March 28, 2008

Red Sports Deeper Rotation, Lineup

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In 2007, the Red posted its best winning percentage in three years and developed a strong nucleus of young hitters. This year, the team hopes to continue to improve and make a run at the Ivy League title later in the spring. The team’s biggest strength may be the fact that it is well-rounded and does not have a discernable weak spot anywhere on the roster. Below is a breakdown of the team as it looks to improve on last year’s 35-14 record, which included a 13-7 record against Ivy League foes.
Sophomore Vanessa Leonhard and junior Nicole Cheever will do most of the catching this season as they attempt to replace Sarah Ruben ’07. Last year, Cheever batted .239 with seven RBI in 46 at bats, but her biggest accomplishments were behind the plate. On the season, she did not make a single error in 95 chances. Leonhard batted .222 in limited action during her freshman season. The two should split starts, but in any given game, whoever starts will usually bat eighth. Sophomore Ashley Garvey is listed as the emergency catcher on the roster.
When Garvey is not needed at catcher, she will be the team’s starting first basemen. She saw minimal playing time a season ago; however her role is much greater this season.
“She’s a ball player,” said head coach Dick Blood. “She makes good contact at the plate. She’s a tough lefty who hits the ball to all fields.”
Garvey will typically bat sixth this season.
Senior Samantha Hare, who bats second, hopes to rebound from last season in her final campaign with the Red. She batted .265 with one home run in 113 at bats in 2007. Her defense up the middle is an asset for the team. She finished second on the team in assists a year ago and has shown the ability to fill in at shortstop.
At third base, sophomore Elise Menaker hopes to build upon a stellar rookie season. She will bat cleanup after batting .331 with eight home runs last year. She started 48 of 49 games last year and should be a fixture in the lineup once again. She can also play first or second base as needed.
Menaker’s classmate, Alyson Intihar, is also looking to build on a strong freshman season. Intihar batted .351 and led the team in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage in 2007. Intihar will primarily start at shortstop, but she has also played both first and second. Intihar should bat third most of the season.
Junior Meg Risica is the team’s left fielder and provides some pop at the bottom of the order. She finished fourth on the team in home runs and RBI in 2007 after playing in all of the team’s 49 games. She did not commit a single error in 29 chances last season.
In centerfield, senior Jenna Campagnolo is hoping to tack on one more strong season to her already successful career with the Red. Campagnolo represents the complete package as she started every game, batted .361, drove in 31 runs, finished second on the team with eight stolen bases and had a .984 fielding percentage. She will bat fifth this season and could easily improve on her RBI and run totals from previous seasons.
Leading off and playing right field will be speedy senior Ashley Wolf. Wolf had six more hits than anyone on the team last season and finished with a .364 batting average. She also walked 13 times and took advantage of the fact that she was frequently on base by stealing 17 bases, easily the most on the team.
Junior Jess Berkey can play the outfield, but will frequently DH this year. She batted .318 with seven home runs last year. Berkey will frequently bat seventh, although she may move up and down the order depending on who else is playing.
Sophomore Devon March is technically not a starter, but when healthy she manages to start a majority of the team’s game. The versatile sophomore can play both the infield and the outfield and will also DH. Last year, she batted .247, but with a year of experience under her belt, she could see better results this year.
Kristin Andrzejewski is one of two freshmen position players on the roster and should see time at multiple infield positions. Marissa Amiraian is the team’s other freshman position player. She will provide depth in the outfield.
“[Amiraian] gives us a little bit of a different look,” Blood said. “She’s a lefty who’s a slap hitter and bunter. She’s capable of moving runners on the bases.”
Senior Adrienne Matta, junior Jaime Tupino and sophomore Abby Marlow all are valuable for their reliable gloves in the infield.
The staff ace is unquestionably senior Jenn Meunier. She went 19-7 with a 2.23 ERA last year and has a chance to match, if not surpass, those numbers this season. She struck out 146 batters and walked only 33 a season ago. Her ability to dominate opposing hitters is crucial if the Red hopes to win the Ivy League this year.
She is joined in the rotation by two freshmen: Elizabeth Dalrymple and Ali Tomlinson.
“Dalrymple and Tomlinson both have a four-pitch arsenal,” Blood said. “Both are capable of jamming people and getting fly ball outs. Last year we were a little thin in the pitching core. It’s nice to have a third pitcher [in the rotation.]”
Last year, the team primarily used two pitchers: Meunier and current junior Haley Mirrer. According to coach Blood, Mirrer is sitting out this season to pursue internship opportunities.
Sophomores Dana Robbins and Izzy Pines are the team’s other pitchers. Both will also play in the field when they’re not needed on the mound. Robbins was 1-1 in 12 2/3 innings last season and may earn more appearances if she improves her control. Pines made seven starts in the field as a freshman.