CAA Softball Report | May 10, 2022
CAA Softball Report | May 10, 2022
Catch up on the CAA Softball weekly news, notes, and awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sam Ward, Hofstra
Graduate | Third Base | Bridgewater, N.J. / Bridgewater Raritan
Ward led Hofstra to a 3-0 week, hitting .556 with four RBIs and two runs scored. The graduate third baseman recorded at least one hit in all three games and had a pair of multi-hit performances. Ward began the week, going 2-for-4 against LIU, recording one RBI and one run scored. She capped the week with a 2-for-3 performance against Towson, knocking in three runs and scoring one as Hofstra completed the doubleheader sweep to secure the CAA series win.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Haley Venturini, Hofstra
Freshman | North Scituate, R.I.
Venturini went 2-0 in the circle, posting a 1.27 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11.0 innings of work. The North Scituate, R.I. native tossed a complete game against Towson, scattering five hits and allowing one earned run while striking out seven. Earlier in the week, Venturini started a non-conference contest against LIU, throwing 4.0 innings and collecting four strikeouts en route to a Hofstra victory.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Emily Winstead, UNCW
Freshman | Pitcher | Bunn, N.C. / Rocky Mount Academy
Winstead went 1-0 in the circle, leading UNCW to a victory in its lone game of the week. The freshman right-hander pitched a complete-game shutout against Drexel, allowing just two hits over 8.0 innings. The Bunn, N.C. native recorded five strikeouts and held the opposition to a .080 batting average in the effort.
Charleston (14-35, 7-10 CAA): The Cougars’ final series of the season was canceled due to weather, but Charleston earned the fifth seed in the CAA Tournament. The Cougars have won five out of six entering the conference tournament, including their first CAA sweep of the season over Towson. Charleston’s duo of Carli McCants and Peyton Lemire have been dealing in the circle. McCants (6-9) ranks fourth in the CAA in ERA and strikeouts. The junior right-hander has a 2.23 ERA, and 103 strikeouts in 116.1 innings pitched. Lemire (4-11) is sixth in the conference with a 2. 59 ERA and has 57 strikeouts in 100.0 innings of work. At the plate, Jenna Helberg leads Charleston in hits (38), doubles (11), home runs (5) and RBIs (22). Jenna Carter paces the team with a .318 batting average and has a team-high 25 runs scored. Charleston will face fourth-seeded Elon to begin the CAA Tournament on Thursday.
Delaware (28-14, 11-4 CAA): The Blue Hens have not played in two weeks as their last six games of the year were canceled. Nonetheless, Delaware is the top seed in the conference tournament for the first time in program history. Hanna Garber ranks fourth in the CAA in batting average (.368) and hits (53) while leading the conference with 48 runs scored. Brooke Glanden (.321) has a team-best nine home runs and leads the team with 38 RBIs. In the circle, Delaware has a one-two punch of Emily Winburn and Gracyn Frost. Winburn is second in the CAA with 12 wins and third with 108 strikeouts. She has posted a 2.75 ERA in 122.1 innings pitched. Frost is 13-4 as the freshman leads the conference in wins. She has a 2.76 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 106.1 innings this spring. Delaware awaits the winning of Charleston on Elon for its first game of the conference tournament on Thursday.
Drexel (24-23, 5-14 CAA): Drexel dropped its final game of the season in extra innings to UNCW, 4-0. The last two games of the series were canceled due to weather. Jackie Masone and Savaanah Garcia accounted for the two Drexel hits in the contest, while Megan Trivelpiece drew a pair of walks. Brooklyn Daly pitched all 8.0 innings for the Dragons, including 7.0 shutout innings before the Seahawks were able to breakthrough in the eighth. Drexel concludes its season 24-23 overall after going 5-14 in CAA play under first-year head coach Katie Jansson.
Elon (27-20, 10-8 CAA): The Phoenix completed four innings against NC Central before the game was canceled due to weather and deemed a no contest. Rebecca Murray paces the Elon lineup, hitting .347. She has team-highs with 51 hits and 28 runs scored. Murray ranks eighth in the CAA in batting average and sixth in hits. Gabi Schaal leads the team with nine home runs and 38 RBIs, hitting .316 on the season with 27 runs scored. Schaal is tied for second in the conference with RBI production this spring. In the circle, the Phoenix has five pitchers with at least 39.0 innings pitched. Taylor Cherry (6-6) has a team-high 79.1 innings and leads the team with 82 strikeouts. McKenzie Weber (4-3) has 66.0 innings of work, leading the team with a 1.91 ERA that ranks second in the conference. Elon is seeded fourth and will host the CAA Tournament. The Phoenix face fifth-seeded Charleston in its opening game on Thursday.
Hofstra (21-25, 13-6 CAA): The Pride went 3-0, defeating LIU in a midweek contest before taking back-to-back games against Towson. Sam Ward paced the offense, hitting .556 (5-for-9) with four RBIs and two runs scored. Ward recorded at least one hit in all three games, including a pair of multi-hit performances. Additionally, Chelsea Manto recorded four hits (.364), three RBIs and three runs scored throughout the week. Meghan Giordano played the final two games on Sunday but stayed hot at the plate. Giordano tallied three hits in seven at-bats with an RBI and a run scored. She has recorded at least one hit in her last eight games. In the circle, Haley Venturini went 2-0, posting a 1.27 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11.0 innings of work. Hofstra secured the second seed in the CAA tournament and will face third-seeded UNCW in its first game on Thursday.
James Madison (21-21, 10-5 CAA): JMU announced the decision to cancel the remainder of its season due to the unfortunate passing of sophomore catcher Lauren Bernett. The Dukes finished the year 21-21 overall with a 10-5 record in CAA play. Offensively, JMU leads the CAA, scoring 5.5 runs per game and 66 home runs. The Dukes rank 14th in the nation, averaging 1.57 home runs per game. Hannah Shifflet leads the CAA with a .393 batting average and 15 home runs while ranking third in the league with 53 hits. She also recorded team-highs with 39 RBIs and 42 runs scored. In the circle, Alissa Humphrey tossed a team-high 130.1 innings and ranks second in the CAA with 136 strikeouts.
UNCW (29-13, 11-8 CAA): The Seahawks defeated Drexel 4-0 in eight innings to finish the regular season. The final two games of the series were canceled due to weather, but the win locked UNCW into the third seed in the CAA tournament. In the circle, Emily Winstead pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits while striking out five in the win. Mackenzie Amodeo went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Anna Knox added one hit in three at-bats, scoring a run and knocking in another. Additionally, Mary Sobataka had one RBI, and Tayler Vitola scored a run after recording a hit in the effort. Up next, UNCW will face second-seeded Hofstra in its opening game of the conference tournament on Thursday.
Towson (14-33, 4-16 CAA): The Tigers dropped their final two games of the season, falling to Hofstra in both games of a doubleheader on Sunday. Chloe Poulich led Towson, going 5-for-7 (.714) at the plate with three RBIs. Briana Ramirez and Mackenzie Lake went 1-for-3 in back-to-back games, recording one hit in each contest. Ramirez scored one run, while Lake recorded one RBI and one run scored. Julia Jackson (11-15) pitched the first game, coming up on the wrong end of the losing decision. Jackson went the distance, scattering five hits and allowing just two earned runs despite the setback. Towson finishes the season 14-33 overall, with a 4-16 record in conference play.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
• Delaware captured the CAA regular-season title for the first time in program history, following an 11-4 spring in conference play. The 11 conference wins are the most for the Blue Hens since 2013, and the .733 conference winning percentage is the program’s best since the CAA began playing softball in 2002.
WHERE CHAMPIONS COME FROM
• The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the CAA Softball tournament have combined to win 18 of 19 CAA Championship titles. The only seed outside of the top two to claim the title in championship history was James Madison in 2009, who won as a fourth seed.
• Ten times in championship history, the top two seeds in the tournament have reached the championship game, including five of the last six years. Five No. 3 seeds have advanced to the championship game, but none since 2012. Additionally, five No. 4 seeds have reached the championship game, most recently as Delaware last season. No fifth seed has advanced to the Championship game in league history.
• Delaware is the top seed in the conference tournament for the first time in program history. The Blue Hens have reached the championship game twice, including a runner-up finish last season and are in search of their program’s first CAA title.
• Hofstra is a perennial power in CAA softball. The Pride has a conference-leading 12 Championship titles, with the most recent coming in 2018. Hofstra has made the tournament 18 of the 20 years it has been held and reached the Championship game on 14 occasions. Hofstra is under the leadership of first-year head coach Adrienne Clark, who won four CAA Championships as a student-athlete with the Pride
• UNCW is making its first CAA tournament appearance since 2018 and fifth overall in program history. The third seed matches the Seahawks’ highest seed in the tournament as they look for their first CAA Championship title.
• Elon is making its third straight appearance in the CAA Tournament and advanced to the championship game in 2019. The host of the conference tournament has won the title 14 times in championship history.
• Charleston has reached the CAA tournament five of the past six seasons but returns after missing the field a year ago. The Cougars are attempting to make their first championship game appearance in program history under first-year head coach Tracey Lynch.
A CLASS OF HER OWN
• Drexel’s Kristi DiMeo was among the top 30 softball student-athlete candidates selected for the 2022 Senior CLASS award. The honor highlights seniors that show exemplary excellence in four categories: community, classroom, character and competition. As a top candidate, DiMeo will be eligible for the finalist ballot that narrows the pool to 10 candidates for the award’s final vote.
HARD TO SWEEP A SERIES
• The brooms have stayed in the closet for the most part throughout CAA play, as there have only been five three-game sweeps in 25 conference series. Home and road splits have been fairly close as the home teams have claimed 14 series victories while the visitor has won 11.
• Drexel shortstop Jackie Masone and UNCW pitcher Emily Winstead were named to the Schutt Sports/NFCA Freshman of the Year Top 25 announced by the NFCA on April 28.
• Masone is hitting .364 with nine doubles, seven homers, 25 RBIs and 37 runs scored. She ranks fourth in the conference in runs scored and fifth in batting average.
• Winstead has an 11-8 record in 23 appearances this season with a 1.72 ERA and 167 strikeouts. She leads the CAA in ERA, strikeouts, strike-out-to-Walk ratio (3.48) and strikeouts per seven innings (9.6).
BIG WINS FOR THE BIRDS
• Delaware has earned three wins over Power Five opponents while Elon has picked up two.
• The Blue Hens have defeated two Big Ten adversaries, topping Purdue 6-5 in extra innings on Feb. 19 and Penn State 6-4 on Mar. 11. They also earned a convincing 12-4 win over NC State on Feb. 26.
• On Feb. 16, the Phoenix earned a walk-off win over, ACC foe North Carolina, defeating the Tar Heels 4-3. Mar. 4, Elon earned a 2-0 win over Michigan State out of the Big Ten.
HOT START DOWN SOUTH
• UNCW posted a 20-5 record through its first 25 games this spring. The 2022 team is the fastest UNCW team to reach 20 wins, marking its best start in program history. UNCW ranks first in the CAA in team ERA (1.83) and is the only team below 2.00. The Seahawks sit fourth in batting average (.267) and third in field percentage (.963).
DIMEO IN THE RANKS
• Drexel’s Kristi DiMeo ends the season among the top three in the CAA career ranks in several categories. The graduate student ranks second in league history in runs batted in and third in batting average as well as home runs. DiMeo has 226 career RBIs while maintaining a .398 batting average with 52 home runs.
NEW FACES AROUND THE LEAGUE
• Three CAA teams enter 2022 under new leadership in their head coach position.
• Tracey Lynch takes over at Charleston, where she was an assistant coach during the 2013 season. For the past six years, Lynch served as an Assistant Coach at UNCG.
• The Katie Jansson era of Drexel softball starts in 2022. Jansson arrives at Drexel after three seasons of head coaching duties at her alma matter Iona.
• Adrienne Clark returns to Hofstra after an illustrious career as a student-athlete and assistant coach. During her time as a player and Assistant Coach, Clark won five CAA Championships and 14 NCAA Tournament games.
NEW MEMBERS COMING 2023
• The Colonial Athletic Association announced Hampton, Monmouth, and Stony Brook will join the conference as full members in 2023. Subsequently, CAA Softball will grow from eight teams to ten.
• Half the league will get a 2023 preview facing the newest members of the CAA this spring. Drexel will face Hampton twice at Hampton’s Pirate Invitational, and see Stony Brook at the Rutgers tournament. Towson will host Monmouth for a pair of games at Towson’s TU Tiger Clash. Hofstra will face Long Island rival Stony Brook in a home-and-home, while Delaware will host Monmouth in a mid-week non-conference matchup.
2021 SEASON IN REVIEW
• 2021 was a historic year in CAA Softball as James Madison become the first team in conference history to win an NCAA Super Regional, advance to the WCWS and win a game at the WCWS.
• JMU won its second consecutive CAA Tournament title following a 17-1 CAA regular season.
• James Madison’s Odicci Alexander was named the Softball America Player of the Year, in addition to the D1 Softball Women of the Year and was a second-team All-American.
• The JMU coaching staff earned NFCA and D1 Softball Coaching Staff of the Year accolades, while Associate Head Coach Jennifer Herzig was named NFCA Assistant Coach of the Year.
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