2012 Softball Preview

Release Date:
March 2, 2012
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

The Hilbert College softball program is geared up for their 2012 season, the first under head coach Lisa Baker. With a core group of skilled veterans returning, the Hawks are focused in their approach to the season with expectations of challenging for the AMCC championship.  The team believes that ‘Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success’ and this quote has been the backbone to their mental and physical preparation this year.

Seniors Jill Martucci, Halsey Baker, and Allison Hall will lead the team and continue to provide direction in all aspects of the game. Martucci will team-up with junior Emily Ripley as a respectable catching and pitching duo. They present a remarkable commanding presence on the field as a pair. ‘Tuc’ led the team a year ago with 20 runs after hitting .361 from the plate.   Her 83 at-bats and .494 slugging percentage led the Hawks during her second year of collegiate ball. Hall will also provide depth within the pitching circle and will continue to utilize her talents at 1st and 2nd base on defense. Baker looks to close out her final year patrolling the left field. Her great understanding and confidence in the outfield helps the Hawks solidify an all-around strong defense. Baker led the team with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs in the shortened 2011 season.

Besides Ripley on the mound, junior Amber Grosch returns with a chip on her shoulder this season. The stand-out short stop had her 2011 season cut short by injury, and she is itching to get back on the field and have an impact this spring. Grosch provides the Hawks with unbelievable range in the field and is also a huge threat offensively with her bat and outstanding speed. In the 13 games played, her .412 batting average led the Hawks last season (34 at bats with 14 hits).   Ripley is expected to see the most action on the mound, but will also contribute to the team’s offense as well. Her 25 hits in 2011 combined with a team-best 13 RBIs led the Hawks at the plate.

Also returning in the junior class is Devan Jonathan, Olivia Battle and Rebecca Elensky. As a pitcher and infielder, Jonathan was the Most Improved Player from a year ago, and Battle returns to the mix after one season away giving the Hawks an outfielder who is an offensive threat at the plate. Second baseman Rebecca Elensky returns as a quick fielder and  is looking to continue her development at the plate.  

There are several rookies who expect to have an impact their first year at Hilbert College. Katie Pettis, a transfer from Genesee Community College brings with her a glove at the hot corner and strong at-bats. The team anticipates that she will save and produce a lot of runs for the Hawks this season.   Bayle Cruz is an extremely talented freshman center-fielder who will be another dual threat at both ends of the game. Sophomore transfer, Natalie Whitman will pick up a glove after a season off, looking to play first base with an aggressive approach at the plate. First year, Kateland Ball (catcher/utility) has a natural talent that makes her extremely versatile in this lineup. Third basemen, Elissa Hall and first basemen Rachel Collier should contribute with solid defense at the corners and on offense when they approach the plate with conviction.

Pitcher Vicki Ernst, which after a two-year hiatus, joined the team in late January and has been surprising coaches and teammates alike with her talents not only on the mound but at short stop and second base. Additionally, freshmen Marissa Carvalho and Tiffany Marchiano provide depth in the outfield.

Not only are the players expecting a turn-around season, the coaches alike are ecstatic about the every-day positive attitude the Hawks carry with them. Baker begins her coaching career at Hilbert and is joined by former Niagara University teammate, and 2nd year assistant and pitching coach, Cassie Stone.   Assistant coach Jeannette Delaney led the squad in the fall before Baker was hired and will continue to serve in any way possible.

The Hawks open their season with the traditional Spring Break southern trip in early March. Returning to the Fastpitch Dreams Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC, Hilbert will pick up nine games against mainly east coast teams who are not on their traditional game schedule. The blue and white will host two non-conference games (Cazenovia, April 3 and Wells, April 12) before they travel to their other non-conference doubleheader at Morrisville (April 20). Five of the nine Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference games will be played in Hamburg when the Hawks host Altoona (March 31), Bradford (April 11), Franciscan (April 14), Greensburg (April 21) and finally the 2011 AMCC champions D’Youville (April 25). Hilbert travels to central PA to face Mount Aloysius (March 24), to Erie, PA on March 28 to play Behrend, and down to Pittsburgh, PA to face La Roche on April 7 before they finish in North Buffalo against Medaille College April 17. The winner of the AMCC double elimination tourney earns an automatic bid the NCAA Division III softball tournament in May.

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.