Feb. 25, 2009
Providence, RI -
Third-year head coach DeeDee Enabenter-Omidiji and the Brown softball team are ready to take the field in Moraga, Calif., when they open up the season on Feb. 27 against Binghamton and St. Mary’s. A core group of veteran’s along with a talented group of freshman will enter the 2009 campaign with high expectations. “I expect us to be a lot more competitive this year and our goal is to continually be better than we were the game before,” said Enabenter-Omidiji. “The talent level and expectations are raised, and the overall attitude of the team has changed for the better. If we continue to show improvement as the season progresses, there is no reason why we can’t climb up the ranks of the Ivy League.”
The team will be looking to the returnees to lead the way in getting them to a higher level of play. Senior Michelle Moses (Cooper City, FL), a CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Third Team Academic All-American, will be back in the circle for the Bears and handle a majority of the pitching duties once again. Moses had a 2.6 ERA last year, ended the season ranked fourth in the Ivy League in strikeouts, and was sixth in opponent batting average. Brown’s other senior, Kelsey Wilson (Monterey, CA), will be back at first base, after spending last season playing shortstop. Wilson, an Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection during her sophomore campaign, played and started in 32 games last year. She led the team in many offensive categories and finished with a respectable .333 batting average. “Kelsey is back home at first base and has reached a comfort level that will allow her to put some great numbers up,” said Enabenter-Omidiji. “We expect both Michelle and Kelsey to have great final seasons.”
Joining Moses in the circle are junior Jessica Iwasaki (Cupertino, CA), sophomore Emily Chaddock (Laguna Niguel, CA), sophomore Kristie Chin (Katy, TX) and newcomers Trish Melvin (Wexford, PA) and Alie Kolbe (Washington, DC). Iwasaki has shown signs of returning back to the form she displayed in a successful freshman campaign. “Jessica will return injury-free this year so I’m positive you will see what a difference being completely healthy will make,” said Enabenter-Omidiji. Chaddock saw action in 12 games in during her first year. “We expect to see Emily make a much bigger contribution because she went back and played travel ball again this past summer – something that she didn’t do in her final season of high school competition before entering Brown,” added Enabenter-Omidiji. Chin brings great poise, accuracy and competitiveness to the pitching staff. “Kristie worked very hard over the summer months to improve every part of her game especially her hitting. She is a great student of the game and we expect her to contribute offensively as well as in the circle. She will be competing for time in the circle, in the outfield as well as at first base. She is one of our most versatile players, in addition to being a great teammate.”
Melvin is coming off a successful high school career where she was a Class “A” All-State Player of the Year in 2008 and was also named the Post-Gazette North Softball Player of the Year hailing from Vincentian Academy. Melvin brings competitiveness and aggressiveness to the circle, and will also see some time in the outfield. The poise and control Kolbe has displayed this fall will help round out Brown’s pitching staff.
A mixture of old and new is what the Brown infield will look like this year. Enabenter-Omidiji is looking to sophomore second baseman Lindsay Rice (Bradford, RI) and Wilson to lead the infield. Rice played and started in all 34 games last season and has worked hard to improve her offensive output. She tallied 76 put outs and had 45 assists, for a .960 fielding percentage. Also expected to play a big role this year is junior Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC). Despite playing just eight games before sustaining a season-ending injury, Asay looks to make a strong return, this year at shortstop. The team certainly missed her offensive contributions last season because when she left the team just three weeks in, her hefty .435 batting average left with it. “Amanda was a candidate for Player of the Year in baseball up in Canada,” said Enabenter-Omidiji. “She brings a wealth of game sense to the team, and we expect her to solidify our infield and contribute a great deal to our offense.”
Complementing Asay on the left side of the infield will be freshman Jackie Giovanniello, (Floral Park, NY) who will hold down the hot corner. The rookie has shown some power and great maturity at the plate.
Handling the pitching staff will be five year letter-winner and two time All-State catcher Sandra Mastrangelo (White Plains, NY). She comes with not only great enthusiasm, aggressiveness and passion, but also swings a pretty good bat ending her high school play with a career .416 batting average.
Enabenter-Omidiji sees improvement in outfield play as a key component to the success of the team. “We worked hard this season to rid ourselves of misplays, and bad judgment,” she noted. The players roaming the green will be led by junior Andrea Browne (Vineland, NJ). Browne saw action in 32 games last year and was one of the team’s most consistent players both on the defensive and offensive end. She ranked third on the team in runs scored, and fourth in batting average.
Joining Browne in the outfield will be newcomers Kate Strobel (Denver, CO) and Elaina Atherton (Sammamish, WA). Strobel will not only be a big help in the outfield, but is also expected to be one of Brown’s top offensive threats. She was an All-State and All-Conference player from Lakewood, CO, and was also named the Rocky Mountain Athlete of the Month (Oct. 2007) with a batting average of .423.
Atherton will solidify the outfield as she brings a good deal of speed to the mix, a strong arm, tracking ability and experience. Atherton hails from Eastlake High School and helped her team to a 2008 Washington State 4A Championship. A Second Team All-Conference honoree in 2006 and 2008, Atherton batted .453 in 2006 and followed it up with a .422 average in 2007.
Also vying for spots in the outfield will be Chin, sophomores Danielle Comissiong (St. Thomas, VI), along with Joanna Schimmel (Oakland, CA), and Melvin. “Danielle (Comissiong) has probably made the greatest offensive and defensive improvement we have seen on this team,” added Enabenter-Omidiji. “She has made our outfield more competitive and she is now more than just a threat on the bases. It’s great to see how a player who was considered strictly a base runner, can pick up her game and take it to a higher level. She epitomizes what Bruno Softball is all about this year!”