March 5, 2010

2010 Season Preview


Not many coaches would be distressed about a 35-11 season and trips to both the PSAC and NCAA playoffs. But Bloomsburg University head coach Jan Hutchinson's passion for being the best year in and year out led to some unhappiness with that mark a year ago.

"We didn't finish as well as we would have liked last year," said Hutchinson, now in her 33rd and final season as head coach of the Huskies. "That didn't sit well with the players or our coaching staff and we are going out this year to make sure it doesn't happen again."

"Our goals are the same year in and year out," said Hutchinson. "We take one game at a time and then hope to earn a spot in both the PSAC playoffs and win the PSAC title. Then earn a spot in the NCAA playoffs and from there earn a trip to the national championship finals tournament. Nothing changes in that regard."

Bloomsburg will have plenty of returning veterans along with a very solid group of newcomers to help Hutchinson surpass last year's mark.

"We have 10 returning players on our roster with lots of big-game experience," said Hutchinson. "We are solid defensively and our hitting is good. Plus we have one veteran pitcher and a new-comer, who is also our first-ever lefthander. We are excited about the season as a coaching staff."

PITCHERS

The Huskies will go with a three-person staff this season. Shavuan Fisher has good control and is composed in the circle. Her movement on pitches is good and she has improved as a hitter. She will also see time at first base. Freshman Cait Paine is the school's first-ever lefthanded pitcher and has good mound composure with good velocity. Look for her to also see time at first when not pitching.

In addition to Fisher and Paine, Danielle Lazorka will give the team some innings this season, despite not having pitched since high school.

INFIELD

A veteran infield will take the field for the Huskies in 2010. At first Mandy Leach will share time with pitchers Fisher and Paine. Leach is a great fielder who has a strong arm and quick feet. She has been working hard with the bat and is expected to show more offense this season.

At second, Lazorka and Shen DeBaro will see time. Lazorka, a first team All-PSAC Central selection, has good range and speed. DeBaro has solid hands and has improved as a hitter.

At short, Mandy Koch will get the start. Koch has a quick release and is a very smart player. She is also one of the Huskies' potential power hitters. Behind Koch will be freshman Sinea Gallagher who was an all-state performer in high school.

Handling third base will be Nikki Shiko. The senior has settled into the position and has good hands and quickness. With the bat she was the Huskies' leading hitter a year ago and was second in runs scored. Behind Shiko is Jenna Hampton who has improved her defense and has good power with the bat.

OUTFIELD

Bloomsburg has a veteran group of players in the outfield this season. Casey Massimini can play any of the outfield positions and has great speed and is a aggressive player both on offense and defense. Lori Neyhard, a junior, saw a lot of action in center a year ago and has good speed and is one of the team's top deep ball threats after hitting four home runs a year ago. Emily Young, who had a great post-season, is a lefty with the bat and a potential power threat. Joining that group will be Raychelle Kuhns, a freshman who has a strong arm and runs well.

CATCHER

The Huskies are fortunate to have two solid catchers on the roster in Lacy Mauro and junior college transfer Sam Pientack. Mauro hit .306 a year ago and was second in RBI with 29. She has developed into a very good catcher with a more accurate arm. Pientack is a transfer from Lackawanna College and was a junior college All-American in 2009. At Lackawanna she batted .519 with 21 home runs and 65 RBIs with 31 of her 55 hits goings for extra bases. Pientack ended the season with a 1.217 slugging percentage.

"We are excited about the season and feel the potential is there for us to do well," said Hutchinson. "There is no clear cut favorite in the PSAC this year making for a wide-open field of teams. We look forward to getting things started."