March 20, 2007
Providence, RI - Although the Brown women's softball team is expecting to go through some growing pains after losing nine players from last years squad, head coach DeeDee Enabenter-Omidiji is certain her team will be ready for the competitive 2007 schedule that the Bears will face this year.
"We expect to go though some growing pains," said Enabenter-Omidiji. "We have a new staff with different ideas and 14 of our 17 players are freshman and sophomores."
Enabenter-Omidiji joins Brown for her first year after spending the last six years at San Jose State. At San Jose State, Enabenter-Omidiji took over a faltering program in July 2000, and had an immediate impact her first season, guiding the Spartans to 26 wins in 2001, the most wins for the program since 1998. Her team continued to thrive, and in 2005, with her first senior class in place, Enabenter-Omidiji's team tied the school record for wins in a season (36), and broke 41 team and individual school records.
In 2006, Enabenter-Omidiji was named the WAC Coach of the Year after leading the Spartans to a second place finish in the conference standings (11-6), the highest finish in the program's history.
Liz Anderson (El Dorado Hills, CA) is the only senior on the Brown squad this year, and will help lead the Bears on and off the field. Talented on both offense and defense, Anderson is asked to do a little bit of everything for her team. Mainly used as a utility player, her athleticism and versatility will put her at multiple positions on the field. Because of her hard work throughout the off-season, Anderson was named one of Brown's team captains. "She really rose to the top during fall workouts," said Enabenter-Omidiji.
Last year, Anderson featured a .204 batting average and played in 24 games while receiving 15 starts. Out of 49 at bats, she had 10 hits, five runs and two doubles. She also hit one homerun and posted four RBIs on the season. The Bears' closed its season with a 20-25 overall record, and finished 5-6 in Ivy League play.
Junior Amy Baxter (Hollister, CA) also returned from last year's team and will be seen behind the plate catching. Named captain this year, Baxter played in 43 games last season and had a team-high six homeruns on the season. She led the team in RBIs with 24, led the team in walks with 20, and had 20 hits on the season. "Amy was named a captain before I arrived," said Enabenter-Omidiji. "She held things together while the team was in transition."
Seven others from last year's squad returned this year, and will help provide leadership to the eight newcomers. Returning are juniors Linnea Anderson (El Dorado Hills, CA), and sophomores Kaitlyn Laabs (Redlands, CA), Kelsey Wilson (Monterey, CA), Kari Best (Corona, CA), Ava Amini (Westlake Village, CA), Michelle Moses (Cooper City, FL) and Kristen Schindler (Caldwell, NJ).
Laabs, who will play outfield for the Bears, had the team's second-best batting average last year with a .312. She played in 33 games and in 93 at bats she scored nine runs, had 29 hits, four doubles, one home run and 14 RBIs. Another player that Enabenter-Omidiji will count on this year will be Wilson. She was not only one of the Bears top pitchers last season, but was also stellar from the plate. Wilson had a.297 batting average and had 41 hits, scored 17 runs, nine doubles and had 14 RBIs.
"I'm very confident in our lineup," said Enabenter-Omidiji. "We have a fair amount of speed and table setters."
Multiple Bears will see time on the mound this season, but Brown will look to sophomores Moses, Wilson and Schindler to get most of the job done. Last year, Moses features an 8-12 record with a 2.76 ERA and 97 strikeouts, while Schindler had a 3-8 record and a 4.03 ERA. Wilson posted the best record, 4-1, with a 2.26 ERA giving up 12 runs in 31 innings pitched.
There are three freshmen that will start for the Bears this season. Whitney Lewis (Irvine, CA) will be Bruno's third baseman, Katie Rothamel (Brentwood, TN) will be at short and Andrea Browne (Vineland, NJ) will be at second base.
Other newcomers include Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC), who will see time at first base while also helping behind the plate, Brittany Lavine (Peoria, AZ) will be in the outfield, and Jessica Iwasaki (Cupertino, CA) will help on the mound. Lastly, sharing time at first will be Kelsey Peterson (Fairfield, VT), and sophomore Kirsten Harvey (Carlsbad, CA) will be in the outfield.
The Bears open its season on March 2 when they play at South Carolina for the Charleston Southern tournament, and then head to Fairfax for the George Mason tournament. The Bears head to California from March 24-28, and will then host a doubleheader against the Princeton Tigers on Saturday, March 31 at noon.