SMC SOFTBALL: Belles look to start season fresh with new coach
By PAT LEONARD
The Saint Mary's softball team will travel to Fort Myers, Fla. this week to play 11 games in four days beginning Sunday, March 9.
Behind first-year coach Anna Welsh, the Belles will open the season away in hopes of growing accustomed to each other and to the new staff.
Last year, the Belles went 4-4 on the trip, defeating Drew University, 4-0, Salve Regina University, 4-2 and Bentley University, 4-0 and 8-2, respectively.
Only Salve Regina and Transylvania University return to the Belles' schedule from last year.
Welsh, a two-sport athlete at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois and an NCAA All-American in softball, joins Saint Mary's with a unique coaching style and a confident attitude.
Welsh will not have much help from upperclassmen, either. Only one senior returns to the Belles' squad, catcher Susan Kutz. Libby Wilhelmy, Kate Sajewich, Katie Amick and Bridget Grall will anchor the Belles pitching staff. Amick will be a key team member, as she is the only player for the Belles who bats left-handed. Welsh could use her in key hitting situations.
The roster includes nine freshmen, no sophomores, five juniors and Kutz. Freshman third baseman Meghan Marenkowic will probably start for the Belles and numerous other freshmen will start or split time with juniors.
Welsh, who also first got into coaching by becoming the student assistant coach her senior year at Olivet Nazarene, has since coached at Nazarene, Notre Dame and Bethel College summer softball camps. Assistants Don Miller and John Antonucci hope to help Welsh develop a young but solid core of softball players into a competitive MIAA program.
All Sports Stories for Friday, March 7, 2003