Salve Regina Softball Selected As CCC Preseason Favorite

Salve Regina Softball Selected As CCC Preseason Favorite

2018 CCC Softball Preseason Poll Video

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Two-time defending Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Softball Tournament Champion Salve Regina was picked as the preseason favorite to claim the title again in 2018. The Seahawks earned 93 points and eight first place votes in the CCC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which is voted on by the league’s 10 softball head coaches.

Salve was the top seed in the CCC Championship Tournament last year after putting together a 16-2 CCC (26-13 overall) record. They continued to play well in the postseason as they progressed all the way through the tournament in the winner’s bracket and earned the conference’s automatic qualifier into the 2017 NCAA Division III Softball Championship.

The CCC Champions were selected to participate in the Springfield Regional where they went 1-2 in the double-elimination tournament.

Western New England will look to return to championship form this season as it was picked second in the year’s poll. The Golden Bears secured 86 points and one first place vote. WNE has played on the final day of the tournament for the past two seasons, but has been unable to get passed Roger Williams for a shot at the title. Last year it was the No. 2 seed with a 13-5 CCC (24-11 overall) record.

Endicott received the last first place vote in this year’s voting and earned 80 points, landing it in the No. 3 spot. The CCC Tournament runner-up the previous two years, Roger Williams, was selected fourth in this year’s poll earning 77 points. The University of New England closed out the top half of the poll in the fifth spot with 53 points.

The bottom half of the poll included Nichols (44 points), Curry (40), Gordon (39), Eastern Nazarene (26), and Wentworth (12) in that order.

The softball season starts for CCC teams this week as a handful of teams head down south to get some games in. The conference schedule begins the weekend of March 23 with the first set of league doubleheaders. At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams in the standings will advance to participate in the CCC Championship Tournament. The tournament begins with the Play-In Phase on Friday, April 27. The six teams remaining after the play-ins will compete in double-elimination tournament to determine the CCC Tournament Champion. The Champion will be crowned on the final day of the tournament, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 5. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the conference’s automatic qualifier in to the 2018 NCAA Softball Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2018 CCC softball schedule.

 

2018 CCC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

Team

Points (First Place Votes)

1.

Salve Regina

93 (8)

2.

Western New England

86 (1)

3.

Endicott

80 (1)

4.

Roger Williams

77

5.

University of New England

53

6.

Nichols

44

7.

Curry

40

8.

Gordon

39

9.

Eastern Nazarene

26

10.

Wentworth

12

 

 

2018 CCC Softball Previews

1. Salve Regina

Last year, first-year head coach Jannelle Iaquinto took a preseason No. 3 pick to the top seed in the CCC postseason. With the CCC Pitcher of the Year, Kelsey Boarman, and CCC Player of the Year Francesca Galeazzi (Lynn, Mass.), the Seahawks swept through the conference championships allowing just one run. Boarman graduates with three softball classmates and that opens the door for five freshmen to compete for pitching duties. Holly Kathios (Pelham, N.H.) and Elizabeth Lombardo (Thomaston, Conn.) will serve in dual roles, sharing catching duties and helping out at middle infield and the hot corner respectively. Senior Kristen Hickey (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) and junior Amanda Riley (Barinton, N.H.) have been tabbed as captains and will counted on for offensive production in addition to handling first base and shortstop roles. Iaquinto’s outfield still features plenty of speed with Lindsey Florent (New Bedford, Mass.), Megan Guest (Meridan, Conn.), and Lindsay DelGrego (Wallingford, Conn.) all returning.

   Francesca Galeazzi, SRU

2. Western New England

Coming off three straight top-two finishes in the CCC regular-season standings, the Golden Bears are again expected to be one of the top teams in the conference this spring.

Now in her 22nd season at the helm of her alma mater, head coach Lori Mayhew-Wood has led Western New England to five consecutive 20+ win campaigns.

Despite losing a trio of All-CCC performers to graduation, three other All-CCC selections return for the Golden Bears in senior infielder Lindsay Williams (Coventry, Conn.) and sophomore pitchers Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) and Paige Uliase (Meriden, Conn.).

Williams hit .358 with 12 RBI and 20 runs scored last spring, while Uliase went 8-3 with a 2.63 earned run average during her successful freshman campaign.

Kistner made an immediate impact both in the circle and at the plate for the Golden Bears on her way to CCC Rookie of the Year accolades. She hit .396 with four home runs, a team-high 27 RBI and 29 runs scored, while also going 6-4 with a 2.88 earned run average.

Western New England opens its 2018 campaign against Transylvania on Saturday, March 17, the first of ten games for the Golden Bears in central Florida. Conference play gets underway at Nichols on March 28, before Western New England opens its home slate against Curry on March 31.

  Aimee Kistner, WNE

3. Endicott

 

The Endicott softball team heads into the 2018 season looking to improve upon last year's success as head coach, Katie Bettencourt, begins her first year at the helm. The Gulls will look for leadership from several key returners such as All-CCC First Team selection Olivia Odermatt (Cheshire, Conn.), All-CCC Second Team honorees, Michaela Hamill (Lynn, Mass.) and Emily Sharpe (South Glens Falls, N.Y.), and All-CCC Third Team selection Hayley Arduini (Southington, Conn.). Endicott finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 22-16 and an 11-7 mark in conference play.

   Emily Sharpe, EC

4. Roger Williams

The Roger Williams softball team ended the year with its fourth 20-win season in five years. The Hawks compiled a 26-18 overall record and a 12-6 record in the CCC to earn the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament. The Hawks advanced to the final day of the conference tournament and made it to the CCC Championship Game against Salve Regina. Notably, head coach Joyce Maudie earned her 500th career win during the season while six Hawks were honored on the All-CCC Team. 

The Hawks will have to deal with the loss of five starters including NFCA All-Region Third Team selection Meredith Moise. However, RWU is still poised for success, as the team welcomes six new players to the team. In addition, the Hawks return two All-CCC Team members in senior infielder Haley Ledbetter (Westerly, R.I.) and sophomore outfielder Tara Chatowsky (North Kingston, R.I.). Ledbetter was second on the team with a .357 overall batting average while Chatowsky was fifth on the team with a .372 batting average in CCC play.

    Haley Ledbetter, RWU

5. University of New England

The University of New England and ninth-year head coach Dan Letellier return seven starters and three pitchers from the 2017 group that went 10-8 in the CCC. Back on the diamond will be junior catcher Avery Alberghini (Middlesex, Vt.) (.354 AVG, 29 R, .485 OBP, 14 SB) and junior pitcher Melissa Sprague (Londonderry, N.H.) (5-4, 64 IP, 1.85 ERA, 86/16 K/BB), both of whom were second team All-CCC selections a year ago. Junior shortstop Caroline Schoenbucher (Barrington, N.H.) (.333 AVG, 23 RBI, 22 R, 8 2b) was a third team pick last season. The roster includes just one senior.

    Avery Alberghini, UNE

6. Nichols

The Nichols softball team turns to a familiar face to guide the team in 2018 as former head coach Kristan Mallet returns for her head coaching second stint with the team. She inherits a team rich in young talent and looking to build upon last season’s success, which culminated in a home playoff game. Senior Kendall Meehan (Danvers, Mass.) anchors the offense after hitting a team-leading .338 with 16 RBI last season. Junior all-conference selection Jessica Kuelling (Gales Ferry, Conn.) and her .357 average are back, along with junior Callie Andrews (Southbridge, Mass.) (.307) and sophomore Cara Mayhew (Brooklyn, Conn.) (.272). In the circle, sophomore Alexis Ferris (Holyoke, Mass.) and her 1.67 ERA anchor the staff. She fanned a school-record 142 as a freshman to earn CCC First Team honors last spring.

 
Alexis Ferris, NC

7. Curry

 

Curry's squad returns 10 student-athletes and welcomes in eight newcomers to the 2018 roster. This year's Colonels are headlined by two student-athletes who were named to the All-CCC teams in 2017. Senior Kevi Oatway (East Hartford, Conn.) was named to the Second Team after a junior campaign where she hit .315 and registered 35 hits, 21 RBI’s and scored 11 runs. Oatway also recorded one double, one triple, and two home runs last season. Senior Jessica Saluti (Braintree, Mass.) will serve as the captain for this season.

Additionally, Curry returns All-CCC Third Team selection Mikayla Lambert (Blackstone, Mass.). Lambert finished her junior season with a .354 batting average while registering 45 hits, including eight doubles. She also posted six wins in the circle, tossing nine complete games.

Curry opens the 2018 season with a trip to Fort Myers, Fla. to participate in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The Colonels first game is scheduled for March 11 against Swarthmore at 9 a.m.

 
Jessica Saluti, CC

8. Gordon

Gordon returns eight starting field players and all three starting pitchers from last year’s team. Junior utility player Megan Jenkerson (McDonough, Ga.) led the CCC in batting average at .431, in home runs with ten, fourth in runs with 33, and fourth in RBIs with 32. Four returners batted .225 or higher and four of the top five players in RBIs return as well. Sophomore pitcher/infielder Caitlin Catalanotto (Kingston, N.H.) led the team with a 12-7 record, 89 strikeouts, and three shutouts. She was ranked second in the CCC in innings pitched with 130.1, third in wins, and third in strikeouts. The Fighting Scots open the season in Florida at the PFX Games where they will play 12 games during spring break. They will open CCC play on the road against Eastern Nazarene on March 23 and at Roger Williams March 24. They host Endicott March 28 in their CCC home opener.

 
Megan Jenkerson, GC

9. Eastern Nazarene

The Eastern Nazarene softball team posted a 19-18 overall record last spring and finished with a 5-13 mark in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Led by third-year head coach Dani Bishop, the Lions return 11 veterans and add six newcomers for the upcoming season.

Lauren Weidler (Lansdale, Pa.) hit a team-best .418 last season while driving in 19 runs. Lauren Clements (Garrison, Texas) recorded a team-high 34 RBIs, six home runs, and 47 hits while batting .402. Elisabeth Schaffer (Benton, Pa.) belted six homers and plated 30 RBIs while also pitching 118.1 innings and fanning 140 batters.

Eastern Nazarene begins the 2018 campaign at the PFX Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. March 2-8. The Lions open the season against York and Houghton on March 2.

 
Lauren Clements, ENC

10. Wentworth

The Wentworth softball team will have a youthful feel when the Leopards take the field for the 2018 season and is looking to make a run at a Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament berth. The Leopards return seven players from last year’s team, including senior Vanessa Weymouth (Fremont, N.H.), who was an All-CCC selection as a freshman. Weymouth hit .282 as a junior, led the team in stolen bases with 10, and was second in runs scored with 15. Senior Rachel Willcutt (Tilton, N.H.) returns to the Leopards after batting .286 a year ago with a team-high 10 runs batted in and a dozen runs scored. Classmate Megan Berryman (Middleboro, Mass.) had a team-high five doubles as a junior while sophomore Deanna DiPilato (Worcester, Mass.) was third on the team in runs batted in as a rookie.


Vanessa Weymouth, WIT 

 

Season previews contributed by each school's sports information department.

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and four associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.

 

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