Softball Set for a Busy Week of Games
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The No. 19 Virginia Wesleyan College softball team will look to continue its winning ways this week with eight games against Salisbury University, Sweet Briar, and then finishing out the week at the Princess Anne Sports Complex for the annual Beach Blast Tournament. The Marlins will face Case Western Reserve, Western Connecticut State, Manhattanville, and Keuka.
On Tuesday, Salisbury University (2-2) returns to the same field where they ended the Marlins' 2016 season in the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Sea Gulls lost five key players to graduation from a year ago, but return outfielder Leanne Collins, who hit .393 a year ago and currently leads the young Sea Gull squad with a .467 average with three doubles and six RBI. Brooke Mizelle (0-1), Rachel Milligan (1-1), and Shannon Powell (1-0) will anchor the circle.
Sweet Briar will open its season and ODAC play on Wednesday at Virginia Wesleyan. The two teams last met on April 7, 2015, when the Marlins won 16-0 and 9-0, both in five-inning run rule games. The Vixens will be led at the plate by senior Kayla Dooms, who hit .462 a season ago with six doubles and one home run with 18 RBI.
The Marlins will look to continue their offensive success led by Blake Henderson, Cassetty Howerin, Kiersten Richardson, Teresa Cardamone, and Liz Bailey. Freshmen Hanna Hull (3-0) and Courtney Wright (3-0) will also look to continue the strong starts to their college careers in the circle prior to the Beach Blast Tournament.
Case Western Reserve will open its season this weekend and will look to three juniors, Grace Tritchler (.357, seven home runs), Maren Waldner (.331, 20 RBI), and Katie Wade (.343, 10 doubles) to pace the offense. Senior Annie Wennerberg (14-10, 3.21 ERA) will do her best to quiet the Marlin bats.
Western Connecticut State will also open its season in Virginia Beach after being picked to finish third in the Little East Conference after capturing the league title and a NCAA Regional berth a season ago. Western lost six seniors to graduation but junior Jenna Gaudioso will be a force in the lineup as she is coming off a season where she hit .336. Sophomore Jaclyn Smith will look to replace the production in the circle after last year's two top arms graduated.
Virginia Wesleyan will play its most challenging game of the weekend against No. 7 Manhattanville College. After a program best 41-5 record and a Super Regional appearance, the Valiants return 16 of their 18 players including top hitter and preseason All-American, Desiree Buboi. Alicia Marino and Aarin Hartenstein both had over 50 RBI a season ago and were tabbed preseason All-American honorable mentions. Junior Alycia Feeney is back to lead the pitching staff and will attempt to improve on her 25-5 record and 1.47 ERA. The Valiants are a young team as four of their top five hitters were freshman a season ago, but lead Division III in home runs and slugging percentage.
The Marlins will conclude a busy week with another NCAA Regional participant from a year ago, Keuka College. Junior Mickenzie Palmer (.365, five doubles) and senior Samantha Blum (.300, five home runs) will look to challenge the Marlin pitching and lead the offense.
Important links for the upcoming week:
Stay tuned to the Virginia Wesleyan schedule for live stat links for the weekend as they are made available