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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.


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.


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.


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.

    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.

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