Endicott Emerges As CCC Softball Preseason Favorite in Coaches’ Poll

Endicott Emerges As CCC Softball Preseason Favorite in Coaches’ Poll

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Last year’s Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Regular-Season Champion, Endicott, will start the 2019 season as the favorite to win the league based on the results of the 2019 CCC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

The Gulls emerged out of a crowded field in this year’s poll to take the top spot as four different teams received first place votes. The reigning Regular-Season Champions earned 75 points and received four of the nine possible first place votes.

Endicott put together a 16-2 conference (30-6 overall) season in 2018 to earn the top spot in the CCC Championship Tournament. It advanced to the final weekend of the tournament, but dropped the final winner’s bracket game to No. 3 seed Western New England in extra innings. After knocking off No. 2 seed Eastern Nazarene to earn a spot in the championship round, the Gulls fell to WNE once again, 8-4.

The Golden Bears, the defending CCC Tournament Champions, earned the second spot in this year’s poll with 72 points and three first place votes. They were the No. 3 seed in last year’s bracket after a 12-6 CCC (25-18 overall) season. They advanced all the way through the winner’s bracket defeating No. 7 seed Nichols, No. 2 seed Eastern Nazarene, and the top-seeded Gulls along the way. They earned the conference’s automatic qualifier into the 2018 NCAA Division III Softball Championship where they participated in the Williams Regional. They went 1-2 in the double-elimination tournament, earning a win against Husson in 11 innings and pushing a tough Amherst team to extra innings as well.

Salve Regina will try to return to championship form after being denied a three-peat last year. The Seahawks garnered 58 points in the poll and a first place vote to rank third. They went 11-7 in conference (17-21 overall) play last year and were the No. 4 seed in the tournament.

The final first place vote went to the University of New England, which totaled 57 points in the voting. The Nor’easters had a 10-8 CCC (17-20 overall) season last year and were the No. 5 seed in the tournament, but were eliminated in the play-in game by No. 7 seed Nichols.

The Bison made an impressive trip through the 2018 CCC Tournament as the No. 7 seed. They eventually reached the final four before being eliminated by the second seeded Lions. Nichols went 6-11-1 in the CCC (16-19-1) overall last year and lands in the fifth spot in this year’s poll with 40 points.

Roger Williams (33 points), Gordon (31), Curry (29), and Wentworth (10) closed out the poll in that order.

Wentworth gets the CCC Softball schedule started with its early spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. beginning on Sunday, March 3. Gordon and Wentworth will kick the conference schedule off with a doubleheader on Friday, March 22 with the first full weekend of conference play coming a week later. Due to a change in the conference bylaws regarding the number of teams that qualify for conference tournaments, the top seven teams will qualify for this year’s championship. The Tournament, which follows a double-elimination format, will begin on Thursday, May 2 and run through Saturday, May 4 with an “if necessary” game scheduled for Sunday, May 5. The CCC Tournament Champion will earn the conference’s automatic qualifier in to the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship.

Click HERE to view the whole 2019 CCC softball schedule.

 

 

2019 CCC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll

  Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Endicott 75 (4)
2. Western New England 72 (3)
3. Salve Regina 58 (1)
4. University of New England 57 (1)
5. Nichols 40
6. Roger Williams 33
7. Gordon 31
8. Curry 29
9. Wentworth 10

 

2019 CCC Softball Previews

Contributed by each school's sports information department.

 

1. Endicott

The Endicott softball team heads into the 2019 season looking to improve upon last year's success which included a conference record of 16-2 and an appearance in the CCC Tournament Championship round. Head coach Katie Bettencourt begins her second season at the helm and was named 2018 Coach of the Year. 

The Gulls will look for leadership from several key returners such as Rookie of the Year and All-CCC Second Team selection Adrianna Favreau (Tewksbury, Mass.), All-CCC First Team honorees, Hayley Arduini (Southington, Conn.) and Gina DeMilt (Princeton, N.J.), All-CCC Second Team selection Jamie Hopgood (Warwick, R.I.), and All-CCC Third Team selection Maggie Oram (Lexington, Mass.). The Gulls finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 30-6.


Hayley Arduini, EC

2. Western New England

Western New England is coming off a banner year last spring as the Golden Bears captured their second CCC Tournament title with an undefeated 4-0 run through the CCC Tournament.

Amanda Novak takes over as head coach after serving on Lori Mayhew-Wood’s staff for seven seasons.

Novak brings back five All-CCC performers from last year’s squad, including juniors Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) and Paige Uliase (Meriden, Conn.). Kistner and Uliase won a combined 24 games and struck out 221 batters in 265 innings last spring. Kistner was also one of Western New England’s top offensive threats, batting .308 with 11 doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI.

Western New England’s season gets underway with a 12-game trip to Florida from March 16-22. The Golden Bears begin CCC play at Wentworth on March 31, before opening their home slate against Roger Williams on April 7.


Paige Uliase, WNE

3. Salve Regina

Third-year head coach Jannelle Iaquinto returns a senior class – Lindsey Florent (New Bedford, Mass.), Megan Guest (Meriden, Conn.), Holly Kathios (Pelham, N.H.), Amanda Riley (Barrington, N.H.) – that has been a part of two CCC Tournament Championships. The foursome will be leading the Seahawks as captains in 2019.

Iaquinto has depth at every position with her 17-member roster. Beginning with the seasoned sophomores in the pitching circle – Julia Coute (North Dighton, Mass.), Jaycee Garrigan (Uxbridge, Mass.), Courtney Latta (Lowell, Mass.), Andi Nelson (Candia, N.H.) – Salve Regina has go-to arms who will occasionally see playing time elsewhere and/or at-bats.

Kathios has veteran catcher on her résumé and may also see second base action. Lauren Packer (Manchester, Conn.), who will be competing for the Irish national team in June in hopes of qualifying for the Olympics, offers catching and utility work for the Seahawks. Newcomers Emilee Angell (Whitinsville, Mass.) and Nikki Vanelli (Quakertown, Pa.) expect to have significant time at the corner infield spots, but could also handle outfield duties. Third-year Seahawk infielder Allie Gusmano (Orange, Conn.) is ready to claim second base details while second-year transfer Maddie Machado (Westport, Mass.) has a true utility role and could find action at any position.

Riley has been All-CCC as utility (2017) and shortstop (2018) and last year added All-New England to her accolades.

Florent and Guest are the experienced outfielders that will help Iaquinto rotate in other options including Karena Bushey (Waterford, Conn.), Garrigan, Latta, Angell, and Vanelli. Sam Farrell (Melrose, Mass.) gives Iaquinto a speedster from either side of the plate.


Megan Guest, SRU

4. University of New England

The University of New England and 10th-year head coach Dan Letellier can fill a lineup with the collection of return starters from the 2018 group that posted a 10-8 league ledger. Senior pitcher Sydnee Bessler (Everett, Mass.) was a First Team All-CCC honoree last year (17-14, 184 IP, 2.77 ERA, 183/40 K/BB), while senior shortstop Caroline Schoenbucher  (Barrington, N.H.) (.305 AVG, 14 R, 13 RBI) and senior centerfielder Andrea Gosper (Wyoming, R.I.) (.278 AVG, 16 R, six 2B) both picked up their second All-Conference selections with All-CCC Second Team nods. Landing Third Team recognition a season ago was sophomore utility Meg Harvey (Westmoreland, N.H.) (.301 

AVG, six 2B) and senior second base Anna Sessa (Tewksbury, Mass.) (.250 AVG, 15 BB), and past all-league awardees in senior catcher Avery Alberghini (Moretown, Vt.) (.453 AVG, 14 R, 11 SB, 

1 E) and senior pitcher Melissa Sprague (Londonderry, N.H.) are also back.

Sydnee BesslerUNE

5. Nichols

The Nichols softball team hopes to build upon last season’s run to the ‘Final Four’ behind the arm of junior Alexis Ferris (Holyoke, Mass.) and the bat of junior Cara Mayhew (Brooklyn, Conn.). Ferris continued to climb the NC record books last season and finished with 11 wins and 129 strikeouts. Mayhew, meanwhile, led the Bison with a .343 average and drove in 17 runs to earn All-Conference honors. Junior Taylor Commesso (Hingham, Mass.) hopes to improve upon last season’s .227 average in her second season in Dudley. Freshman Samantha Kostek (Oxford, Conn.) should make an impact on the lineup.


Alexis Ferris, NC

6. Roger Williams

The Roger Williams softball team looks to bounce back after a disappointing 2018 campaign that saw the team miss qualifying for the CCC Tournament for the first time since 2010. The Hawks are hungry to improve upon last year’s finish and hope to come away with their first CCC Championship since 2013.

The team brings back the entire starting rotation and six starters in the lineup, including four All-CCC players in sophomore infielder Katrina Goria (Wyckoff, N.J.), junior outfielder Tara Chatowsky (North Kingstown, R.I.), junior catcher Alexis Romano (Shirley, N.Y.), and senior catcher Micaela Pohl (Middleboro, Mass.). Romano and Pohl led the Hawks last season in batting average at .386 and .381, respectively. Chatowsky was second on the team with 13 runs batted in while Goria was third on RWU with 15 runs scored.


Katrina Goria, RWU

 

7. Gordon

After making some noise in the postseason a year ago, Gordon softball enters 2019 looking to push to new heights under the guidance of fifth-year head coach, Katie Woolf-Connell. Utility standout Megan Jenkerson (McDonough, Ga.) returns to the dirt after posting a .367 batting average and crossing the plate 23 times for the Fighting Scots. Joining her in leading the charge, sophomore Arianna Ramsaran (Johnson City, Tenn.) will anchor the infield after boasting a .951 fielding percentage at shortstop last season. She will also once again be a force to be reckoned with on the offensive side, riding an impressive .362 batting average thanks to 38 hits, 29 RBI, and seven dingers in her first season as a Scot.

Pitcher Caitlin Catalanotto (Kingston, N.H.) will lead the Scots’ pitching staff after recording 84 strikeouts in 122.2 innings pitched in 2018.

The Scots get their season underway at the PFX Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. beginning on March 9.


Megan Jenkerson GC

8. Curry

Curry's squad returns nine student-athletes and welcomes in nine newcomers to the 2019 roster. This year's Colonels are headlined by two student-athletes who were named to the All-CCC teams in 2018. Sophomore Jocelyn Dimond (Weare, N.H.) was named to the Second Team after a freshman campaign where she hit .271 and registered 23 hits, four RBI, and scored 15 runs. Sophomore Jordan Perzan (Burlington, Conn.) also enjoyed a successful freshman season, joining Dimond on the Second Team. She played in all 35 games and recorded a .270 batting average with four doubles, three home runs, and 13 runs batted in. Senior Talia Forte (North Scituate, R.I.) and junior Michaela Colleran (East Bridgewater, Mass.) will serve as captains this season.

Curry opens the 2019 season with a trip to Fort Myers, Fla. to participate in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The Colonels first game is scheduled for March 10 against Alfred State at 9 a.m.

 
Jordan Perzan, CC

 

9. Wentworth

A new season brings a handful of new players and a new coaching staff for the Wentworth softball team, which will take a run at a CCC Tournament Berth. First-year head coach Erica Castro (Roger Williams ’12) returns to the CCC after having spent four years as a pivotal infielder for Roger Williams, and will lead the squad after six seasons as an assistant coach with the Hawks. Castro will rely on four returning veterans, including two-time CCC Rookie of the Week Kayla DeMedeiros (Dartmouth, Mass.), while inheriting 14 new faces to the program.  DeMedeiros led the Leopards both on the mound and at the plate in their winningest season since 2010, appearing in 35 games with 33 hits, 11 runs and 19 RBI, alongside 26 appearances on the hill with eight wins and 87 strikeouts.

Wentworth opens the 2019 campaign with a 10-game trip to Myrtle Beach from March 3-March 8.


Kayla DeMedeiros, WIT

 

 

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE

The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one 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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