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Softball Season Preview

First Team All-NESCAC selection Stacia Saniuk will lead the Bobcats in 2009.

The Bates College softball team is loaded with new faces this season. With a roster of 17 players, only seven players return from last season while the team welcomes ten new first-year players. Senior co-captain and First Team All-NESCAC selection last season, Stacia Saniuk (Sharon, Mass.) will lead the Bobcats offense this season after leading the team in nearly every offensive category in 2008. Fellow senior co-captain, Christina Knobel (Walpole, Mass.) will head a young pitching staff with sophomore Sarah Cullen (Dover, Mass.) returning to the mound this season and newcomer Kirstin Finn (Winthrop, Mass.) expected to make an immediate impact on the staff.

The Bobcats infield will be anchored by senior Val Beckwith (Wouburn, Mass.) at first base. Beckwith was the second leading hitter on the team last season behind Saniuk finishing the year with a .321 batting average. Also returning to the infield will be junior Jean McIntyre (Marshfield, Mass.). Last season, McIntyre saw most of her time behind the plate, but this season she makes the shift to primarily second base. A talented duo of first-years Kelsey Flaherty (South Portland, Maine) and Kelly McManus (Plymouth, N.H.) will each earn some time at shortstop. At third base, first-years Monica Berube (Plaistow, N.H.) and Saniuk as well as first-year Libby King (South Portland, Maine) will compete for time. Berube will also see some time behind the plate as the back-up catcher to first-year Leah Maciejewski (Tewksbury, Mass.).

The outfield is also chalk full of first-years with classmates Karen Ullmann (Ramsey, N.J.) and Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) earning time in left field and center field respectively. Also, competing for outfield positions are sophomore Jacquie Macdonald (Milton, Mass.) and first-years Katherine Buckley (Middlebury, Conn.) and Vanessa Truglio (New Britain, Conn.). Senior Leah Citrin (Rye Brook, N.Y.) will see quality time in right field. Citrin returns this season after recording the second most RBI’s on the team last season behind Saniuk.

While the Bobcats are especially young this season, the combination of returning experience and new talent bode well for a much-improved 2009 season. The Bates College softball team will look to compete fiercely in the always-competitive NESCAC East Division as they make a run for the NESCAC Championship.