RIC Softball Prepares For The Spring

By Brian Buonaiuto


If you thought softball season started in the spring, you would be sadly mistaken. The finished product you see on those warm spring days is the result of the hard work spent on these cool fall afternoons. "The fall season is very important," says head coach Maria Morin. "We like to get our rookies a chance to learn college ball, get used to our system and make that transition from high school to college."


RIC hopes to build on last seasonís success where they finished 27-13 and fifth place in a tough Little East Conference. "I want to climb the ladder in the conference and make the NCAAís," Morin says. "With the maturity of the kids we have here, I think they can handle it."


First baseman Michele Fanelli, a reigning All-Conference selection, has high hopes for the upcoming season. "This team has such potential, such drive. I want to break the wins record we set, and move up in the conference."


Second baseman Caitlin Schimmel knows the importance of fall ball. "It gives the freshmen a chance to get a taste of the competition, rather then throw them in against all the tough opponents we play in the spring." As far as team goals, Schimmel also expects to build on last year. "I want to pick up where we left off, move up in the conference and raise my batting average."


For freshmen, walking onto a successful program can be intimidating. Freshman outfielder Megan Ponte is making the adjustment to the college game. "The practices are more concise but much more intense. When I leave here I feel like I did something."


Ashley Brooks, a freshman infielder, just hopes she can contribute. "I want to help in any way I can. If they need someone to run, hit, play the field, I just want to help us win."


Making the leap from the high school game to college has been made easier by the strong veteran presence on the team. "I think our veterans have done a great job helping the new kids along," says coach Morin. "For a lot of them itís their first time on their own, having to deal with classes, greater expectations. The returning players have done a great deal in making it easier for them."


Assistant coach Ken Stanley sees a lot of promise in this yearís freshmen class "We have some great hitters, some speed which we were lacking last year. My goal for this year is for the team to hit .300."


In her four years here, Fanelli has seen a great improvement in the program and in her own game. This is something not lost on the coaches. "Michele has improved so much as a person and a player in her four years here. Itís great to be a part of that," says coach Stanley.


Fanelli, who has put together a nice resume for herself having been all-conference two years running and named Third-Team All-Region, hopes to leave a mark. "I feel like I have built a reputation for myself. Now I want to leave with a bang."


The Anchorwomen will play a series of games this fall before breaking for the winter. The squad will resume practicing in February with the spring season beginning in March.

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