Providence, RI- The Brown University softball team will once again be full of young faces, and with just one senior, four juniors and 13 underclassmen, the Bears hope to continue making strides forward in 2011 and improve on last year's finish. Brown opens the 2011 season today, when it takes on both Hampton and Marist in the first day of the Lady Pirate Classic.
"We would like to build off what we accomplished last season," said Head Coach Dee Dee Enabenter-Omidiji. "We got out of the cellar, and finished above teams that have shown to be perennial powers. We will continually climb up the ladder and once again look to stay competitive in the Ivy League."
While no captains have been named for the 2011 season, lone senior Kristie Chin has led the team both on and off the field. A 2010 Second Team All-Ivy pitcher, Chin will once again handle a majority of the pitching duties. She earned a 14-5 overall record with a stellar 2.14 ERA to rank third in the Ivy League as a junior. But Chin also proved to be an offensive threat for the Bears, batting .375 to combine for 15 hits, eight RBI, nine runs scored and earned one game-winning homerun.
Also helping out with the pitching duties is junior Trish Melvin, who made 15 appearances on the mound and received six starts, while also stepping in as a pinch hitter when needed. Sophomore Lauren Kattchee and newcomer Maegan Sloggett will also vie for time on the mound.
Freshman Kristi Munoz is expected to lead Brown behind the plate, while junior utility player Sandra Mastrangelo and freshman Nina Melvin, sister of junior Trish, will also see some action at the catcher position. Munoz, a native of La Varne, Calif., was her high school team's Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Mastrangelo started in 33 of 37 games last season in left field and boasted a 91 percent fielding percentage and combined for 38 putouts.
The infield will be almost the same as last season and will be tough to penetrate, as junior Kate Strobel and sophomore Stephanie Thompson lead the Bears at the hot corners. Strobel, who earned a 97 percent fielding percentage at first base, started in all 42 games last season. But Strobel also proved to be a threat at the plate, batting .308 to lead the team in runs scored (28), to rank fifth overall in the Ivy League, and homeruns (10), to rank third in the league. Thompson made an immediate impact in her rookie season at third base, starting in all 42 games to rank second on the team in batting average (.351), and also second on the team in hits (47), doubles (16), RBI (16) and runs scored (27).
Sophomore Erica Mueller will be back at second base for the Bears and newcomer Danielle Palms replaces Kathie Rothamel '10 at the shortstop position. Mueller started in all 42 games for the Bears, and in 73 at bats, she combined for 15 hits, 13 runs and two RBI. Mueller also ranked second on the team in walks (15) and featured a 97 percent fielding percentage with 75 putouts and 50 assists. Also vying for time in the infield is Greenwood, Indiana native Kelsey Williams and Kristen Watterlond.
Sophomores Alyssa Caplan and Avery Silverstein, as well as lead-off hitter freshman Jen Kries will lead Brown's outfield this season. Caplan saw action in 32 games last season, which included 27 starts, and Silverstein started in 39 of 40 contests at center field last season, and earned a 98 percent fielding percentage. Silverstein also had nine hits last year, which included eight runs scored and two RBI.
After the Lady Pirate Classic this weekend, Brown will play back-to-back weekends at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Brown's home opener will be on Thursday, April 7 against Bryant at 4 p.m.
Click HERE for complete 2011 schedule.