February 27, 2010

2010 York College Softball Season Preview

    The 2010 edition of the York College softball team enters the campaign with a revitalized attitude. The Spartans, coming off a 30-win season, return seven starters and their top starting pitcher as optimism is running high entering the season.
    Spartan head coach Nicki Starry is very excited about the prospects for a great 2010 campaign.
    “This group of kids is highly motivated and ready to have a great year,” says Starry. “We have tremendous leadership and a core of experienced players that I expect will help lead us to great success in 2010.”
    Starry needs to look no further than the left side of the infield to see talent and leadership. Two-year captain Heather Bormann returns for her fourth year as the Spartans’ starting shortstop while junior Kelly Smith begins her third year as York’s starting third sacker.
    Bormann, a two-time All-Capital Athletic Conference selection, has established herself as one of the best players in the region. She will hit near the top of the lineup and use her speed to create havoc for opponents once she gets on base. Bormann hit .301 with 32 runs scored, 32 RBI, and a team-high 19 stolen bases. She is also a very good defensive shortstop that has a strong arm and good range.
    “Heather is a player that every coach would love to have,” says Starry. “She is a great player, a great student, and a great teammate. I am excited to see what she can accomplish her senior year.”
    Smith is also a two-time All-CAC selection as she was York’s top player last season. Smith hit a robust .381 with 39 runs scored, a school-record 61 hits, 23 RBI, 11 doubles, five triples, two home runs, and 16 stolen bases. Her .550 slugging percentage led the squad while she owned a stellar .960 fielding percentage. Smith is slated to hit in the heart of the Spartan lineup, as she should be one of the major run producers for York this year.
    “Kelly is a very talented player that has been highly productive throughout her career,” states Starry. “She is such a talented offensive player that I believe her defensive abilities really get overlooked. Kelly is a player that makes a significant impact both on offense and defense.”
    Slated to join Bormann and Smith on the right side of the infield are first basemen Kristen Gray and Michelle Barwick and second basemen Brittany Schlorff and Megan Van Meter. Gray was an All-CAC selection as a designated player last year while she also saw action behind the dish. She moves out to first base where her height makes her a good target for fellow infielders. Gray hit .346 with 21 RBI, 12 runs scored, and seven doubles. She had a team-best .426 on-base percentage as she coaxed a team-high 15 walks from opposing pitchers. The coaching staff believes Gray has more power than she has shown from the left side and is primed for a big junior season.
    “Kristen is a strong hitter that will have the chance to be a significant run producer in our lineup,” says Starry. “I believe Kristen has the ability to hit for power and a good average. She has really dedicated herself this season to being one of our top players.”
    Barwick, who played first in addition to seeing some time in the outfield, provides the Spartans depth at first as she hit .269 last year with 13 runs scored and 13 RBI. She also had a fielding percentage of .991 in 216 chances.
    Schlorff comes to the Spartan program as a sophomore and is the front-runner to capture the starting spot at second base. She is a slick fielding middle infielder with soft hands and a smooth glove and will combine with Bormann to form a talented and skilled pivot. At the plate, Schlorff is a hitter with gap power that should hit for a high average in the Spartan lineup.
    “I expect Brittany to make a significant impact in her first year,” says Starry. “She is very good defensively and has demonstrated the ability to be a leader both on and off the field.”
    Van Meter will back up Schlorff at second, giving York tremendous depth at the position. Van Meter hit .322 with 18 runs scored, 22 RBI, eight doubles, two triples, and two home runs. She struggled a bit defensively last year with a team-high 16 miscues but has worked hard to become a more reliable defensive player.
    Freshman Erin O’Leary will work in at second base and adds a strong bat to the Spartan lefty slapping offense.
    Freshman Cory Urkuski will be the primary back up for Smith while Schlorff provides depth at short should Bormann need a break during the year.
    Behind the plate, senior Julie Norris returns to handle the starting catching duties. Norris hit .306 with 13 runs scored, 13 RBI, four doubles and a home run. She stole five bases while her .984 field percentage was one of the best marks on the team. Norris, a tough, hard-nosed player who has proven to be a leader for the Green and White.
    “I really like the way Julie plays. She gives 100% every time she steps on the field,” states Starry. “She is a smart catcher that does a good job of handling our pitchers. Offensively, she can handle the bat and brings a very intelligent approach to her at-bats.”
    Freshmen Sarah Harris and Rachel Klein provide depth behind Norris. Harris has a strong arm and does a good job of blocking balls in the dirt. At the plate, she has a quick bat and will get the chance to get at-bats as Norris’ understudy. Klein is a player that will be making the adjustment to the collegiate game. She is a tall, athletic player that has continued to make improvements during preseason practice.
    Sophomore Brittany Therres returns in the center of the circle for the Spartans this season. Therres had a tremendous freshman year posting a record of 14-9 with a dazzling 1.57 ERA. She tossed 156 innings with 20 complete games in 23 starts. She held opponents to a .232 batting average while she had 87 strikeouts and just eight walks. She earned All-CAC honors for her efforts last year.
    “Brittany is such a tremendous competitor,” says Starry. “She is aggressive in the strike zone and has no fear of challenging hitters. Brittany works fast and allows our defense to be on their toes behind her.”
    Freshmen Corrine Majczan and sophomore Megan Matos compose the rest of the Spartan pitching staff, and they will each have a chance to throw some innings behind Therres.
    “I think both Corrine and Megan will have a chance to develop behind Brittany and provide us with good depth in the staff,” says Starry.
    The outfield should prove to be an area of strength for the Spartans. Senior Sam Lawrence returns for her senior year after missing half of her junior year due to a series of injuries. She will hold down centerfield and likely hit in the upper half of the Spartan lineup. Lawrence hit .278 as she was hampered by her injuries all year. She did manage to steal 11 bases in 22 games while scoring 17 runs with a pair of home runs. Lawrence is an outstanding defensive centerfielder and caps York’s very strong defensive spine.            

   “Sam has worked very hard to get herself back and on the field,” says Starry. “She is an important part of our defense while I expect her to be a key part of our offense. Sam is a smart base runner with outstanding speed.”
    Freshman Hannah Hugel is slated to open the season in left field while junior Megan Markland slides over to right after spending last season in left. Hugel is a lefty slap hitter that is quick and strong. She is a very good defensive outfielder that can track the ball down in the gaps. Hugel will have the chance to hit at or near the top of the Spartan order. Markland saw most of last season as a defensive only player, but she has worked hard in the off-season to improve her offensive approach.
    Joining Lawrence, Hugel and Markland in the outfield are senior Lindsay Wood and junior Desiree Halaka as the Spartans have very good depth in the outfield. Halaka actually can play any position with the exception of pitcher, as she is a highly versatile athlete.
    “I like our skill and depth in the outfield,” says Starry. “It’s nice to have some versatility and options when it comes to constructing lineups.”
    Starry knows the defense and pitching will be the key to a successful season.
    “We must do a good job of making the routine plays behind our pitchers. We can’t give away extra outs and we need to support our pitchers,” believes Starry. “Our pitchers need to throw strikes, hit their spots and pitch to our defense’s strength.”
    “Offensively, we need to execute and have consistently good at-bats. We will have a steady approach that will allow us to succeed. I think we will have the ability to hit for power but we have to play fundamental softball when the situation calls for it.”
    Starry is very excited about starting her first season in York.
    “I have been impressed with these players,” states Starry. “They are a dedicated group, and they expect to have a successful season. I want us to enjoy each and every step during the season. I believe this team is capable of great things, and I can’t wait to head down to Florida and start the season.”
    The Spartans open their campaign with a 12-game trip to Kissimmee, Florida, starting on February 28. The Spartans then open up their home campaign on March 18 against Juniata College.

2010 SPARTAN SOFTBALL ROSTER

2010 SPARTAN SOFTBALL SCHEDULE