Lady Bears Softball Gets Underway

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Spring and the outdoors are here for NYIT’s women’s softball team as they are well underway with the 2011 season. The lady Bears are looking to build up on their 33-23 record from the 2010 season which included an 18-10 record in East Coast Conference play. They opened the season on March 9th at home with a 9-4 loss to Concordia. They also took part in a tournament in Florida taking on some of the country’s top teams. Results from the tournament can be found in the sports section on our website, www.thecampusslate.com. “Anytime we play top level competition, it helps us prepare for our league and goal of winning the ECC,” says coach Christianson.

This year’s squad has many changes from a year ago which includes losing their top two hitters. Coach Christianson will look into many different options this year to produce wins. “Our power game isn’t the same; we need to focus on bat control and small ball to do what we want to do,” says Christianson. Despite losing his top two leading hitters from a season ago, he still has a high amount of returning ECC All-Conference players from a year ago returning in second basemen Marissa Brucceuleri, shortstop Bridgette Kirschmer, and outfielder Martha Redondo. Another key returning player is junior pitcher Jamie Brooker who was 27-19 last season with a 3.47 earned run average (ERA) and pitched 23 complete games. “I’m expecting a high year from her, she understands the conference and the region,” says coach Christianson, “She came in this year in great shape and we worked on things such as pitch control to help her get better.” Brooker, a junior studying Computer Science also has set goals for herself coming into this year, “I want to be all conference and help my team make the playoffs and win the ECC,” says Brooker.

Second Basemen and fifth year player Marissa Brucceuleri is also another key returning player. She only played in 42 games cutting her season short due to a torn ACL injury. Even with that, she is the team’s returning leader in batting average with a .316 average and was part of the East Coast Conference’s All Conference 1st team. She was also the ECC Softball Scholar Athlete of the Year. “She’s a wonderful person and a great player with a great bat and glove,” says coach Christianson. Another player that the coaching staff is high on is a transfer from California, Natasha Milosevich, who is part of the team’s pitching staff along with Jamie Brooker. Coach also said that she has the potential to be what Brooker has been to the Bears over the past few seasons.

While the student athletes have a lot to be hyped about for the upcoming season, the same is for coach Christianson. This season he has hired a brand new coaching staff which includes Christy Softy and Holly Eringis both whom are graduates of fellow ECC rival C.W. Post and who will bring a positive impact to the Bears. “For me, it helps me oversee the team as a whole instead of coaching individuals, their remarkable and it gives me flexibility at practice to work with everyone,” says Christianson. The team’s strength according to the coaching staff is its defense and they say the hitting will come over time with a lot of small ball to be played during the year. Coach Christianson also says that with a brand new team, expectations have changed, “Our goal in the past was to win conference and go to the Softball World Series, now we need to develop as a team and win the ECC,” says Christianson.

The Lady Bears take part in the East Coast Conference where they face many Long Island schools such as C.W. Post, Adelphi, Dowling, and Molloy College. In their Florida tournament they faced schools such as New Haven, Nyack, Philadelphia, and Bentley. The players feel this will help them grow as a team. “We learn as we play together, tough competition prepares us for the ECC and it’s good to see teams outside of New York,” says senior shortstop Bridgette Kirschmer. Kirschmer who is a senior from Auora, Colorado is also facing a change this year moving from the outfield to shortstop, a position she played in high school. “For my last year playing, I want to get back to the level I was playing at in high school in my last year at NYIT,” says Kirschmer. She also says adjusting to shortstop won’t take long since she played some games at second base last season when Marissa Brucceuleri went down with the ACL injury.

The Lady Bears have already opened up their 2011 ECC schedule with a doubleheader against Dowling College at the NYIT Softball Complex. Their next game is a doubleheader on Saturday April 2nd against Mercy College at home starting at noon. Scores and updates of the team can be found in the sports section on our website, www.thecampusslate.com.

 

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