UMass Athletics:

Recently in Softball Category

We hope you enjoyed our coaches sharing some of their favorite motivational quotes this week as part of #UMassCoachQuotes. We'll have another round of those coming next week as well. For now, let's look back at what our coaches submitted this past week.



















Former UMass softball player Davina Hernandez (2006-09) led Southington (Conn.) High School to the Class LL State Championship over the weekend. The top-seeded Blue Knights finished 24-0 in Hernandez's first season as the head coach.


Former UMass softball pitcher Bailey Sanders (1997-2000) delivers a terrific speech as part of the Penn State Medical School Commencement ceremonies this past Sunday. She graduated first in her class at Penn State and will begin her residency at the University of North Carolina this summer. Always a smart and witty person, this speech is Bailey at her finest!



SB Gameday Preview: Fordham (A-10 Tourney)

No. 4 seed Massachusetts will face No. 1 seed Fordham on Thursday at Bahoshy Field at Noon. The game may be delayed due to field conditions but be sure to stay tuned to UMassAthletics.com and UMass Athletics on social media for status updates.

No. 4 Massachusetts vs. No. 1 Fordham
 Date  Thursday, May 8 at Noon
 Location  Bronx, N.Y. | Bahoshy Field
 Directions  Google Maps Directions | GPS: 2853 Southern Blvd, Bronx, N.Y.
 Tickets   $3-$8 for a single day | $12 or $24 for a tournament book
 Parking  $11 per day in Fordham garage | Fordham parking info
 Audio (Free)   Listen Live (UMass broadcast) | Download Free A-10 Mobile App
 Video (Free)   Live Video (Neutral broadcast)
 Live Stats  gametracker GameTracker
 Social Media   @UMassAthletics | @UMassSoftball | JTAM News Blog
 A-10 Tourney Info  Championship Central | Championship BracketGet Acrobat Reader

SB Recaps From Wednesday's Win Over Dayton

Here are some recaps and highlights from Wednesday's opening round win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Softball Championship. The Minutewomen advanced to Thursday where they are scheduled to play No. 1 seed Fordham at Noon. Be sure to check UMassAthletics.com, along with the department Twitter and Facebook accounts for schedule updates since rain is in the forecast in New York today.



SB Gameday Preview: Dayton (A-10 Tourney)

The second season begins today at Noon for the UMass softball program. We've got all of the pre game info to get you ready for the Minutewomen's attempt at championship No. 24.

No. 4 Massachusetts vs. No. 5 Dayton
 Date Wedensday, May 7 at Noon
 Location Bronx, N.Y. | Bahoshy Field
 Directions Google Maps Directions | GPS: 2853 Southern Blvd, Bronx, N.Y.
 Tickets  $3-$8 for a single day | $12 or $24 for a tournament book
 Parking $11 per day in Fordham garage | Fordham parking info
 Audio (Free)  Listen Live (UMass broadcast) | Download Free A-10 Mobile App
 Video (Free)  Live Video (Neutral broadcast)
 Live Stats gametracker GameTracker
 Social Media  @UMassAthletics | @UMassSoftball | JTAM News Blog
 A-10 Tourney Info Championship Central | Championship BracketGet Acrobat Reader


SB Recaps From Tuesday's DH With Rhode Island

UMass clinched a spot in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship with a win over Rhode Island on Tuesday. The second game was suspended due to darkness with the score knotted at 2-2 in the 9th inning.


Collegian: UMass softball sweeps Saint Joseph's on Senior Day

Daily Collegian writer Marc Jean-Louis was in attendance for Sunday's doubleheader sweep of Saint Joseph's that saw UMass climb two spots in the Atlantic 10 standings into third place and wrote the following article.


Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has an extensive notebook in today's paper which covers all of Friday's results from lacrosse to tennis. Vautour also highlights Saturday's jersey retirement for Brianna Scurry and April Kater and gives mention to a pair of academic award winners from rowing and women's lacrosse.

The weekly UMass Sports Luncheon will have a new locale today as it will be held at the new UMass Rowing Boat House beginning at Noon. The Boat House is located at Sportsman's Marina in Hadley on Route 9 where the Calvin Coolidge Bridge crosses the Connecticut River.

Women's lacrosse senior Sam Rush and softball freshman Jena Cozza will be honored as the athletes's of the week. Rowing head coach Jim Dietz is the featured speaker and will give a tour of the new boat house which was opened this past fall.

Robert Rigo/Daily CollegianMatthew Zackman has a preview article in the Daily Collegian on today's UMass softball game at Boston University. The Minutewomen are looking to continue their strong play of late, especially on the road, where they have won their last two after dropping their first five.

This is the third game in an eight-game road trip. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will be broadcast online at UMassAthletics.com and available on the Atlantic 10 Conference mobile app. Live stats are available via this GameTracker link.

The weather forecast calls for a 80-100 percent chance of rain from midday through the rest of the night in Boston, so we'll keep you posted the status of the game.


Collegian: Minutewomen continue to show offensive improvement

Jason Kates of the Daily Collegian has an article in Tuesday's paper talking about the offensive strides the UMass softball team has made in the recent weeks.

Did you know the team is second in the A-10 in hitting with a .283 avg. But in their 6 conference games, the Minutewomen are converting at the plate with a .357 rate - more then 40 points head of the No. 2 squad Fordham at .313.


Marc Jean-Louis of the Daily Collegian has a recap of Saturday's doubleheader sweep at St. Bonaventure. The Minutewomen dominated game one with a 17-2 win, which included a school-record-tying four home runs, before erasing a 5-run deficit in game to secure a 10-8 victory.


Yoni Monat of the Daily Collegian was in attendance at Sortino Field Tuesday for the softball team's convincing 11-0 win over UConn. You can read his recap here...


Matthew Zackman of the Daily Collegian has a preview of today's home softball game against Connecticut. UMass defeated our neighbors to the south in February down in Tampa for its first win of the season. The teams will get after it today at Sortino Field with a 5 p.m. first pitch.


Collegian: UMass softball takes two, sweeps Dayton

Daily Collegian softball writer Marc Jean-Louis spent the day at Sortino Field on Saturday and took in UMass' doubleheader sweep of Dayton as the Minutewomen completed a 4-0 week and evened their A-10 record to 2-2.

     After picking up a convincing 9-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, the Massachusetts softball team continued its stride in Game 2. Thanks to a five-run rally in the bottom of the fourth inning, highlighted by a pinch-hit two-run home run by Tiffany Meeks, the Minutewomen completed the doubleheader sweep of Dayton with a 5-2 win at Sortino Field Saturday afternoon.
     "Our staff has worked really hard (on) getting us prepared (in) pitching, hitting, and fielding," UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said. "We took the day off on Thursday and practiced really hard (Friday). Our underclassmen stepped up big time (Saturday)."
     Following a complete game performance by Caroline Raymond in the first game, freshman Tara Klee got the start in the circle for second game, allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts in a complete game effort.

Read the complete article here...

SB Recaps From Wednesday's DH Sweep Over Yale

Here are a few recaps and a photo gallery from Wednesday's doubleheader sweep of Yale in the 2014 home opener. The Minutewomen defeated the Bulldogs 3-1 and 6-1 behind its best offensive output of the season, pounding out 23 hits in the two games and six extra-base hits.


Matthew Zackman of the Daily Collegian wrote an article on the team chemistry that the softball team develops and fosters on its early-season trips to Florida each season.

    For most New Englanders, a trip to Florida is the epitome of a well-deserved break.
    Some enjoy relaxing on the beach, others like to play golf on Florida's finest courses and there are even those who will attempt to ride each roller coaster at all five of Disney World's parks.
    But for the Massachusetts softball team, a visit to Florida is all about business.
    On Feb. 21, the Minutewomen flew to Clearwater, Fla., for their first five games of the season. Despite being within driving distance to both Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, UMass opted to focus on being student-athletes.
    Although they were 1,315 miles away from their classrooms in Amherst, the team "is a very well rounded group of players that take their academics very seriously," UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said.
    Stefanoni emphasized that her players attend UMass for academics and are aware that schoolwork is their first priority. They are in constant contact with their professors and their professors even work to accommodate the team's demanding travel schedule.

Read the entire article here...

Daily Collegian softball writer Jason Kates has a feature article on Interim Head Softball Coach Kristi Stefanoni. They talk about her love for the game of softball, her high school and college playing days and her first year in charge of the Minutewomen program.


Collegian: Recap Of UMass Softball's Weekend At NFCA Leadoff Classic

Marc Jean-Louis of the Daily Collegian has a recap of the UMass softball team's opening weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.

The Minutewomen picked up their first win of the season by defeating UConn 8-7 on Saturday.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on the start of the UMass softball season. The story focuses on how coach Krisiti Stefanoni and the Minutewomen have been approaching it after losing their mentor and UMass legend Elaine Sortino last August.

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
The University of Massachusetts softball team is about to start its first season without longtime coach Elaine Sortino, who died last year.



Dan Malone of the Springfield Republican has a story featuring on Kristi Stefanoni as she embarks on her first season as head coach following the passing of her mentor and UMass legend Elaine Sortino this past August.

Stories & Statements On Elaine Sortino Passing Away

UMass assistant coach walks in support of Elaine Sortino

Throughout the past two seasons, supporters of the UMass softball program have written letters, created rubber bracelets and attended games in support of longtime head coach Elaine Sortino and her battle with cancer. But associate head coach Kristi Stefanoni took on a personal challenge of participating in a 3-day, 60-mile walk to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Daily Hampshire Gazette writer Matt Vautour (@GazetteUMass) recently spoke with Stefanoni and Sortino about the latest gesture to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

Sure it was a long walk. But still it was just a walk, Kristi Stefanoni reasoned. The University of Massachusetts assistant softball coach was a 29-year-old lifelong athlete in terrific shape. She's run in races before. How tough could a walk be?

Late on day two of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to raise money for breast cancer research, Stefanoni had a new respect for walking as her legs and feet screamed at her.

"The muscles and ligaments were getting pretty sore. People were really starting to suffer. We walked 21 miles on day two," she said. "As in shape as I am, you're body is not meant to walk 20 miles a day for three days in a row."

Every time the pain threatened to get the best of her, she thought of coach Elaine Sortino, her boss, mentor and friend, who is in the middle of her own cancer fight.

"I thought of Elaine and what she goes through every day," Stefanoni said. "That's why I pushed through this walk."

Sara Plourde Enters Coaching Ranks At Lafayette

Former Massachusetts softball All-America Sara Plourde has been hired at Lafayette as an assistant coach. The 2012 UMass graduate was named to head coach Jexx Varner's staff on Wednesday. She joins a group of more than a dozen former Minutewomen who played or coached under Elaine Sortino that are now in the college coaching ranks.

Click the link below for the complete announcement from Lafayette...

Whitney Mollica Goldstein Tabbed as Head Softball Coach at WPI

Former UMass softball all-American Whitney Mollica Goldstein was named the head coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Wednesday. She spent the past three seasons on the staff at Amherst College, including the 2013 campaign as the Interim Head Coach where she led the Lord Jeffs to a 24-12 record.

Mollica Goldstein was a four-year standout for the Minutewomen from 2006-09, where she was a three-time all-Atlantic 10 selection and the 2006 A-10 Rookie and Player of the Year.

Plourde signs with new NY/NJ pro team

Former UMass All-American softball standout Sara Plourde (@s_pizz10will be playing her professional softball closer to home this season. After a year playing with the Carolina Diamonds in the National Pro Fastpitch league, the franchise is moving to the New York/New Jersey area. Plourde's contract was picked up by the NY/NJ Comets during the transition, so the UMass grad will be playing softball in the northeast once again.

Paul Angilly of the Bristol Press wrote about the move here in Tuesday's paper.

The National Pro Fastpitch softball league, the highest level of professional competition in the sport in this country, recently announced that a new team, the NY/NJ Comets, will play its home games in New Jersey and New York this season, plus a two game "outreach" series in Pennsylvania.

Emma Mendoker ready for UMass softball season

With softball season underway and games beginning in mid-February, the UMass softball team is hard at work getting ready for another exciting schedule filled with tough competition all year long. But gone from the previous season is All-America pitcher Sara Plourde, meaning the pitching circle will see some new arms in 2013.
One of those is transfer Emma Mendoker. The redshirt freshman sat out last year at East Carolina with a torn biceops tendon and returned to Amherst where she prepped at Amherst Regional HS and will be looked upon to play a big role for the Minutewomen this season.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette recently sat-in on a pitching session with Mendoker and head coach Elaine Sortino.

      It looks like a tedious process -- adjusting her shoulder, tweaking her elbow and wrist movement a little bit to find the optimum pitching motion. But Mendoker, a former star pitcher at Amherst Regional, is enjoying the process.
      A year ago, she was a freshman at East Carolina in Greenville, N.C., getting ready for her first collegiate season after a standout high school career. But just a few days before the season, she felt a pop in her shoulder that was later diagnosed as a torn biceps tendon. It ended her season.

Sortino Field Comes To Life

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Saturday was a special day out at the UMass Softball Complex as the playing surface was officially renamed Sortino Field in honor of longtime softball coach Elaine Sortino.

Here are a couple of articles and photo galleries of the day, which also featured the annual alumni game and the team's banquet.


UMass Athletics Photo Gallery
MassLive.com Photo Gallery
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a touching piece on head softball coach Elaine Sortino's ongoing battle and recovery from cancer. He writes about Sortino's emotions in her returning to her office on a daily basis, working with the Minutewomen pitchers during the fall season and the "army of angels" who helped her over the past six months.

It wasn't just her staff picking up the slack. Her friends, her family and the community helped her with everything from simple tasks like driving, running errands or just passing along a get-well note to the extremely generous. Someone donated a van to drive Sortino to St. Louis for the Atlantic 10 tournament and then to Columbia, Mo. for the NCAA tournament because she wasn't allowed to fly.

"I was blessed with an army of angels. I couldn't ask for more other than not to have this happen," she said. "People would help and do whatever they could to help keep things going for me and my health and the team."


Gleason Named Boston University Softball Coach

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UMass associate head softball coach Kathryn Gleason has been named the head coach at Boston University, as announced by the Terrier athletic department Wednesday.

Gleason spent a total of six seasons over two stints in Amherst, including the last two in her role as associate head coach.

You can read the entire release on the BU website here. 

Danielle Henderson Joins Stanford Softball Staff

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Former UMass softball All-American and Olympian Danielle Henderson was recently hired as an assistant coach at Stanford. She spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach at Ohio State.

Here are some parts of the Stanford release, which you can read in its entirety here:

"We are extremely excited to add Danielle to our coaching staff," said Rittman. "She has a complete understanding of what it takes to compete and perform at the highest level both as a player and a coach."

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to coach at Stanford," Henderson said. "The Cardinal has been one of the top programs in the nation for several years and I am excited to join its program."

A member of the gold medal-winning 2000 U.S. Olympic softball team in Sydney and 2001 Women's Pro Softball League Gold team, Henderson brings valuable pitching expertise to The Farm.

Henderson is considered one of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, rewriting the softball record book in her four seasons on the mound. A four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and a four-time A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding player, Henderson finished her career second all-time on the NCAA's strikeout list with 1,343. A three-time All-American, she was also the nation's leader in strikeouts per seven innings in both 1998 and 1999.

The Cardinal are coming off a season that saw them go 40-19 overall, 11-13 in the Pac-12 and reach the finals of the NCAA Lafayette Regional.

Amherst College has announced Whitney Mollica Goldstein has been named as the program's softball interim head coach following two seasons as an assistant. Mollica Goldstein was a four-year standout at UMass from 2006-09, where she was a three-time all-Atlantic 10 selection and the 2006 A-10 Rookie and Player of the Year.

Here is an excerpt from Amherst's release:

Mollica Goldstein played a pivotal role in helping Amherst transform from a 14-16 team in 2011 to a 36-6 team in 2012, marking the 10th best single-season improvement in NCAA Division III history. Last year's Amherst squad got off to a 22-0 start en route to its first playoff berth since 2006, its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999, and its first NFCA national ranking since 2000.

"I would like to thank Athletics Director Suzanne Coffey and the administration for allowing me this very exciting opportunity," said Mollica Goldstein. "I am very fortunate to work alongside great people who have made my time at Amherst so welcoming. I have enjoyed being a part of such a special institution where a healthy blend of academics and athletics allows us to compete on a national scale in all aspects."

Amherst saw drastic one-year improvements in virtually every statistical category last year, including batting average (from .264 in 2011 to .324 in 2012), earned run average (2.88 to 1.86) and fielding percentage (.945 to .959). Eleven players from the 2012 team will return next year--including the entire pitching staff--with four members of the Class of 2016 also ready to join the squad.

"I'm excited about the future of Amherst Softball," Mollica Goldstein said. "With a focus on strong pitching, timely hitting, and solid defense, I think our 2013 squad will bring the passion, mentality, and drive for a successful season. Last year helped ignite the fire we needed to continually push for postseason play."

Read the complete release here.

UMass softball signee Taylor Carbone recently had a four-day stretch of winning championships and collecting awards that not many people can lay claim to... especially when you consider she did it for the second-consecutive season.

The 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher and first baseman at Alvirne HS was named the New Hampshire Gatorade Softball Player of the Year on Wednesday and led the Broncos to Division I state title with a 5-1 win over top-ranked Salem HS on Saturday. She won both awards a year ago as a junior also.

  • ESPN Boston, NE Gatorade Softball Players of the Year Announced
  • New Hampshire Union Leader, Division I Softball Championship: Taylor-made win as Alvirne tops Salem
  • NCAA Softball Regional Previews

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    UMass opens play in the 2012 NCAA Softball Regional today at University Field in Columbia, Mo. against DePaul. The Minutewomen bring a 22-game winning streak into the tourney and are playing away from Amherst for the first time since 2005. Don't forget to tune in to UMassAthletics.com for a live video and audio broadcast of the games this weekend for free. Here are a few previews from newspapers in Massachusetts on the team's preparations.


    Minutewomen look to stay hot at BC

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    The Daily Collegian has a preview on today's game at Boston College. UMass will look for a season sweep of the Eagles when they meet up at Shea Field in Chestnut Hill. First pitch is at 4 pm and the game can be heard online at UMassAthletics.com.

    After showing signs of inconsistency at the beginning of the season, the Massachusetts softball team appears to be getting hot at the right time.

    Plourde has been on top of her game as of late, posting six shutouts in that stretch to go along with three no-hitters and a perfect game. Arguably her most significant improvement is the fact that she has only issued 39 walks, helping minimize her ERA to 2.14.

    Read the entire article by clicking here.
    Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a piece on freshman softball player Quianna Diaz-Patterson and her rapid adjustment to the college game.

    Standing on the field at the UMass Softball Complex after the University of Massachusetts softball team's 1-0 win over Quinnipiac in the home opener Wednesday, freshman shortstop Quianna Diaz-Patterson marveled at how far she's come.

    "It was really fun just to be on the field," the former Amherst Regional standout said. "I used to watch the UMass team play - now I'm on the field with them."

    Hitting out of the No. 2 spot in the batting order, Diaz-Patterson is second on the team in hitting at .313 and leads the Minutewomen in home runs (three) and RBIs (20). Her RBI double in the third inning Wednesday produced the game's only run."You can't ask for a young kid to do more," Sortino added. "She has a plan and she finishes her at-bats."

    Diaz-Patterson had an outstanding career at Amherst Regional with 144 hits and 105 stolen bases, but she came into the UMass season unsure of how her abilities would translate to the Division I college level.


    Jon Baker of the Pawtucket Times has an article on Kyllie Magill, the starting second baseman on the softball team.

    It's hard to believe Kyllie Magill, the former St. Raphael Academy All-State softball catcher, is now in her final semester at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
It seems like only yesterday she had been drilling doubles and blocking the plate for the Saints, who always were in contention to win the Division I state title.


    "This season, I'd like to win the A-10 championship, and also win an NCAA (Division I) Regional (game)," she explained via e-mail Monday. "We have an All-American pitcher (Plourde) and some great players, so I think we have the tools to do that.


    "We have a shot to go undefeated in the conference with the great team we have, and that would be cool, too," she continued. "Individually, I just want to be a great leader, give my team good at-bats and be a strong presence on the field."





    SB Recaps From Wednesday's 1-0 Victory Over Quinnipiac

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    Wednesday was a day of celebration out at the UMass Softball Complex. After a one-day delay, the 2012 home opener went off without a hitch as the Minutewomen defeated Quinnipiac 1-0. Senior pitcher Sara Plourde established herself as the strikeout queen of UMass softball by becoming the school's career strikeout leader, surpassing Danielle Henderson's mark of 1,343 strikeouts. Oh, and SP also tossed her fourth no-hitter of the season in the process. Just a reminder that UMass hosts Dayton this weekend with single games on Friday at 3 pm and Saturday at Noon.

    Daily Collegian Season Previews - Softball

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    The Daily Collegian's annual Baseball/Softball Preview issue hit newsstands on Monday and here are the softball articles compiled by writers Nick Canelas, Stephen Hewitt and David Martin.


    College Softball Weekend Preview

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    Graham Hays of ESPN.com has his weekly preview of softball around the country and has a couple of UMass mentions. He has Saturday's game at No. 1 Alabama listed in his Games to Watch This Weekend and in his Player of the Year sidebar, mentions UMass senior right-hander Sara Plourde. In saying her stock is rising, he references her strong game against No. 12 Michigan last weekend when she struck out 16 in leading the Minutewomen to a 1-0 victory. He goes on to mention her 16 Ks in his By the Numbers segment.

    Alabama has already faced some good mid-major pitching this season, including North Dakota State's Whitney Johnson, Memphis' Carly Hummel and Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl, but UMass ace Sara Plourde is as good a power pitcher as they will face all season, in or out of conference.

    Stock up: There were some special pitching performances in Cathedral City, but one of the best of the weekend came on the other side of the country in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Florida. Pitching her second game of the day, Plourde allowed just two hits and struck out 16 in a 1-0 win against Michigan. The senior's overall numbers are still modest for a mid-major award hopeful (4-4, 2.17 ERA), but 83 strikeouts in 51.2 innings will keep her in the debate.

    16: Massachusetts senior pitcher Sara Plourde struck out a season-high 16 batters in a 1-0 win against Michigan Friday, making it the first time the Wolverines had been shut out since a May 27, 2010 super regional loss to Tennessee. Plourde showed no letup in her next start, striking out 15 in a no-hitter against Georgia Tech.

    Dick Baker has a feature story on softball freshman Quianna Diaz-Patterson and her adjustment to college softball.
    'Q' had a solid opening weekend down in Florida where she hit .294 with three doubles, an RBI and started all five games at shortstop.


    Happy Birthday to men's soccer player Michael Doherty and softball player Kyllie Magil!

    Michael DohertyKyllie Magill

    Minutewomen In Action With Brakettes

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    Well the Stratford Brakettes softball team is up to its old tricks again, posting a 55-0 record so far this summer with the season winding down to the Women's Major Softball National Championship on Aug. 4-7.

    This year's squad features three former Minutewomen, Brandice Balschmiter, Denise Denis, and Carly Normandin, and one current player, two-time All-American Sara Plourde.

    The Brakettes swept a pair of doubleheaders over the weekend from the Rhode Island Thunder, 2-0 and 6-0 on Saturday, and 16-0 and 11-0 on Sunday.

    Balschmiter picked up a win each on Saturday and Sunday, while Denis and Normandin each homered in game one on Sunday.

    The Springfield Republican wrapped up its high school sports coverage for the academic year by naming its 2010-11 Athletes of the Year. Taking the Female Athlete of the Year honor is Amherst Regional High School star and soon-to-be UMass softball player Quianna Diaz-Patterson. 

    The shortstop and leadoff batter led the Hurricanes softball team to the Massachusetts Division 1 State Finals by batting .559 in her senior season with a .604 on-base percentage, eight homers, and 21 RBIs. She stole 105 bases in her three-year career without being thrown out a single time.

    Diaz-Patterson, one of five incoming freshmen for Elaine Sortino, was also a state champion in the swimming pool for Amherst, in addition to starring in field hockey.

    Kacey Schmitt, the Amherst Regional Head Coach had this to say about Diaz-Patterson: "Softball is her passion and it shows in the way she plays. Her athleticism is off the charts and that really stands out. She has quick hands and quick feet, and it's that kind of quickness that really sets her apart from any other player in Western Mass. And as a senior captain, she cared about everybody on the team. We're going to miss her on so many levels, but we look forward to seeing her play at UMass."

    It was a matchup of soon-to-be Minutewomen in the Massachusetts Division 1 State Softball Championship on Saturday as Anna Kelley (pictured, far left) and King Philip High School of Wrentham edged out Quianna Diaz-Patterson and Amherst Regional High School, 1-0 at Worcester State's Rockwood Field. The Warrriors, also the alma mater of current UMass player Maggie Quealy, finish the season with a perfect 26-0 record, while the Hurricanes finish 2011 with a 23-2 mark.

    The terrific game received lots of media attention. Check out the coverage below, including a pair of features on Kelley.

  • ESPN Boston (with video): King Philip Takes 2nd Straight D1 State Title
  • CBS 3 Springfield (with video): Amherst Loses 1-0 Heartbreaker
  • Boston Globe: King Philip Wears Crown
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette: Amherst Regional Softball Falls Just Short
  • Springfield Republican: Amherst Loses State Division 1 Title Game
  • Wrentham Patch: KP Wins State Softball Championship Again
  • The Sun Chronicle: Another Title For KP
  • Kelley Feature in Sun Chronicle: Kelley On Fire At Hot Corner
  • Kelley's Class in Sun Chronicle: Three Cheers For King Philip Trio
  • UMass softball NLI signee Quianna Diaz-Patterson, a hometown product and senior shortstop at Amherst Regional High School led the Hurricanes to a 4-0 victory over West Springfield on Tuesday in the Western Mass. Division 1 semifinals at Elms College.

    The speedy left-handed leadoff batter needed just one at-bat to turn the game in Amherst's favor, driving a ball down the right field line and circling the bases, diving into home ahead of the catcher's tag for an inside-the-park home run.

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has a great recap of the game, including Amherst's coach giving Diaz-Patterson some high praise:

    "Her hands are so quick," Hurricanes coach Kacey Schmitt said. "I've been watching a lot of the Women's College World Series. They talk about it a lot, 'this girl's quick hands,' and I watch it thinking that Quianna can do that. There aren't many high school coaches that can say that when they are watching Florida and Alabama, both offensively and defensively.

    "She's got the raw talent that is so rare and she's got the smarts. She's played a lot of softball and she's worked very hard to get as good as she is and she's used the talent that she was given."

    Amherst (21-1) will face Agawam (18-4) in the Western Mass. Division 1 Championship game at Diaz-Patterson's future home field - the UMass Softball Complex - on Saturday at 5 p.m.

    Former UMass softball player Rachel Lawson '94/'98 made lots of headlines this weekend. In her fourth year as head coach at Kentucky, she led the Wildcats to to victory in the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional and into the Super Regional round.

    The Wildcats opened play on Friday with an 8-0 win over Notre Dame, before knocking off No. 10 overall seed Michigan on Saturday, 7-6. Lawson's squad then advanced to the Super Regionals, where it will face No. 7 seed California in a best-of-three series, with a 2-1 win over the host Wolverines on Sunday.

    Lawson was a two-time All-Conference performer for Elaine Sortino's Minutewomen. During her four-year career, she led UMass to a 142-68 record, four Atlantic 10 regular season titles, three A-10 tournament titles, and the 1992 Women's College World Series.


  • UKAthletics.com, Seventh Inning Comeback Leads Wildcats To Supers
  • Lexington Herald-Leader, 7th Inning Rally Puts UK Softball In Super Regionals
  • NCAA.com, Kentucky Surprises No. 10 Michigan
  • The Kentucky Kernel, UK Softball Makes Program History With Walk-Off-Win
  • Softball Signee Leads Amherst High Over Agawam

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    Photo: Showstopper
    Amherst High School senior Quianna Diaz-Patterson, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Elaine Sortino's Minutewomen beginning next season, continues to add to her local legend in Western Massachusetts. The shortstop overcame a toe injury last weekend to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over Agawam, running her team's record to 14-1. She was 2-for-4 with a triple in the bottom of the seventh that drove in a run and then scored the game-winning run on a groundball.

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on Diaz-Patterson's stellar performance.

    Plourde Gets 1,000th K, Softball Tops BU, 3-2

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    It was a historic day at the UMass Softball Complex on Wednesday as junior pitcher Sara Plourde, with a 14-strikeout three-hitter, led UMass to a 3-2 win over Boston University and recorded the 1,000th strikeout of her career. She is just the third pitcher in UMass history to reach the mark, joining Danielle Henderson and Brandice Balschmiter, and the first to do it prior to her senior season.

  • Daily Collegian: Plourde becomes 3rd Minutewoman to reach 1,000 strikeouts
  • Daily Collegian: Minutewomen win behind Plourde & Matthew
  • Hampshire Gazette: Sara Plourde reaches 1,000 career strikeouts
  • Softball Weekend Round-Up

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    The UMass softball team concluded a busy six-game week with a doubleheader split at home against Syracuse on Friday and then a twinbill sweep over George Washington on Easter Sunday which included a dramatic come-from-behind eight-inning victory in game two. The Minutewomen continue their 12-game homestand on Wednesday when they host Boston University at 5 p.m. at the UMass Softball Complex. Below are recaps from this weekend's games.

  • Daily Collegian: Minutewomen Split Two Game Set Against Orange, Sweep Colonials
  • Hampshire Gazette: UMass Softball Sweeps George Washington
  • Hampshire Gazette: UMass Softball Splits With Syracuse
  • SUAthletics.com: SU Splits Twinbill Against UMass
  • GWSports.com: Colonials Drop Pair At UMass
  • Happy Birthday: April 22 - Softball's Audrey Boutin

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    Happy 21st Birthday to senior softball player Audrey Boutin on April 22. Enjoy the day!

    Audrey Boutin

    Softball Shuts Out UConn On The Road, 2-0

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    The Minutewomen travelled to Storrs, Conn. on Wednesday and shut out the Huskies, 2-0. Stephanie Mayne hit a two-run home run in the third inning to account for all the scoring, while Sara Plourde pitched her eighth shutout of the season with a three-hitter. Playing in her home state, she struck out 13 batters, including the final three of the game with two runners on base. Below are recaps of the game.

  • Minutewomen's Streak Hits 9, Steve Levine, Daily Collegian
  • Minutewomen Softball Blanks UConn, Hampshire Gazette
  • Bristol Pair Have UMass On Upswing (with video), Paul Angilly, Bristol Press
  • UMass Edges Huskies By A 2-0 Count, The Hour

    The Minutewomen return home to host Fairfield today at 5 p.m., kicking off a 12-game homestand at the UMass Softball Complex.

  • Collegian Wrap On Softball Victory

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    Pete Vasquez of the Daily Collegian has a recap of Friday's softball win at Dayton, 9-1. Sara Plourde struck out 17 in a three-hitter, and Meghan Carta and Stephanie Mayne hit back-to-back home runs, Carta's being her second grand slam of the season. The Minutewomen have won eight in a row.

    This week will be a busy one for the softball team. It travels to Storrs on Wednesday to face UConn before returning home for five-straight to close the week. On Thursday, The Minutewomen host Fairfield, on Friday it's a doubleheader against Syracuse, and on Sunday, George Washington comes to the UMass Softball Complex for an Atlantic 10 twinbill.

    Happy Birthday: April 18 - Katie Bettencourt

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    Happy Birthday on April 18 to softball's junior outfielder  Katie Bettencourt

    Katie Bettencourt

    Collegian: Matthew Impress Maroon & White Staff

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    Steve Levine of the Daily Collegian has a great story on the emergence of Cyndil Matthew as a threat in the UMass softball team's offense. The story focuses on how the sophomore speedster has learned the art of slap-hitting and, as the No. 9 hitter, has got on base for the top of the lineup.

    "She's like our second leadoff [hitter]," Assistant Coach Kristi Stefanoni said. "She's someone we can depend on to get on base and use her speed and then have the heart of the order... [come up] to drive Cyndil in."

    Matthew has been getting on base with regularity as of late, batting .346 with a .433 on-base percentage and six runs scored in the last 10 games.

    Happy Birthday: April 11 - Tiffany Meeks

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    Happy Birthday to softball freshman infielder Tiffany Meeks on April 11. 

    Tiffany Meeks

    Lots Of Honors At Today's UMass Sports Luncheon

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    Senior Cerie Mosgrove of the women's basketball team and senior Sean Busch of the men's track & field squad have been named the 2011 UMass Winter Scholar-Athletes. The duo will be honored at the UMass Sports Luncheon today, Apr. 6, at Room 1009 of the Campus Center at 12:15 p.m. Also, the UMass Athletes of the Week will be recognized: Sara Plourde of the softball team, who was also named the National Player of the Week and Katie Ferris of the women's lacrosse squad, who tallied 12 points in two wins for No. 11 UMass.
    Best birthday wishes to softball senior Meghan Carta and baseball sophomore Anthony Serino on April 5. 

    Meghan Carta  Anthony Serino

    Softball Coverage After Home-Opening Sweep

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    The UMass softball team opened up their home schedule in style on Wednesday, sweeping a doubleheader from Dartmouth, 1-0 and 6-2. Sara Plourde and Caroline Raymond combined to hold the Big Green hitless through the first 12 innings of play. Check out the coverage of the two wins below.

  • Plourde Pitches Not-Hitter, Leads Minutewomen To Doubleheader Sweep, Matt Vautour, Hampshire Gazette
  • Plourde Throws A No-No As UMass Sweeps Big Green, Stephen Hewitt, Daily Collegian
  • UM Finds Other Ways Besides Long Ball To Generate Offense, Michael Wood, Daily Collegian
  • UMass Softball Sweeps Dartmouth, WWLP.com
  • Softball Fails To Muster Offense In Doubleheader Loss At UMass, Olivia Durr, TheDartmouth.com
  • UMassAthletics.com Photo Gallery, Thom Kendall
  • MassLive.com Photo Gallery, J. Anthony Roberts

  • Happy Birthday: March 30 - Bank, Mayne, Sekurski

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    A trio of birthdays for UMass student-athletes on March 30: swimming senior Gillian Bank, softball junior Stephanie Mayne and swimming freshman Danielle Sekurski.

    Gillian Bank  Stephanie Mayne  Danielle Sekurski

    Softball Stories From Friday's Collegian

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    Steve Levine of the Daily Collegian has a preview of this weekend's softball games at Temple and Saint Joseph's. He points out that the Minutewomen, winners of five out their last seven, have played better as of late, but have areas that need to be improved upon as conference play continues.

    Michael Wood of the Daily Collegian has a feature on senior first baseman Audrey Boutin. The story focuses on how the Bristol, Conn. native is a key member to the offense in 2011, and after a slow start, has caught fire as of late, batting .417 with nine RBIs in the last seven games.

    Softball Coverage In Daily Collegian

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    Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
    With Atlantic 10 Conference play just underway and the home opener on the horizon, the Daily Collegian released its annual Baseball/Softball Issue on Wednesday with extensive coverage of both squads. Check out the links below to all of the softball coverage in today's issue.

  • Podcast: Softball Running The A-10, Nick O'Malley
  • Winning Culture Challenged For 2011 Minutewomen, Pete Vasquez
  • New Idea Of Success, Steve Levine
  • Youth, Speed, Pitching Dictate Minutewomen's 2011 Roster, Mike Wood
  • Minutewomen Relying On Raymond & Webster To Help Plourde, Stephen Hewitt
  • After Tough Start, UMass Finds Win Column, Stephen Hewitt, March 20
  • Softball Round-Up From Last Weekend

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    The softball team went 2-3 last weekend in the season-opening FAU Kickoff Classic, making it to the tournament's championship game. Below are recaps from the weekend.

  • Minutewomen Fall To Michigan In FAU Kickoff Classic, Daily Collegian
  • Plourde Leads UMass In Season Opening Win, Hampshire Gazette
  • Softball Opens In Florida, Hampshire Gazette
  • In Case You Are Wondering, Plourde Can Still Pitch, Hampshire Gazette
  • Minutewomen Fall To Michigan In Kickoff Finals, UMassAthletics.com
  • Bettencourt's Blast Leads UMass Past FAU, UMassAthletics.com
  • Softball Falls To Michigan, 3-0, UMassAthletics.com
  • Softball Splits On Opening Day, UMassAthletics.com
  • Bristol Press: Plourde One To Watch

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    Paul Angilly of the of Bristol Press in Connecticut has a story on softball pitcher Sara Plourde as she prepares for the 2011 season that begins on Feb. 18 in Boca Raton, Fla. The story points out how Plourde was named to the National Player of the Year Watch List, is fully recovered from a hip injury suffered at the end of last season, and will be joined by two freshmen additions to the pitching staff. Angilly also points out that fellow Bristol native Audrey Boutin goes into her senior season as a leading candidate to help lead the Minutewomen's offensive attack.

    Happy Birthday: Feb. 10 - Christine Della Vecchia

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    Happy Birthday on Feb. 10 to softball's Christine Della Vecchia

    Christine Della Vecchia
    ESPN.com softball expert Graham Hays named UMass as his sleeper to reach the NCAA Super Regionals in his softball blog.

    Hays says, "With Plourde (1.30 ERA, 556 strikeouts) healthy, the lineup should have time to find its rhythm on the road to the NCAA tournament."

    Hays went on to name fellow A-10 school Fordham as a sleeper to reach the Women's College World Series, and Missouri as a sleeper to win the National Championship.

    Happy Birthday: Jan. 27 - Sara Plourde

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    Sara Plourde
    Happy Birthday to All-American softball pitcher Sara Plourde on Jan. 27! The 2010 A-10 Pitcher of the Year and NCAA strikeouts and wins leader turns the Big 2-1 today!
    Best wishes for a great day today on Jan. 19 as women's cross country/track runner Kristin Darling and softball freshman Maggie Quealy celebrate birthdays.

    Kristin Darling  Maggie Quealy

    Happy Birthday: Jan. 18 - Samantha Gray

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    West wishes for a great birthday to softball freshman Samantha Gray.

    Samantha Gray

    Happy Birthday: Jan. 13 - Arikian, Waldie, Zeimetz

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    Happy Birthday on Jan. 13 to Assistant Athletic Trainer Lacy Gunn along with soccer's Ben Arikian, softball's Candace Waldie and swimmer Eric Zeimetz

    Ben Arikian  Candace Waldie  Eric Zeimetz

    Also, best wishes for a happy birthday to Assistant Athletic Trainer Lacy Gunn.

    In recognition of its 35th-year anniversary, the Atlantic 10 Conference is unveiling 35 Years of A-10 History. Major accomplishments and features were collected from each year, and in the conference's No. 4 Highlight, the impact of the 1972 enactment of Title IX and the contributions of women's athletics to the Atlantic 10 is the focus.

    Featured in the No. 4 Highlight is the incredible success experienced by the UMass softball program over the last 31 years under the guidance of head coach Elaine Sortino.

    "Under Sortino's direction, UMass has accumulated 22 Atlantic 10 Conference titles and has never suffered a losing season. Sortino has proven her ability to produce exceptional talent during her 31-years at the helm, coaching 27 All-Americans, 13 A-10 Players of the Year, 16 A-10 Pitcher of the Year picks, eight A-10 Rookie of the Year honorees and 116 all-conference selections."

    Happy Birthday - Dec. 9: Dainton, Matthew, Tyler

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    A trio of birthdays today on Dec. 9 including hockey captain Paul Dainton, softball's Cyndil Matthew and lacrosse sophomore Bobby Tyler.

    Paul Dainton  Cyndil Matthew  Bobby Tyler

    Happy Birthday: Nov. 16 - Doherty, Magill

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    Happy Birthday on Nov. 16 to men's soccer junior Michael Doherty and softball junior Kyllie Magill

    Michael Doherty  Kyllie Magill

    Happy Birthday: Nov. 5 - Caroline Raymond

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    Best wishes for a great birthday to freshman softball pitcher Caroline Raymond on Nov. 5.
    Caroline Raymond

    Happy Birthday - Oct. 11: Softball's Paige Hansen

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    Happy Birthday to softball freshman Paige Hansen, who celebrates on Oct. 11.Paige Hansen

    Happy Birthday: Oct. 3 - Jordan Storro

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    Happy Birthday on Oct. 3 to Jordan Storro of the softball team.
    Jordan Storro
    Former UMass softball star and current UMass marketing assistant Michelle Libby was interviewed by NBC22 about the music industry and the transition from album sales to downloading music.

    Della Vecchia's Game Evolving

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    Bill Bloxsom of the Stratford Star has a story on UMass softball player and Stratford native Christine Della Vecchia. The middle infielder is coming off her freshmen season for the Minutewomen and rebounded from knee and hand injuries to play for the Stratford Brakettes. She gives the UMass athletic training staff (led by softball athletic trainer Mike Welch) credit for getting her back on the field so fast after her knee surgery this spring. Della Vecchia will be looking to use her Brakettes experience to become an even bigger contributor for UMass this coming season.
    Happy Birthday On Aug. 19 to football quarterback Kyle Havens, hockey d-man Michael Marcou, softball grad Whitney Williams and rower Ariadne Zamelis.

    Kyle Havens   Michael Marcou  Whitney Williams  Ariadne Zamelis
    Happy Birthday - Aug. 12: Chelsea Downing (swimming), Emily Hagan (crew), Ricky Harris (basketball's third all-time leading scorer), Stephanie Mix (softball).

    Chelsea Downing      Emily Hagan    Ricky Harris      Stephanie Mix
    Kim Burke, an assistant coach at UMass from 2001-03, has been announced as the new softball head coach at Ohio Northern University. The Ada Herald has a story on the hiring. UMass was 92-29 in her three seasons as an assistant under Elaine Sortino, including a Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2003. Burke was most recently an assistant at Kent State before being hired to lead the Polar Bears.

    Brakettes Win WMS National Championship

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    Led by several UMass players and alums, the Stratford Brakettes won the Women's Major Softball National Championship on Sunday by defeating the St. Louis Saints, 4-1. Jessica Serio had three hits and a RBI, Denise Denis collected two doubles, Christine Della Vecchia scored a run, and Carly Normandin made several key defensive plays in center field. The American Chronicle and The Stamford Advocate have coverage. Also, The Stamford Advocate also has a story on the Brakettes, who have had financial difficulties as of late, have announced that the team will play in 2011.

    Minutewomen Shine For New England Firebirds

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    Three UMass softball players are making strong contributions at the plate for the New England Firebirds U23 summer ball team. The Eagle Tribune has coverage on junior Katie Bettencourt, junior Stephanie Mayne, and incoming freshman Candace Waldie helping lead the Firebirds to winning the Umpires Open in Leominster last weekend, going 6-0 in the 12-team tourney.

    Softball Alum Libby Aces Hole-In-One

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    Recent UMass softball grad and current marketing assistant Michelle Libby notched a hole-in-one at Cherry Hill Golf Club on Thursday. She nailed the 155-yard par 3 with an 8-iron. Congrats to Libby.
    The Boston Globe has a softball story that, though centering on Cassidy Clayton, mentions other players from the Concord Raiders AAU softball team that will be playing at Division I schools. The story mentions UMass incoming freshman Paige Hansen. The 5-10 pitcher/outfielder from Concord, N.H. was the state's 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year. She is part of head coach Elaine Sortino's incoming class of seven.

    Bristol Press Updates Sara Plourde's Health

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    The injury Sara Plourde received during the UMass run in Division I post-season play in May, a stress fracture of the hip, has taken her off the playing field this summer. She's been advised by her doctor to use crutches and to keep weight off her leg. She'll get an X-ray on Monday to see how she's doing. The Bristol Press has an update. "I'll definitely be back for next season," she said, "without a doubt."

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