The Case Western Reserve University softball team will get its 2017 season started this weekend, when the Spartans travel to Virginia Beach, Virginia for the annual Beach Blast Tournament, hosted by Virginia Wesleyan College, from Friday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 4th.
The Spartans are scheduled to play Western Connecticut State on Friday at 12:00 p.m. followed by a 2:00 p.m. game against host and 11th-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College. On Saturday, CWRU will play Rutgers University-Camden at 12:00 p.m. followed by a 2:00 p.m. matchup against Randolph-Macon College.
A live stats link for the game against Virginia Wesleyan on Friday at 2:00 p.m. will be posted to the CWRU softball schedule page as soon as it is made available.
*There will be no live stats or video coverage for the games against Western Connecticut, Rutgers-Camden and Randolph-Macon*
The Spartans will open their 2017 season on Friday, following a 21-19 finish to the 2016 campaign. CWRU is slated to return seven players from last year's team, six of which have significant starting experience.
The Spartans are guided by Head Coach Josie Henry, who is starting her seventh season with the program. She has tallied a career record of 147-98 for a .600 winning percentage, while helping to lead the team to the UAA Championship in 2014. Henry is assisted by Shannel Blackshear and Ashley Parello.
Western Connecticut Colonials
Western Connecticut finished the 2016 season with a 23-19 record after capturing the Little East Conference title and a NCAA Regional berth a season ago. Western lost six seniors to graduation but junior Jenna Gaudioso will be a force in the lineup as she is coming off a season where she hit .336.
Western Connecticut is led by Heather Stone in her 11th season.
#11 Virginia Wesleyan Marlins
The Marlins have opened the season with a record of 10-0 after defeating Sweet Briar in a doubleheader on Wednesday. Amanda Archer led the Marlins for the day going 6-for-7 with 11 RBI and three home runs.
The Marlins are under the leadership of Brandon Elliot who is in his 10th season with the program. He is assisted by James Inzana, Jim Quinn and Josh Freeman.
Rutgers-Camden is also set to open their season on Friday against Fredonia. The Raptors finished the 2016 season with a 21-19 record, while batting .276 as a team with a 2.32 ERA.
Rutgers-Camden is led by Michelle Schlichtig-Hastings in her third season. She is assisted by Ray Hastings, Mark Schlichtig and Brandon Whittington.
Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets
The Yellow Jackets have opened the season with a record of 4-0 after defeating TCNJ in a doubleheader last Sunday. Randolph-Macon will have a doubleheader against Eastern University on Thursday, March 2nd before they head to the Beach Blast.
The Yellow Jackets are under the leadership of Kevin Proffitt who is in his 14th season with the program. He is assisted by Amanda Sopko, Chip Bailey, Dana Wood and Megan Smith.
This weekend's games will be the first ever between the Spartans and the teams they are scheduled to play.
During 2016, the Spartans recorded a 21-19 record, which included ending last season on a four-game winning streak…After earning All-UAA Second Team honors, the Spartans return senior Annie Wennerberg and junior Grace Tritchler this season…Last season, CWRU was defeated by William Peace (12-8) in their season-opener…Junior Katie Wede led the Spartans last season in hits (47) runs scored (36) and tied the school's single-season record with 22 stolen bases…The Spartans hits .317 as a team…With 100 runs batted in, Annie Wennerberg is just 36 shy of the program record (136).