Pacer Softball: the 2010 Preview

By David Scarnato
Staff Writer

“We are young.”

Coach Bob Fitzsimmons could not have said it any other way. Over the off-season, the 2010 Pacer Softball team got a new makeover: youth. This can mean that this year will not only be a test for the Pacers, but a time to create a new identity for the team.

The team features five freshmen and seven sophomores which can only mean a promising future for the softball program. They have lost their middle infield in Caity Hadzimichalis (CSAC Scholar Athlete of the Year) and First Team All Conference and NFCA/Louisville Slugger All Regional scholar-athlete Erika Cook. Pitchers Nikki Belles, Mallory Gable, and Lauren Monaco have also departed from the team. However, the Pacers still feature great leaders from last year’s squad that will push the younger players to play to their maximum potential. Seniors Colleen Regan and Kim Flanagan with junior Miranda Sorber and sophomore backstop Ashley Dommes are the captains for the 2010 season.

Speaking of leadership, the same coaching staff returns to the field for 2010 as well. Bob Fitzsimmons returns for his eighth season as the head coach, with Jim Delonte as his assistant. This duo is very experienced in the game of softball because of their past. In 2006, Fitzsimmons led the Pacers to a school best 20 wins. That number 20 has since been diminished. Delonte was a high school state champion at Valley View High School. The knowledge these two gentlemen possess will be another threat to add to the softball program.

On the upcoming season Fitzsimmons said: “Obviously we are replacing a team that has won 80 some games in four years. This is a new team. Our Florida trip will be the true test. It is a rough schedule this season, but we are confident that we will once again be in the playoffs.”

With the losses of key components of last year’s team, as well as two-thirds of their pitching staff, Fitzsimmons believes that the younger veterans of this team will pick up the pace and compete.

“I can’t really say that we have veterans on this team because we are so young. But, I know that with the experience the girls got from last season, they will use it to their advantage to compete at a high level.”

So now, I am going to breakdown the Pacers lineup.

Catcher

The catchers provide much of the power in the lineup for the Pacers. Captain Ashley Dommes hit .349 in 37 games with 3 home runs. Melissa Brodt, also a Designated Player, shares duties with Dommes. Last year, she hit .412. Freshman Shawna Sandy will fight for playing time behind the dish for the Pacers. All three girls can be considered “Scrantastic” because they hail from Scranton. Dommes and Brodt are former West Scranton Invaders, and Sandy is a former Scranton Knight.

Infield

Senior Kim Flanagan will be playing first base, batting .244 and a .976 fielding percentage for the CSAC honorable mention and all academic team member. Jillian Flanagan, a CSAC all academic team member with a .357 batting average will most likely see much time in the infield, as well as outfield. The speedy Second Team CSAC member Kim Lope will be playing infield as well as outfield. She was 18-18 in stolen bases last year. Don’t be surprised to see utility player Julie Dougherty taking reps in the infield as well. Freshman Talia Williams is considered utility also. Abington Heights standout Brittney Basalyga will most likely be the team’s shortstop. North Pocono’s Softball MVP Katie Jones will see time in the infield as well.

Outfield

The platoon of outfielders will be extremely exciting to watch in 2010. First Team All Conference member Kaitlyn Brennan, CSAC Honorable Mention Team member Colleen Regan, and CSAC Sportsmanship Team member Miranda Sorber will platoon the outfield. Speedy Holy Cross alum Janessa Bednash will be in centerfield. Power hitter Andrea Beck will be out there as well. Rounding out the outfield is freshman First Team high school all star Meghin Palmer.

Pitching

When not at their respective positions, the Pacer pitching staff will consist of Brennan, Dougherty, Jones, and Williams. This a young pitching staff.

As you can see, the only position to worry about is the pitching. But do not forget; this team can hit. All the pitchers need to do is have the batter put the ball in play, where they will have to play flawless defense. The scoring will not be a problem. The Pacers are indeed excited for this year.

The Pacers open up in Florida on February 28 against SUNY Oneonta. Their first CSAC game is scheduled for March 20 at Neumann University. The first home game is the next day, with a double header against Misericordia University. So come on down and get ready for a youthful, fun softball game this season!