Leadership anticipated to spark softball Hawks

Release Date:
March 10, 2008
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

'08 Season preview

HAMBURG, NY – With snow and winter-like weather still hampering Western, New York, the Hilbert College softball team will embark on a 10-game schedule in Myrtle Beach, SC to open the 2008 season. Second-year head coach Kerry Levett will have the task of meshing six new faces with seven solid returners when the Hawks open play on March 17th against Baptist Bible College.

“We are anxious to get outside on a field to see what we can do,” commented Levett. With playing conditions in the northeast always questionable, the Hawks would like to spend more time outside and not be limited to indoor only training. 2007 saw the Hawks finish 4-28 overall and 1-15 in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC), but last season is a thing of the past to Levett. “We’re going to be much more flexible, both in generating runs and with our defensive schemes because we now have players who are strong skilled and motivated to be successful,” added Levett.

Expect opponents to focus attention on do-it-all lefty Laura Stranc (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West). The 2007 AMCC honorable mention selection shined last spring while leading the Hawks in at bats (87), hits (30), and slugging percentage (.471), while ranking fourth in the conference in triples (3). The senior, one of three tri-captains this season, hit .345 and picked up two wins on the mound when not filling in at any of the infield positions. Levett has Stranc penciled in as the Hawks number one arm this spring where she’ll be throwing to fellow captain Kelly Goodwin (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls) behind the plate. The junior catcher had 92 put outs last spring and hit a team-best .358 while posting 19 runs with six stolen bases. Outfielder Sarah Collins (Lewistown, PA/Indian Valley) has had a strong pre-season and completes the leadership role Levett covets. Collins showed signs of brilliance in her rookie year as a centerfielder and all indications are that she’ll be a big-time contributor again this season.

Flanking Collins in the outfield will be returning junior Tiffany Morris (Buffalo, NY/Performing Arts), and sophomores Rosalie Herberger (Getzville, NY/Amherst) or Amanda Rybak (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg). Sophomore newcomer Melissa Radder (Cheektowaga, NY/Sacred Heart) and freshman DeEtta Gonser (East Aurora, NY/East Aurora) add depth.

The Hilbert infield welcomes back sophomore Rachel Parker (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) who batted .304 in just eight games a year ago. New upperclassmen joining the infield include junior Theresa Hewitt (Madison, NY/Madison Central) and transfer Carrie Sisson (Elma, NY/Mt. Mercy Academy). Two freshmen expecting to contribute will be Heather Johnson (Tonawanda, NY/Kenmore East) and Amanda Ratajczak (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) who can play first base and catcher respectfully.

Hilbert will look to open the season at home on March 29th against conference foe Penn State Altoona.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.