D2 Revue: North Alabama

It is only fitting that our final team in the D2 Revue was the final team standing in Denver, Colorado back in May. We of course are referring to the defending National Champion North Alabama Lions. UNA enters the season as the preseason #1 team in the NFCA Division II Poll and are one of the heavy favorites to make it Salem, Virginia for the 2017 Division 2 WCWS. We had the honor to chat with head coach Ashley Cozart about her team heading into the 2017 season

  • What it was like winning it all last year
  • Where she was when she was announced to the St. Leo Hall of Fame
  • How moving to Division I and the Atlantic Sun will impact the program
  • Playing in the Gulf South Conference prepared UNA for their postseason run
  • The biggest difference in being the hunted from being the hunters

D2 Revue: UNA Lions

The Coaching Staff:
Entering her fourth year as head coach, Ashley Cozart has quickly established herself as one of the top coaches in all of Division II. In her three years at the helm, she has guided the Lions to the postseason each year and has recorded a 136-39. She has coached 15 All-Gulf South Conference (GSC) selections, 12 All-South Region picks, and 4 All-Americans (all in 2016) during her tenure. During her seven overall seasons as a coach both at UNA and NAIA program Lindsay Wilson College, Coach Cozart is a sparkling 327-84. She and assistant coach Whitney Hawkins were named the 2016 NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year. This season, they will have two familiar faces serving as student assistants in Brooklyn Clark and Courtney Shields.

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About Last Season:
From their surprising 12-2 victory versus North Georgia to start the year to their dominant run through the Gulf South Conference, 2016 was truly the year of the North Alabama Lions. They started the season 11-0 and didn’t look back as they climbed quickly to the #1 ranking in the NFCA polls by the middle of the season. Gulf South Conference play looked easy (which is isn’t) as they went a combined 33-3 in conference games as they won both the regular season and tournament championships. They were the #1 seed in the South Region which meant they got to stay home in front of their sold out fan base at UNA Softball Stadium. They used that crowd and some clutch hitting to advance to the Super Regionals where they had to face Rollins College for the third straight season. After winning game 1, UNA trailed by 2 runs with three outs to go. The record setting crowd rallied the Lions to a tie and eventual win in extra innings to advance to Denver where they knocked off Humbolt State in three to win their first NCAA Softball Championship.

Another All-American back for UNA in 2017 will be shortstop Reagan Tittle She has started every game for the Lions since coming on as a freshman in 2015. Tittle was just as strong at the plate hitting .356 with 11 dingers and 56 RBI’s. She was also tied for second on the team in steals with 17. Her strength however is in the field where she help anchor a UNA defense that posted a .976 fielding percentage in 2016.

North Alabama might have the best 1-2 combination in Division 2 in 2017 with senior hurlers Hilary Carpenter and Raven Cole Last season, they combined to go 58-6 and led a staff that was near the top of the Gulf South Conference in many statistical categories. Carpenter already holds single-season and career records for wins as well as innings pitched. She racked up a school-record 33 victories in 2016 en route to being named first team All-GSC for the third straight season. She enters her senior season on pace to break the career record for strikeouts, games started (already tied), and complete games.

Cole transferred in from LSU-Eunice in 2016 and was just as dominant as her teammate Carpenter. Raven went 25-3 with a 2.24 ERA which also garnered her first team All-Gulf South Conference Honors. She was the only pitcher to finish conference play with a perfect record (14-0, 2.10 ERA in GSC action) and threw a pair of no-hitters versus Stillman and Mississippi College

Did You Know: Prior to Coach Cozart’s arrival in Florence in 2014, the Lions had made only made the NCAA Tournament twice (2006, 2013) and had not won the Gulf South Conference championship (regular season or postseason) since 1987.

For more notes and news about the Lions, visit UNA Lions Softball and follow them on Twitter at @UNAsoftball and @UNAAthletics

D2 Revue: Saint Leo

With the 2017 season rapidly approaching, we roll on with our D2 Revue by chatting with Saint Leo Head Coach and recent Hall of Fame inductee Erin Kinberger about the preseason favorites in the Sunshine State Conference. The Lions enter the season ranked #17 in the preseason NFCA Polls after going 39-8 in 2016 and winning the SSC by going 21-3 in conference play. On this interview, we chatted with Coach Kinberger about

  • Handling the expectations of being the preseason SSC favorite
  • Where she was when she was announced to the St. Leo Hall of Fame
  • What made the 2016 team so special
  • The biggest key to continuing their success from last season
  • Having Sammy Marshall as a part of her talented staff

D2 Revue: Saint Leo Lions

The Coaching Staff:
Erin Kinberger has established herself as one of the rising stars in Division II by winning 72% of her games in her five seasons as coach at both her alma mater St. Leo and previously at Fort Hayes State. She has twice won coach of the year for the conference in 2013 and in 2016. Coming into this season, Coach Kinberger is 15 win away from 200 for her career. The Lions staff is dynamic and experienced with Maddie Holub, Al Affrunti, and grad assistant Sammy Marshall.

About Last Season:
Many feel that the framework for the 2016 season was laid at the end of 2015 where the Lions won 11 in a row to close out the season. That confidence would serve them well 2016 saw St. Leo produce one of the most dominant seasons in school and Sunshine State Conference history. The Lions started 37-1 as they cruised their second SSC championship in four years. The Lions were justly rewarded as they became only the second school in the last 10 seasons to sweep all four regular season awards. They set numerous school records including consecutive wins (23), conference wins (21) and batting average (.323).

W2W4 (Who 2 Watch 4): The majority of last year’s roster returns in 2017 including SSC Player of the Year Rachel Heath. Heath last season established herself as one of the dominant lead-off hitters in the country as she led the Lions in Runs (39), Hitting (.426) and also paced the conference with 38 stolen bases. Many feel that her game will be even better this season having Sammy Marshall as an assistant coach.

Someone who will benefit from Heath being on base so much will be Senior Samantha Ohmie. Last season, the Californian led St. Leo in Doubles (11, tied) and Home Rums (5) as well as walks (20). She will look to help continue pace the Lions offense and will get some help from catcher Sommer Pollard who came on strong late and will be asked to help support the Lions pitching staff

As strong as their hitting is, their pitching will look to again be one of the elite in the nation. In the first two seasons under Coach Kinberger, the Lions finished top-two in the nation in ERA. Leading this staff for 2017 will be reigning Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Adkins

She transferred in to the program last season and she became an immediate impact player by going 18-4 with a 0.99 ERA. She formed a dominant 1-2 punch with Alana Tabel as the Lions led the nation with a 0.93 ERA. Not only was Adkins named Pitcher of the Year, but she was also named an NFCA All-American. This year, she will be the anchor of the staff, but look for some big things from Samantha Tyler who will get the first shot at being that #2 starter. Last year, Tyler was 7-1 with a 1.26 ERA in 11 appearances.

 

Did You Know: In her first two seasons, Erin Kinberger already has the highest winning percentage (.796) in program history.

For more notes and news about the Lions, visit St. Leo Lions Softball and follow them on Twitter at @SaintLeoSB and @SaintLeoLions

 

D2 Revue: Rollins College

On the latest edition of our D2 Revue, we chat about the Rollins Tars with members of the 2016 team Niki Fogle, Jule Kranz, and new assistant coach Brittany Johnson to talk about their postseason run and the 2017 season.

  • The adjustment Brittany has made from playing to coaching
  • What are Niki and Jule up to since hanging up the cleats
  • What made the 2016 team so special
  • What it was like to finally make it to Super Regionals
  • Why is Rollins the most hated school in the Sunshine State Conference

D2 Revue: Rollins College

The Coaching Staff: Michelle Frew begins her 21st season as the head of the Rollins program which is the 2nd only to Florida Southern’s Chris Bellato for tenure in the Sunshine State Conference. During her time in Winter Park, Coach Frew has amassed an impressive resume:

742 Wins (860 All-Time Career Wins)

10 NCAA Regional Bids (Including 9 in the last 10 years)

4 Sunshine State Conference Championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014)

3x Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year (1999, 2010, 2011)

Her staff this season will comprise of her husband Steve Frew and former All-American Brittany Johnson as her assistants.

About Last Season: The 2016 season was one that will go down as one of the most memorable in program history. Rollins faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation which included matchups with powers Valdosta State and reigning national champion North Georgia. After starting the season 4-3-1, the Tars got hot winning 29 of their next 33 games. During that stretch, historical milestones were reached with Niki Fogle picking up her 100th career victory while fellow senior Tiffany Osmanski set a new school record with a 20-game hitting streak. At the close of the year, Fogle would make more history by breaking the school record for victories in a road win at the University of Tampa.

The Tars would sweep their way through the South 2 Regional in Valdosta, Georgia which included a victories over the host Valdosta State Blazers and West  Florida to advance to their first ever Super Regional round. The sweep including a walk-off victory over the host Blazers before winning 2-0 against UWF to move on where they fell two straight to eventual national champion North Alabama.

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W2W4 (Who 2 Watch 4): Rollins will be paced by one of the top leadoff hitters in the region in Senior 1B Hailee Keisling. Last season, she led the Tars in Runs (44) and Walks (24) while hitting .303 en route to being named to the Sunshine State Conference First Team for the second time in her career. Keisling is on pace to join Christine Roser as the only players in school history to score 100 runs, have 100 hits, draw 100 walks, and drive in 100 runs. Anchoring the middle of the order will be another senior in CF Chelesa Reed. 2016 was a breakout season for the Lake Mary native as she led Rollins with a .350 average, 62 hits, and 15 doubles. She was also a threat on the base-paths with 23 steals in 24 chances as she was named 2nd Team All-SSC.

With the loss of nine letterwinners from 2016, look for a lot of new faces to make immediate impacts for the Tars. Two names to keep an eye for will be Chandler Middlebrook who transferred in from Florida Gulf Coast and Rachel Miner who last year was a solid bat for conference-foe Nova Southeastern.

Pitching wise, Coach Frew will lean on a young, but talented staff to keep the Tars in contention. Sophomore Grace Street will be asked to take on a bigger role for the Tars this season. In her rookie season, Street went 11-3 with a 1.81 ERA while also hitting .357 at the plate with 14 RBI’s. Fellow sophomore Erin Fortney will look to continue her progression after making seven appearances and holding opponents to a .177 batting average.

 

Did You Know: Rollins became the third team five seasons to advance to the South Super Regional as a sixth seed. (Florida Southern in 2012, Shorter in 2015). All three of those times, they were eliminated by the team who eventually went to win the National Championship.

For more notes and news about the Tars, visit Rollins Softball and follow them on Twitter at @RollinsSports as well on Instagram @RollinsSoftball

Photos by Jim Houge of Jim Houge Photography

 

D2 Revue: Grand Valley State

Our D2 Revue softball extravaganza continues as we shift over to Midwest and talk with the NFCA Preseason #6 Grand Valley State. We had a chance to talk with Head Coach Dana Callihan about her Lakers heading into 2017.

  • The comfort of having a balanced line-up with no one true “superstar”
  • Handling games on turf and then playing on grass in Clermont in March
  • The grind of playing in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)
  • How her time as a player and assistant coach under Doug Woods has influenced her
  • Expectations of building off their run in 2016

D2 Revue: Grand Valley State

The Coaching Staff:
Entering her third season as head coach, Dana Callihan understands what it takes to wear the GV on the chest as she herself was a former player and assistant coach under Doug ‘Doc’ Woods. Her first two seasons have produced 75 wins including 43 last year on the way to Denver, Colorado. 2016 saw eight Lakers receive all GLIAC selections which tied for the most in school history including four 1st Team selections. Her staff this season will comprise of Jen Rivera and Ryan Schalk.

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About Last Season:Last season was one that Laker fans will remember for years to come as GVSU made it back to the Division 2 WCWS for the 2nd time in four seasons. The road to Denver wasn’t always easy as the Lakers went through the rigorous GLIAC finishing runner-up with a 21-5 mark. Their road to the postseason started in Indianapolis for the Midwest 1 Region tournament. They knocked off the second-ranked Greyhounds and All-American Morgan Foley before beating Trevecca Nazarene twice to advance to the Super Regionals. Standing between them and the Rocky Mountains as GLIAC foe Wayne State. Having to travel again to extend their season, the Lakers won two straight to advance to Denver. The Lake

W2W4 (Who 2 Watch 4): GVSU will have plenty of strong returners back from last seasons WCWS team headed by Senior Ellie Balbach . Last season she proved to be a force at the plate and in the circle for the Lakers. Ellie led the team in hitting (.353), hits (65), doubles (16), and slugging percentage (.522) while going 8-4 with a 2.39 ERA. Balbach was named 2nd Team NFCA Midwest Region and for the 2nd straight year 1st Team All-GLIAC. It was Balbach who did most of the work that sent the Lakers to Denver by hitting a homer and shutting out Wayne State 1-0 in Game 2 of the Midwest Super Regionals.

Joining Ellie as a top returner for GVSU is fellow senior Jenna Lenza Like her teammate, Lenza was also named 1st Team All-GLIAC for the 2nd straight year and 2nd Team NFCA Midwest Region. 2016 saw the Orland Hills, Illinois product hit .345 while finishing in Top 10 in the GLIAC in seven different offensive categories including Walks (29) and Total Bases (86). Their strength in numbers mindset will prove to be vital as they seek to replace their leading run producer in McKenze Supernaw. Look for Kaylie Rhynard to have a bigger role offensively in her junior year. She hit .333 last year as a sophomore and was a perfect 21-21 in stolen bases.

Pitchwise, the Lakers will have strong support behind their offense led by Balbach and 2016 GLIAC Freshman of the Year Allison Lipovsky 2016 saw Allison lead Grand Valley State with a 0.95 ERA while going 11-1 on the season. She allowed only 13 earned runs all season as she held opponents to a .180 batting average. Courtney Reinhold will also be there to help anchor the Lakers staff. In her sophomore season, Reinhold went 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 16 starts.

 

Did You Know: Coach Callahan served as an assistant coach for Doug ‘Doc’ Woods during his tenure as head coach where she was a part of the first two WCWS appearances in 2002 and 2013.

For more notes and news about the Lakers, visit Grand Valley State Softball and follow them on Twitter at @GVSUSoftball as well as @GVSULakers

Photos by Doug Witte, Grand Valley State Athletics

D2 Revue Southern Arkansas

Our D2 Revue softball extravaganza continues as we shift over to another team who had a magical 2016 season and is one of the early preseason favorites to make it Salem, Virginia for the 2017 Division 2 Women’s College World Series. On this edition of the Revue, we are joined by Southern Arkansas Head Coach Jason Anderson to discuss his Lady Muleriders and how they can get back to the Division 2 Women’s College World Series. We discuss with Coach Anderson:

  • The grinding schedule inside the Great American Conference (GAC)
  • Playing in-front of a packed house at newly renovated Lady Mulerider Field
  • Their early season schedule preparing for GAC action and being the preseason favorite
  • What one thing Coach Anderson would change about college softball
  • Expectations of building of their magical 2016 season

D2 Revue: Southern Arkansas

The Coaching Staff: Jason Anderson has quickly established himself as one of the top names in Division II in just two seasons at Southern Arkansas. After winning 26 games in his first season, 2016 saw the Lady Muleriders set a school record with 53 victories on their way to Denver in the WCWS. During his nine seasons as a head coach, he has produced big offense numbers and wins. Among his successes includes…..

4 Seasons with 50+ victories

386 Career victories (Central Baptist College (AR), UNA, NW Oklahoma State, SAU)

35 All-Conference Selections

He and his staff last year were the Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year. His coaching staff is young and dynamic with Kayla English, Autumn Suydam, and former SAU pitcher Kimmy Beasley all of whom will be in the first year as assistants under Coach Anderson.

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SAU recorded a school record 53 wins in 2016 en route to their 1st Division 2 WCWS appearance (Photo by Southern Arkansas Athletic Department)

About Last Season: 2016 proved to be the greatest season in Lady Mulerider history as they finished 4th in the final NFCA polls after going 53-11. The framework for that season was laid early on as they started 24-2 which included winning their first seven games via the mercy rule. Their success continued into GAC play where they started 18-3 in route to a 33-8 record and second place behind Arkansas Tech. The postseason was a continuation of their success from the regular season. Battling from the losers bracket, they won twice versus Harding to win their second straight GAC Tournament championship. SAU earned hosting privileges for the Central 2 Regional where they swept their way to the Super Regionals which saw them knock out conference-foe Arkansas Tech two straight to punch their ticket to Denver.

W2W4 (Who 2 Watch 4): While SAU lost six starters from last year’s Central Region champions, the cupboard is certainly not bare. Senior Utility Maddie Dow will and Redshirt Junior Brook Goad will help lead the Lady Mulerider offense heading into 2017. Both Dow and Goad were named to the Fastpitch News Preseason D2 All-American Team. Dow was a rock in the middle of the lineup hitting .335 with 18 long-balls and 61 RBI’s. She currently is the SAU and Great American Conference All-Time leader in Home Runs with 52. That number also is the most among all active players in Division 2.

Goad was named All-American by the NFCA, D2CCA, and Hero Sports after a breakout season where she finished tied for second in the nation in homers with 23. She established a new school and conference record with those 23 taters as well as new school records with Runs (65), Total Bases (149) and Walks (52). Both her and Dow will look to help continue their offense production as they will be asked to help lead a team that lost eleven players from their 2016 roster.

In the circle (no pun intended), Kaylee Garner will look to lead SAU after an outstanding 2016. The Texas State transfer went 25-4 with a 2.11 ERA. She formed a potent combo with teammate Kimmy Beasley who will now serve as an assistant coach for the Lady Muleriders. Kaylee, who herself was named a Fastpitch News Preseason D2 All-American, will have some support with the return of Jill Roye who sat out all of 2016 due to injury and a crop of newcomers to the program.

Be sure to keep an eye on Redshirt Senior Catcher Tyler Casada who will help the SAU defense this season behind the plate. Her .989 fielding percentage led SAU in 2016 and helped anchor a staff to a 1.96 ERA which held opponents to a .206 batting average.

 

Did You Know: In her first start with Southern Arkansas, Kaylee Garner threw just the third perfect game in school history versus Lincoln in their season opening 8-0 win. Garner struck out 10 hitters and was named NFCA National Pitcher of the Week for her performance.

For more notes and news about  all things Lady Muleriders, visit Lady Muleriders Softball and follow them on Twitter at @SAUSoftball as well as @MuleriderSports & @JAnderson_Coach

D2 Reveue West Texas A&M

We take great pride in providing the best fans in the world the best coverage of the sport not only from Division 1 and NPF, but also Division 2. Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at some of the teams to watch heading into the 2017 season.

This first edition of the Revue, West Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Blaskowski joins Victor Anderson to discuss the Lady Buffs and their upcoming 2017 season.

  • How they faced a little adversity with the weather to start spring practice
  • Playing at Schaeffer Park where they’ve lead D2 in attendance three straight seasons
  • How his early schedule sets up his team for success in the Lone Star Conference
  • The biggest key to keeping his program fun and successful
  • Winning a national championship in 2014 and how it changed the program
  • Having former standout Lacey Taylor to his talented coaching staff

D2 Revue: West Texas A&M

The Coaching Staff: Coach B begins his twelfth season at the helm of one of the most successful programs in the entire nation. His team has amassed 424 victories during his tenure including

2014 National Championship

4 Lone Star Conference Championships

3 Lone Star Conference Tournament Titles

2 Appearances in the Division II Women’s College World Series (2014, 2016)

He is also the reigning Lone Star Conference and South Central Region Coach of the Year. His staff is among the best in the nation with Associate Head Coach Candace Abrams, Grad Assistant Jamie Edwards and Assistant Coach, former Lady Buff standout Lacey Taylor.

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West Texas A&M will look for their 4th straight LSC championship (Photo by West Texas A&M)

About Last Season: In the rich and storied history of Lady Buff Softball, 2016 might have been one of the greatest of them all. The season kicked off with a program-record 30 game winning streak which was also Lone Star Conference and South Central region records. They continued their dominance by clinching their 3rd straight conference championship with over two weeks remaining in the season. West Texas A&M was rewarded by hosting the South Central Regional at Schaeffer Park where they had to go the hard way via the loser’s bracket to advance to the Supers. In the Super Regionals, they took on a familiar foe in St. Mary’s, but Buff Nation and the offense proved to be too much as they advanced to Denver and the Division II Women’s College World Series. 2016 saw many records fall including best conference winning percentage (30-2, .938), best road record (19-1), and most home wins (35) among others.

W2W4 (Who 2 Watch 4): Offensively, the Lady Buffs have the bats to match anyone in the nation.  As a team, West Texas A&M had EVERY starter on the team hit at least .300 with nine hitting over .350. Leading the charge will be Junior All-American CF Ashley Hardin. Last season as a sophomore, Hardin finished second in the nation in both home runs (23) and RBI’s (81) while hitting a gaudy .392 for the season. She will look to continue her production in 2017 as she has the chance to potentially being one of the all-time greats at West Texas A&M. Hardin will have a strong supporting cast which includes Sophomore OF Brittany Cruz. All she did last year as a freshman was hit 15 dingers and drive in 67 runs. Did we mention she was doing all of this mainly as the #9 hitter? Look for Cruz to move up in the lineup and continue her production.

 

Pitching wise, Kilee Halbert will serve as the ace of this staff in 2017. Last season, she shined going 27-4 with a 2.11 ERA while leading a Lady Buffs staff that set school records in ERA (2.27), Shutouts (15), and fewest runs allowed (171). Halbert will have some strong teammates helping in the circle with Chelesa Skipper (5-1, 2.78 ERA) and Alexis Alfonso (10-0, 3.20 ERA) returning this season. Also, they will be boosted by the addition of transfer Kami Merrill from Nebraska-Kearney who will help solidify .

Did You Know: Since 2010, the Lady Buffs have won more games than any Texas team at the NCAA level with 338 (yes, it does include reigning Divison III National Champions Texas-Tyler who has amassed 304 victories)

For more news about West Texas A&M and all things Lady Buffs , visit Lady Buffs Softball and follow them on Twitter at @WTSoftball

Sammy Marshall Talks , Chicago Bandits, St Leo

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Sammy Marshall begins 2017 as Grad Asst Coach at St Leo. (Photo Courtesy of Saint Leo)

On This edition of In The Circle, Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson talks to 2-time NPF Champion of Chicago Bandits Sammy Marshall who beginning her first season as Graduate Assistant Coach at St Leo.

Among the topics Marshall discusses in the interview include:

  • Getting into Coaching at Saint Leo.
  • Adjusting from playing into coaching
  • Saint Leo’s 2017 outlook

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    Sammy Marshall help lead the Chicago Bandits to 2nd straight NPF Title in Summer of 2016. (Photo Courtesy of Bandits)
  • Winning two NPF Championship seasons with Bandits but in different way.
  • Comparing 2015 championship versus 2016 championship
  • Going from rookie on team in 2015 to one of veterans in 2016
  • Impact of Pitcher Angel Bunner had on Bandits after joining team during 2016 season.
  • Impact Shelby Turnier made on Bandits
  • Playing in the Bandits-Pride rivalry
  • What it was like getting drafted 18th overall in 2015 NPF Draft by team she grew up watching?

In The Circle-Episode 63 with Sammy Marshall

Marshall was selected 18th overall in the 2015 NPF Draft by the Bandits out of Western Illinois. Among the accomplishments Marshall had at Western Illinois included.

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Marshall played at WIU From (2012-2015) (Photo Couresy of WIU)
  • Becoming just the third player from WIU to ever be drafted to play professionally
  • Owns program and Summit League records in stolen bases (134) and runs scored (168)
  • Broke WIU and conference record for career batting average (.456), also ranking in the top 10 in NCAA history
  • 2x Summit League Player of the Year
  • 4x All-Summit League First Team selection

Marshall would help a Veteran Bandits team that included Monica Abbott, Amber Patton, and Tammy Williams  knock off the then two-time defending NPF Champions USSSA Pride  in 2015 NPC Championship.

Below is Victor Anderson’s outlook on Saint Leo’s 2017 season.

2016 saw the Lions have one of the most dominant seasons in school history as they started 37-1 in route to their second Sunshine State Conference championship in four years. However, the ending will serve as motivation as Saint Leo finished 2-7 in their last nine and fell to eventual National Champion North Alabama in the South 1 Regional. This year, the Lions are the heavy favorite to repeat as SSC champions under Head Coach Erin Kinberger. In her first two seasons, she already has the highest winning percentage (.796) in program history. The majority of last year’s roster returns including Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Adkins and Player of the Year Rachel Heath. They will look for a little payback for the only team who beat them in a conference series last year; Rollins. They close the season with the Tars at home on April 27th and 28th.

Did You Know: Saint Leo went an incredible 48-1 in a 49 game stretch that dated back to the 2015 season which saw them win 11 in a row to close the season.

Mackenzie Huhn Talks Coaching at Palm Beach Atlantic

On this edition of In The Circle, Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson speaks with Palm Beach Atlantic’s Asst Coach Mackenzie Huhn about going into her 1st season with PBA as the asst coach after finishing her playing career at UCF.

Among the topics discussed with Huhn includes

  • What got Huhn into coaching
  • Huhn thoughts on Sailfish staff
  • Adjusting from Playing to Coaching
  • Huhn reflects on UCF Career
  • Throwing a Combine No -Hitter with Mackenzie Audas
  • Being part of UCF 2015 Staff with Audas, Shelby Turnier and Jamie Ujvari that was No 1 in country in ERA.
  • Winning American Conference Tournament Championship in 2015

Mackenzie Huhn Interview on In The Circle Episode 62

Huhn finished her Knights career with a 2.49 career ERA. Huhn was part of the  Knights winning back to back American Athletic Conference regular season championships in 2014 and 2015 as well as American Conference Tournament championship at UCF in 2015.

Huhn is familiar with the area being a Palm Beach County native, Huhn grew up in North Palm Beach and played softball at William T. Dwyer High School.

“Having Mackenzie Huhn on our staff will make an immediate impact for the Sailfish softball pitching staff,”PBA Head Coach Kimmy Bloemers said. “I remember watching her as a dominant pitcher in this area and I love that she now can give back to her hometown. I am confident that her wealth of knowledge and UCF background will help guide this Sailfish softball pitching staff to great success.”

Here is Victor Anderson’s outlook on the Sailfish:

Palm Beach Atlantic will be looking to continue the momentum from the end of last when the Sailfish finished as one of the hottest teams in the region. PBA won 10 in a row to close the year and went 14-2 in their last 16 games which included a road sweep against eventual SSC champion Saint Leo. 2017 will mark their first year as official members of the Sunshine State Conference meaning all games against SSC members will count in the league standings. Head Coach Kimmy Bloemers enters her 11th season with another strong roster led by Senior OF Kayla Knight and Sophomore 3B Maddie Bertisch. PBA will need to score runs early as they have to replace their top two pitchers from a year ago in Amber Johnson and new volunteer assistant coach Rachel Hill.  Their schedule is loaded with tough opponents including a trip to North Georgia and a match-up with Armstrong State in Melbourne, Florida on Opening Weekend.

Did You Know: The Sailfish will play 27 of their first 30 games away from their home at Simpson Field with their lone games played in their home turf will be their conference opening series versus Rollins on February 24th and 25th.

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Morgan Foley Talks Going from D2 to NPF

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Victor Anderson talked to Chicago Bandits rookie pitcher Morgan Foley about being in the NPF with the Bandits after a great career in D2 with Indianapolis. Foley became the second player ever to play in the NPF from Division 2 joining her rival Hannah Perryman who was the first ever draft pick from a D2 school this year by the Akron Racers

Among the topics Foley discussed with Anderson included.

  •  How Foley ended up at Indianapolis?

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    Perryman and Foley battled for 4 yrs in the Great Lakes Valley Conference
  • How Foley almost ended up with Bandits as an intern?
  • Her  rivalry against Hannah Perryman as Perryman was in the same conference as Foley as Perryman played for Missouri -St Louis. Foley and Indy knock off Perryman and Missouri- St Louis in 2015 Super Regionals to advances to D2 version of Women College World Series.
  • Foley’s 30 strikeouts in 13 inning perfomance
  • Foley’s No Hitter with 21 strikeouts in 7 innings
  • Her plans after Softball
  • What it like being with Bandits?
  • How fellow rookie pitcher Shelby Turnier and entire Bandits staff are helping her adjust to the NPF.

Morgan Foley Interview

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Morgan Foley

Foley ended her college career as UIndy’s all-time leader in wins (140), strikeouts (1,659) and innings pitched (1027.0) Foley finished second all-time in career Ks by a Division II pitcher  behind only Perryman. Foley was named a top-3 finalist for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Player of the Year . Foley was  dubbed All-America First Team by both CoSIDA and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) … 2016 D2CCA Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year … CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division II Softball Second Team … four-time first team all-region honoree, both from CoSIDA and the NFCA . Foley became just the third pitcher in NCAA history (first DII pitcher) to strikeout all 21 batters in a seven-inning game — a 2-0 win versus in-region Hillsdale (2/27); recorded a no-hitter in that game, facing just 25 batters (21 K, 4 BB, 0 balls in play)

In 2015 Foley help lead Indianapolis to the D2 version of the Women’s College World Series which was held at Oklahoma City. Foley was voted First Team All-America by both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the College Sports Information Directors of America. Foley was  one of 10 finalists for Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Player of the Year … also garnered first-team recognition on the All-Midwest Region and All-GLVC squads, as well as team MVP … broke her own school record for strikeouts with a Division II-leading 457 Ks, good for the fifth-highest total in DII history … finished second in the nation in wins (39) and eighth in ERA (1.19),

In 2014, Foley was Named 2014 Division II Pitcher of the year by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), becoming first-ever Greyhound to receive the honor … dubbed All-America First Team by both CoSIDA and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) … finished second in the nation in both wins (33) and strikeouts (386), with the latter breaking her own school record .

Who Did Well in NPF Draft?

On this edition of In the Circle Podcast.Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson recap the NPF Draft with  Justin McLeod who covers College Softball and the NPF. Among the topics they discuss.

  • Which Team had the Best Draft?NPFbug-1
  • Which player went higher then expected?
  • Which player went lower then expected?
  •  What are some of storylines of the NPF off-season prior to the season starting?
  • How will Megan Willis do as Asst Coach of Pride?

In The Circle Podcast : NPF Draft Recap Episode 18

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Also In case you missed On In the Circle Podcast episode 19, Eric Lopez and Victor Anderson broke down how the postseason looks in Division 2. Who will make the NCAA Tournament out of the South Region and broke down the contenders.

In The Circle Podcast : D2 South Region Postseason Outlook from 4/21/16