DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. (Mar. 20, 2017) – A new season brings increased optimism and the 2017 campaign is no different for the Mercy College softball team who look to qualify for the East Coast Conference Championship for the first time since the 2013 season under the leadership of seventh-year Head Coach Mike Fazio.
The Mavericks enter 2017 looking to improve on a 22-28 mark from a year ago and Fazio will turn to 11 returners and ten newcomers to do so. Mercy enters the campaign picked sixth in the ECC Preseason Poll and look to prove the voters wrong.
"Although we have four seniors we are still somewhat young in terms of game experience and we have been working very hard this spring to improve on all aspects of our game. I think we have the talent to compete in this conference and we are optimistic about our success this spring," stated Fazio.
Leading the Mavericks in the infield is senior captain Julie Gross who will start at shortstop. The shortstop batted a team-best .364 with 15 RBI and 16 runs scored and looks to have another productive year at the plate. The senior was an All-Region producer her freshman year and looks to get back to that level in her final season in Dobbs Ferry.
Also, looking to contribute in the infield is senior captain Katiana Golino who will start at first base or behind the plate for Fazio. Golino had 12 RBI and 11 runs scored in 82 at bats last season and looks to finish strong in her final season on campus.
Junior Baylee McCormick returns and will split the catching and continues to improve everyday according to Fazio.
Leading the cast of newcomers is junior Cassidy Wootten who will start at third and Fazio expects her to produce offensively and defensively for the Mavericks. Freshman Erica Handegard joins the team from Nevada and will see time at shortstop and second base, while freshman Destini Bullock will see time at third base, behind the plate or as the designated hitter. Freshman Breanna Wheeler also looks to help the infield with Fazio expecting her to see time at second base. Wheeler is expected to be productive from both sides of the plate.
Junior Skania Lemus joins the team from Southwestern Community College and will play second base, see time at third base and behind the plate. The junior is versatile and can play almost any position effectively. Freshman Alexis Carmichael will see some action at first base and freshman Kendall Meeks will see time at first or third base. Freshman Hannah Howery continues to improve everyday both offensively and defensively and could see some time behind the plate as the season progresses.
The outfield will be led by two-time All-ECC First Team selection junior Morgan Lloyd who batted .356 with a team-high-tying 19 RBI in 2016 with 13 runs scored and six doubles. The junior will start in left field and Fazio expects her to continue to be productive at the plate.
After starting her career in center field and then moving back to middle infield, senior Janelle Wade will start in right field this year. Fazio looks for her to be productive at the plate and add speed on the basepaths.
Joining Lloyd and Wade as returners are sophomores Marisa Miano and Emma Gilaga and junior Chelsea Konyar. Miano will play a support role in outfield and should contribute from left side of plate. Konyar is expected to see some time in the outfield in center or left. Gilaga looks to play a reserve role in the outfield and according to Fazio could help the team win some games if she continues to improve offensively.
The newcomers in the outfield are junior Allie Pellizzaro and freshman Jessica Lombardi. Pellizzaro will see time in center or left field, while Lombardi is expected to fill a role in the outfield as a lefty bat off the bench.
The Mavericks look to be led in the circle by senior captain Jackie Kielty who has shared the work in the circle the past two years and Fazio expects her to continue that this year. Kielty is expected to start and possibly be used in long relief. Kielty ended 2016 with a 4.06 ERA with four wins in 72.1 innings pitched and looks to improve upon those numbers in her final campaign as a Maverick.
Also, looking to produce in the circle is sophomore McKaily Cusumano who is expected to see significant time in the circle as she continues to improve her two new pitches. Cusumano posted a team-best 1.90 ERA in 2016 and went 9-8 with 117 strikeouts in 121.1 innings pitched.
Sophomore Kaylee Stevens also returns for Fazio after a strong year in the circle and at the plate. Stevens should see significant time in the circle after going 4-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 47.1 innings pitched last season. Stevens also finished with a team-high-tying 19 RBI and a team-best five home runs in 2016.
The newcomers in the circle are led by Carmichael who is a left-handed pitcher and is expected to fill a role as a spot starter or in relief. Meeks will also look to see time as a spot starter and has good control on her pitches. Pellizzaro is coming along nicely with her pitching and Fazio looks to use her some time midseason.