February 26, 2004

2004 Softball Outlook

Feb. 26, 2004

In her third season as Brown's head softball coach, Pam McCreesh has high expectations for the upcoming 2004 campaign. McCreesh feels the team has more talent and depth than they've ever had in her three year stint. The Bears' improved last season from a 14-22 record overall in 2002 to a 16-23 overall finish in 2003. Losing three starters to graduation (Lauren Wong, Katie Tone, Erin Durlesser) the squad will be returning First Team All-Ivy selections Laura Leonetti (Fresno, TX) and Uchenna Omokaro (Hercules, CA) and Second Team All-Ivy selection Jaimie Wirkowski (Edison, NJ) along with eight other returnees. The team will also be looking forward to eight exciting newcomer to make an immediate impact early in the season.

Leonetti and Melissa Brown (Moreno Valley, CA), the two returning seniors, will be co-captains for the 2004 campaign. "They know what to expect in this league and are ready to take charge with such a young team," McCreesh said. Leonetti played and started in all 39 games for the Bears at second base and led the team with a .339 batting average. She was first on the team with 41 hits and four doubles and second with 23 runs and 18 RBI's. Brown enters her senior year after playing and starting in all 39 games in right field a year ago and leading the team with 10 doubles.

The Bears will be going with five pitchers sharing time on the mound this season. Omokaro led the team for the second year in a row with a 2.27 ERA, striking out 74 batters, first on the team, in 98.2 innings of work. Joining Omokaro on the mound will be two experienced returnees and two rookies to complete the pitching staff. Junior Marissa Berkes (El Segundo, CA) and sophomore Marcia Abbott (La Jolla, CA) will look to build on their successes from last season. Berkes started 16 games, going 7-11 with a 2.91 ERA. Opposing teams posted a .209 batting average against her, the lowest average of any Brown pitcher. Abbott saw time in 13 games, starting 6 of them. In 47.2 innings of work she was second on the team with a 2.50 ERA. The two rookies, Darcie McClelland (Diamond Bar, CA) and Sara Corrigan-Gibbs (Berkeley, CA) will look to make an immediate impact on the mound for the Bears while gaining valuable experience.

Starting infielders will include Leonetti and Wirkowski who played and started in 37 games and led the team with two homeruns and 24 RBI's and was second on the team with 38 hits and eight doubles. Joining the two All-Ivy selections will be returning starting sophomore Mary Seid (Spring Valley, CA) at shortstop. The Bears will also look to sophomore Sarah Wilson (Rancho Sante Fe, CA) and freshman Andrea Miranda (Davie, FL), and Courtney Jenkins (Piedmont, CA) to make an impact in the infield as well.

Sharing the catching duties with junior Candace Toth who saw action in 24 games last season (Woodinville, WA), will be Miranda and Wirkowski, who will be splitting time between the infield and behind the plate.

Returning senior co-captain Brown will be joined in the outfield by returning sophomore Rachel Fleitell (Nutley, NJ) as well as freshman Casey Lieb (Venice, CA), Ramona von Leden (Woodland, CA), and Melissa Ota (Irvine, CA). Also joining the team for her senior year is Barbara Maloni (Springfield, MA), who played basketball at Brown and was named to the All-Rookie team.

Sophomore Sarah Hans (Berea, OH) who saw action in 12 games for the Bears last season and freshman Liz Anderson (Oak Hill, VA) who was named Second-Team All-State, First-Team All-District, and First-Team All-Region as a senior will be utility players for the Bears this season being very versatile on the field.

McCreesh believes that with much parity in the league, anyone can win this year. Staying healthy is a major component for the Bears. The team will be playing in three tournaments before they begin their Ivy League schedule, as well as playing top teams from the Big East and ACC.

The Bears are scheduled to open their home season on Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 p.m. against Central Connectiuct State University.