March 20, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The final weekend of non-League play is coming up for the six Patriot League softball teams, and just like that it will be time for round-robin League action throughout the month of April.
Before the teams get to that point, there’s some non-League business to attend to. After Army’s doubleheader with Fairleigh Dickinson was postponed, the only action on Wednesday features Lehigh visiting Penn for a 3 p.m. twinbill.
Five teams have games lined up for this weekend, with Colgate and Lafayette both heading to Dover, Del., for the Sean Savage Tournament hosted by Delaware State. The two League rivals won’t square off against each other, but each will take on Brown, Princeton and the host Hornets during the festivities.
Other action this weekend features Army visiting St. Peter’s Saturday and hosting Rider Sunday, both doubleheaders; Holy Cross going to Penn for a twinbill Saturday; and Lehigh entertaining Niagara for back-to-back doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.
Bucknell is idle this weekend and returns to the field next week to host Drexel on Wednesday starting at 3 p.m.
Patriot League Notebook
BIG START FOR McCRAVEY
LUCAS TIES LEHIGH HOMERS MARK
Army has plenty of experience on its roster, but the Black Knights have received a bolster from a freshman enjoying a breakout season thus far. Rookie 3B Kelsey McCravey is second on the team and ninth in the League batting .345 with two homers and a League-best 16 RBIs. McCravey picked up her first career weekly honor Monday when she was named Rookie of the Week by the League.
Lehigh senior C Liz Lucas tied the school record with her 23rd career home run last week. That round tripper also moved her into a tie for seventh on the League’s all-time list. Lucas tied former Lehigh standout Lisa Sweeney.
CRUSADER POWER SURGE
Holy Cross is batting a League-best .309 so far this season, and it’s been the offense that has helped lift the Crusaders back toward .500. The team also leads the League in on-base percentage (.406), slugging (.468), runs scored (83), home runs (11) and RBIs (71). Freshman Emily Jarvis leads the League with a .429 batting average and three homers. The Crusaders have also benefitted from the return of senior Sam Fregenti to the lineup, who missed the first eight games because of injury. She’s hitting .563 in six games since her season debut.
LEHIGH EDGES ARMY AS FAVORITE…
Two-time defending champion Lehigh captured 47 points and seven first-place votes to edge Army in the preseason softball poll conducted by the League’s head coaches and sports information directors last month. The Black Knights came in with 45 points and the remaining five first-place ballots. Colgate was third with 34 points and Lafayette next with 22. Bucknell (17 points) and Holy Cross (15) rounded out the poll.
…AND SWEEPS PRESEASON MAJOR AWARDS
A pair from Lehigh claimed the preseason major awards last month as senior catcher Liz Lucas and senior pitcher Rebecca Bliss were named the Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, by the head coaches and sports information directors. Lucas hit .348 with 6 home runs and 40 RBIs last year, while Bliss was 19-7 with two saves in 32 appearances and a 2.08 earned-run average.
LEAGUE PLAY BEGINS MARCH 30
Believe it or not, but Patriot League play in softball is a mere two weeks away. The first three League series will take place Saturday-Sunday, March 30-31, with Holy Cross visiting Lafayette, Army hosting Colgate and Lehigh heading to Bucknell.
The 2013 Patriot League Softball Tournament is scheduled for Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11, from the site of the highest seed. The top four teams in the final regular-season League standings will qualify for the double-elimination tournament that begins with No. 1 playing No. 4 and No. 2 battling No. 3 on Thursday. Lehigh has won the previous two tournament titles after Army captured the crown in 2010.
ARMY’S DePOLO HONORED
Army coach Michelle DePolo was enshrined in the Georgian Court University Hall of Fame back in December. The Black Knight skipper was a three-sport athlete at Georgian Court, lettering in soccer, basketball and softball. She was a two-time captain of the softball team, and pitched her club to four conference titles, three regional championships and three NAIA Tournament appearances.
TWO NEW FACES
Bucknell and Colgate have new mentors in the dugout this spring. The Bison are directed by Bonnie Skrenta, who was hired last June after serving 10 years as the head coach at DePauw University. In her tenure there, she guided DePauw to five NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and a pair of 40-win campaigns. She left the school as its all-time winningest softball coach. At Colgate, Melissa Finley is in her first season guiding the Raiders. She was named head coach after serving as an assistant at Penn for four seasons. In her last season, the Quakers won the Ivy League South Division title. She also had a successful four-year playing career at Princeton, in which she went 22-18 and hit .334 as a pitcher and centerfielder.
Patriot League Weekly Awards (3.18)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LIZ LUCAS, LEHIGH Sr., C, Westminster, Colo.
Lucas hit .450 (9-for-20) last week with one home run and nine RBIs to pace Lehigh during a 4-4 run at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. The senior signal caller hit safely in five of the eight contests, including a 3-for-3 showing with a homer and four driven in with two runs scored in a 13-2 drubbing of St. Peter’s. That round-tripper was the 23rd of her career, tying the school record and moving her into a seventh-place tie on the League’s all-time list. Lucas also added a bases-clearing double in a 7-0 shutout of North Dakota.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
EMILY BAUSHER, LEHIGH So., P, New Egypt, N.J.
Bausher went 2-1 with a measly 1.56 earned-run average and limited opposing hitters to .177 in three outings last week at the Rebel Spring Games. The sophomore went 18 innings, giving up 11 hits and finishing with a 1.00 WHIP while striking out 26, including 13 in a 7-0 complete game blanking of North Dakota. She went the distance twice, including a two-hit 4-0 shutout of Albany in which she fanned nine. Bausher now has eight career shutouts, and averaged 10.1 strikeouts per seven innings last week.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
KASEY McCRAVEY, ARMY Fr., 3B, Scottsdale, Ariz.
The rookie infielder started all eight games for the Black Knights in Florida last week and was second on the team during that stretch batting .370 (10-for-27). She started the week a red-hot 4-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored in a 12-6 victory over Wagner. She hit safely in six games, and had another multi-hit outing when she went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored in a 4-3 loss to Rider. He closed out the trip 1-for-3 with two more RBIs in a 5-3 victory over Green Bay. McCravey finished the week with six runs scored, one home run and nine RBI. In the field, she made just one error with 18 putouts and 16 assists.
AMANDA NGUYEN, ARMY Jr., OF, Houston, Texas
Hit safely in first five games last week and finished hitting .407 (11-for-27), scored nine times and stole eight bases.
MARIAH MIDYETTE, BUCKNELL Fr., OF, La Puente, Calif.
Batted .393 (11-for-28), socked a homer with seven RBIs, four doubles, a triple and scored six times in 10 games last week for the Bison. Hit safely in eight of the contests, and reached base safely on a walk in a ninth.
SAM FREGENTI, HOLY CROSS Sr., 1B/DP, Melville, N.Y.
Hit .538 for the Crusaders (7-for-13) in four games, helping Holy Cross to a 3-1 mark. Went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and scored once in a 13-6 win over Yale at the Stony Brook Invitational.
EMILY JARVIS, HOLY CROSS Fr., RF, Hopkinton, Mass.
Batted .462 (6-for-13) and hit safely in all four games for the Crusaders. Hit a walk-off solo home run and scored twice in Holy Cross’ 6-5 win over Manhattan Sunday.