. Marissa Miller - .333. Meghan Cuda - .310.

Canisius Beats St. Francis Again

Jen Consaul now 4-1; 19 Ks last two starts
Canisius 9
St. Francis 3


The Golden Griffins continued their winning ways earlier this morning with another offensive outburst, beating St. Francis for the second time in two days in Greensboro, NC. They started the attack in the first inning when a Meghan Cuda walk and stolen base was turned into a run thanks to Michelle DelPrince's triple. After Stephanie Pfentner walked, the Nappo sisters each doubled (interesting that they seem to mimic each other often in the batting order!), which made the score 4-0. Val had one RBI; Tori had two. The Red Flash scored two runs through the fourth inning, but Canisius would get those back in the top of the fifth. Michelle DelPrince scored as a result of an error; then Val Nappo singled home Robin Kennery for her second RBI of the game. A two RBI double by Robin Kennery in the sixth inning; and a home run off the bat of Marissa Miller in the seventh inning closed out the scoring for the Griffs.

Val Nappo was 3 for 4; Tori Nappo and Robin Kennery had two hits each.  Meghan Cuda and Val Nappo each stole two bases. Jen Consaul improved her record to 4-1, allowing just two earned runs while striking out eight batters. Canisius has begun 2013 with a record of 6-1, their best start since 1994, and are currently on the field playing Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Griffs In Double Figures Again

Robin Kennery was 4 for 4 vs. the Aggies
Canisius 12
N. Carolina A&T 0


The Golden Griffins scored in double figures for the third consecutive game when they upended host North Carolina A&T Sunday 12-0 in Greensboro, NC.

In today's second game, the Canisius bats stayed hot, pounding out 16 hits. The Griffs jumped in front 1-0 in the first inning when Stephanie Pfentner singled home Robin Kennery. Tori Nappo and Beth DeMarco both doubled in inning two to make the lead 3-0. Another RBI for Tori, and one off the bat of Marissa Miller gave the Griffs a 5-0 lead in the third inning. They made it 6-0 in the fourth when Michelle DelPrince singled home Meghan "Barra" Cuda, who had just tripled. In the sixth, another triple, this time by Robin Kennery, scored Michelle DelPrince, who had doubled. In the seventh, Erica Afanador and Michelle DelPrince hit run producing singles. This was followed by Robin Kennery's two run double, and Kalie Michalski's first RBI of the season. Phew! 12-0.

Jen Consaul pitched a two hitter for her second win of the day.She struck out 11 and walked none. Robin Kennery had four hits; Michelle DelPrince three. Two hits apiece were accomplished by Marissa Miller, Bethany DeMarco and Erica Afanador. Bethany had five RBIs on the day; Tori Nappo had four. Canisius is now 5-1 and atop the MAAC. This has been a constantly changing schedule, but I think the Griffs are playing Monday against St. Francis at 9 am; and against Maryland-Eastern Shore at 11 am. A note: Katie Medina and Alexis Roman did not play today.

Golden Griffins Rout St. Francis

Canisius 10
St. Francis 4 

Box Score

The Golden Griffins finally got on the field again earlier today in Greensboro, NC at the North Carolina A&T tournament, and began the day with another offensive outburst.

The Griffs bolted out of the gate with a four run first inning thanks to RBI singles by Robin Kennery and Tori Nappo, and a two RBI single by Bethany DeMarco. They had four hits in the inning. After St. Francis battled back to tie the game, Canisius had another big inning, this time in the fifth when they scored five times. Tori Nappo and Bethany DeMarco again singled home runs; Meghan Cuda and Erica Afanador also picked up RBIs; Marissa Miller scored by way of error. The Griffs added a run in the sixth when Bethany DeMarco drove home her fourth run of the day. Beth was 3 for 4. Jen Consaul earned the win in relief; Amanda Baun pitched the first four inning, allowing one earned run while striking out five.

Canisius improved to 4-1. They will play North Carolina A&T later today.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Schedule Change

 *UPDATE*
I guess the tournament is still on. Manhattan has dropped out, but games will be played on Sunday, with championship/consolation on Monday.

*UPDATE*
The actual tournament has been canceled, but Canisius may be going down there to play. No word on that yet.


The Golden Griffins' weekend of games at the North Carolina A&T tournament has been moved back to Sunday and Monday due to rainy weather forecast down there.
No word yet on the new schedule.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Griffs Sweep Day Two At The Dome

Stephanie's bat was on fire this weekend
Canisius 4
Bucknell 1

Canisius 10
St. Bonaventure 2


The Griffs got plenty of quality offense and pitching Sunday as they wrapped up their weekend at the CSU Dome Tournament with a pair of wins, improving their record to 3-1.

Stephanie Pfentner hit a scorching .857 this weekend, but the big story of the Griffs' opening games was the pitching of senior Amanda Baun. She pitched another solid game Sunday, beating Bucknell 4-1. The only run she allowed was unearned, and she struck out nine batters in the game. She also faced a couple of bases loaded situations, and got out of both with no damage. I mention those situations because they reminded me of her All-MAAC season when she would get that key strikeout to get out of trouble. She did so against the Bison Amanda is now 2-0, and hopefully her confidence is growing, and with it the team's also.
The Golden Griffins needed Amanda's great pitching because the game was tight through four innings. They took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Tori Nappo singled home pinch runner Kalie Michalski. The game then remained tight until the Griffs had a big fifth inning helped by a couple of Bucknell errors. RBIs by Alexis Roman, Val Nappo and Stephanie Pfentner gave the Griffs a 4-1 lead. Jen Consaul pitched the final inning to seal the win and earn her second save of the weekend.

Jen Consaul started the Griffs' game against St. Bonaventure, and pitched very well in allowing only one earned run. But the story was the Canisius offensive explosion in a 10-2 romp. St. Bonaventure actually jumped to a 2-0 lead through the game's first two innings, effectively utilizing small ball tactics. But that didn't last long. The Griffs put up four runs in the third inning. Robin Kennery drove home a pair, then scored herself on two passed balls. After Stephanie Pfentner doubled, Tori Nappo sent her home and the Griffs were ahead to stay. Their lead increased to 6-2 in the fifth inning when Marissa Miller drove home two runs. They then tagged on another four runs in the seventh, with Marissa getting another two RBIs, giving her four for the game, and Erica Afanador smashing a two run homer, her first of the season. Stephanie Pfentner was 3 for 3; she missed reaching base only once in her weekend plate appearances. Meghan Cuda was 3 for 4; and began her career with a .400 weekend. Each Nappo sister had a pair of hits, as did Marissa Miller. Tori Nappo and Alexis Roman each drove home three runs over their debut weekend.

It was a good start for the Griffs, considering it's only mid February. They scored 23 runs, and had three very good pitching outings. The freshmen (excepting Jenn Solis who did not play) all had very good debuts. Katie Medina was pulled again from the Bucknell game, and did not play again Sunday. I understand she has a bit of a hand injury, but nothing too serious. Canisius is back at it, this time outdoors, this coming weekend at the North Carolina A&T Tournament.

2-0; 0.00 ERA

Those are Amanda Baun's numbers after having just beat Bucknell, 4-1. Very encouraging development for the Griffs this young season. More on the games later; the Griffs will face St. Bonaventure in a few minutes.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Griffs Lose To Vikings; Split Opening Day

Beth DeMarco was impressive defensively
Cleveland St. 7
Canisius 4

The Golden Griffins lost to the host Cleveland State Vikings in their second game of day one at the CSU Dome tournament by a score of 7-4.

The Griffs didn't get much pitching in this one, surrendering 12 hits, including five of the extra base variety. Offensively they had trouble too, not getting their first hit until the fourth inning; and having runners thrown out at home twice. The Griffs actually took a 2-0 lead early without a hit, thanks to a CSU error and wild pitch. The Vikings put up three runs in the fourth inning to take a lead they would never relinquish. Corinne Schaus relieved Jen Consaul to begin the sixth, and was battered with four extra base hits and the same amount of runs. The Griffs scored a couple more late in the game, but it wasn't enough as they suffered their first loss of the season. Val Nappo was 2 for 2 in the game with an RBI. Freshman Bethany DeMarco had a good debut behind the plate, picking off a pair of attempted base stealers. Of concern is the fact that after a fourth inning leadoff single, Katie Medina left the game never to return. No word if she was injured or not.

Canisius returns to the Dome Sunday for a pair of games, vs. Bucknell and St. Bonaventure.

Griffs Open Season With Win Over Rival

Great opener for Michelle DelPrince

Canisius 5 
St. Bonaventure 2 

The Golden Griffins opened their 2013 season with a 5-2 win over St. Bonaventure today at the Cleveland State Dome Tournament. In the just completed game, Amanda Baun got the start for the Griffs, and was effective through five innings, allowing no runs and only two hits. She earned the win; Jen Consaul pitched the final two innings for the save. allowing a pair of unearned runs, one on an illegal pitch call with a runner on third base.

The Canisius offense got things going with a big second inning. Tori Nappo doubled home pinch runner Erica Afanador for the game's first run, followed by a two run single off the bat of Michelle DelPrince to make the score 3-0. After Meghan Cuda's first college hit, Alexis Roman got her first hit and first RBI to make it 4-0. The Griffs added another run in the fourth inning when Michelle DelPrince singled home her third RBI of the day. She was 2 for 3 in this game, as was Meghan Cuda. Stephanie Pfentner was 2 for 2 with a run scored.

Canisius takes on host Cleveland State later this evening.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Golden Griffins On Offense

The Canisius offense has traditionally been built on speed, and this season will be no different. Almost everyone on the team can run, and Coach Rappl gives the "green light" often. The Griffs were 28-31 in stolen bases in conference play last season, best in the MAAC. They've lost a great base stealer with Lizzy Gatto's graduation, but as freshmen in 2012, Robin Kennery and Michelle DelPrince stole for a combined 21-26. Look for them to run more with the changed lineup. Incoming freshman Meghan Cuda has the ability to steal at a Lauren Hope level. Alexis Roman runs very well as well. So expect the Canisius game plan to stay the same as always - run wild. Of course, Canisius wants to be hitting while they're running, and this season's lineup has a chance to be the best in the MAAC.

Senior Katie Medina (pictured left) finished last season eighth overall in the MAAC with a .330 average. Katie missed some time with injury in 2012, but got back in the lineup just in time for the stretch run. She was on fire in conference play, hitting .393. I'm looking for a big conference season from her this year. Senior Stephanie Pfentner missed about 20 games last season with back injury, and hit only .218. She did better in conference play with a .250 average, but I don't think she was ever at 100% in 2012. Stephanie's a threat to hit one out whenever she steps to the plate, as she did dramatically in the tournament against Fairfield. If she stays healthy, she should be among the MAAC leaders in power numbers. Senior Chloe Contreras will likely most of her action as a pinch runner where she has been effective, although not in base stealing.

Junior Val Nappo ended last season by being named to the All-Tournament team after hitting .333 with a home run and three RBIs in the MAAC Championship. She was third on the Griffs in home runs and RBIs; she improved her RBI production form 8 to 23 as a sophomore. As a co-captain this season, she will be expected to take more of a leadership on the field this season.


Robin Kennery (pictured left) had a solid season at the plate as a freshman, hitting .275; .280 in conference play. She led the team with 25 RBIs; hit the most doubles (10); and stole 11bases. She led the MAAC in stolen bases in conference games. Michelle DelPrince also had a good freshman season, hitting .248. She stole 10 bases; scored 14 runs; and even hit two out of the park while driving home 15. The homers were in conference games. These two players are both well rounded, and will step into more prominent roles this season. Sophomore Erica Afanador hit .203 overall in 2012, but .250 in conference games. She scored 11 runs; stole three bases; and hit a home run in 23 starts. She was also used at times effectively as a pinch runner. Kalie Michalski spent her freshman season exclusively as a pinch runner, scoring five runs and stealing two bases.

The freshmen bring with them lots of promise this season. Tori Nappo is a clutch hitter who has power. She hit a home run in each game of her high school's state championship run her senior season. Bethany DeMarco has also shown herself to be clutch, hitting at a blistering pace when her school made a state championship appearance a few seasons ago. Alexis Roman and Meghan Cuda are both excellent runners with hitting skill.

The Golden Griffins were in the top four in offense in the MAAC in 2012; I expect them to be near or at the top again this season. They will use speed as their main weapon, with some power mixed in.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Golden Griffins On Defense


Pitching

In 2012, Canisius was in the middle of the pitching pack for conference games, posting a respectable 2.21 team ERA. They allowed only 22 walks in 16 games, which is excellent and was tops in the MAAC. Their pitching did not match up with Iona's great staff; but staff has graduated. Farifield however have retained their staff, and that's the team the Griffs will likely be chasing.

Amanda Baun is the senior of the Griffs' staff, and it is well known that she slumped over the past two seasons after a terrific freshman campaign that saw her named to the All-MAAC team. If Amanda returns to that form, and there's reason to believe that she will, the Griffs will be hard to beat in the MAAC this season. Amanda did look like her "old" self this past fall ball season, where she was fairly dominant unlike the previous two fall seasons. She's got the tools; she's got the talent. She's proven she can be a top pitcher in the conference. Likely Coach Rappl is going to pitch her a lot during the early part of the season. I believe she's going to comeback and have a very good season.

Junior Jen Consaul struggled early in the 2012 season; but again she was very good in MAAC play. She finished with a 5-2 record with a 1.96 ERA in conference games, and did so with a lot of pressure to perform on her shoulders. In particular the game she pitched against Iona, on the tail end of a four game weekend against the MAAC's top teams in which the Griffs lost the first three. It was a must game at that point, and she shut down the eventual champions. That win set the stage for the Griffs' run to the tournament. So Jen has proven over her two seasons that she shows up for the big games. While she is not (yet) the big strikeout pitcher she was in high school, her walks per inning ratio was second best in the conference in 2012. I think she was pitched more the last two seasons than was originally planned, and that experience will help her to raise the level of her play going into the next two years.

Sophomore Corinne Schaus pitched exactly one inning during the fall season as a freshman, so it was a bit of a shock when she was pressed into action early in the Griffs' first conference game. Canisius was way behind to hard hitting Siena in what looked to be a disastrous opening of MAAC play when Corinne entered the game. But she was fantastic, retiring the first ten batters, and inspiring her team to a comeback win. She finished the season with a 2-1 record in conference play and a 2.84 ERA. She won a key game at Niagara late in the season that helped the Griffs make the tournament. She'll definitely see a lot of action this season, either as a starter or reliever.

Freshman Jenn Solis pitched only about an inning this past fall. But the last two seasons teach that she better be ready just in case! I guess you could call Robin Kennery the "emergency pitcher" (as Amanda Cannizzo was in 2010) because she was a great high school pitcher. I still wonder how she would do at this level if given the chance. But she excels elsewhere.

Infield

 *UPDATE*
You can kind of scrap my following analysis, except for the part where I write that it "remains a little muddled"!! It seems that Katie Medina will be at first base; Val Nappo will be in the outfield; and Meghan Cuda will be at third base, with Robin Kennery at second base.  But it could change!
-----------------------------------------------------

The Golden Griffins look to be solid in the infield again this season, but it remains a little muddled over whom will play where. Actually junior Val Nappo (pictured left) will be a fixture at first base. One of the top defensive players in the MAAC, Val had a .986 fielding percentage in 2012 after playing every inning. Senior second baseman Katie Medina's presence in the lineup last season seemed to be the sparkplug needed for the drive to postseason. But she has had trouble staying healthy for a whole season. Hopefully she stays healthy throughout 2013, but if not, Canisius can put Robin Kennery or Meghan Cuda at that position. Robin will be playing somewhere every game, that's for certain, and I'm guessing it will be at third base again. Erica Afanador saw extensive time at third in the fall, and can also play shortstop. Or second base! But Coach Rappl had freshman Alexis Roman full time at short in the fall, until she got injured. And she played very well. I'm not the coach, so I can only guess that there will be some juggling early in the season to get the right combination in place.

Outfield

The Griffs lost two stellar outfielders to graduation. It is going to be a very young group out there this season. Freshman Tori Nappo will be replacing Lizzy Gatto in center. I don't think she has quite the arm that Lizzy had, but she runs well and has lots of range. Sophomore Michelle DelPrince will likely stay in left, where she did quite well last season. And in right, I think Meghan Cuda won herself a starting position with her great play in the fall, although her natural position is second base. Senior Chloe Contreras may get some starts, but I see her primarily as a pinch runner. The outfield will have plenty of speed.

Catcher

If senior Stephanie Pfentner (pictured left) can get her offense in order, she's an easy All-MAAC selection. She may be the most valuable defensive player on the team. She missed the early part of last season due to injury, and the Griffs were lost. Teams were running at will against them. When Stephanie came back, that all ended, and teams weren't so eager to run. I'm just hoping she's fully recovered now. But the Griffs do have a promising freshman in Bethany DeMarco who did most of the catching in the fall. She will see significant action I think. Redshirt sophomore Marissa Miller can also play behind the plate, but she may be used more as a designated player.

Next: Offense.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Season Previews

The college softball season began this weekend with three teams from the MAAC getting started. The Golden Griffins begin play this Saturday at Cleveland State playing indoors.

Beginning Monday, I'll be taking a detailed look at the team and their chances this season. The Griffs are a preseason pick to finish third in the MAAC, according to the conference's coaches. I'll show how Canisius has as good a chance as anyone to emerge as champions in 2013.