Returning the entire starting infield and outfield from last year's record-achieving 2010 squad, Wesleyan has a solid foundation upon which to pursue a fifth consecutive appearance in the NESCAC tournament. Last year, Wesleyan played in its third title game in a row, this time proving victorious over Bowdoin, 10-1 in five innings, after coming up short vs. Tufts in both 2008 and 2009. Wesleyan made its initial NESCAC playoff showing in 2007. By virtue of their NESCAC crown, the Cardinals qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time, defeating Kean (N.J.) before bowing out of the regional at R.I.C. with losses to Moravian and TCNJ.
While Wesleyan graduated four-time first-team all-NESCAC standout pitcher/infelder Meghan Dendy '10 and three-year starting catcher and NCAA regional all-tournament pick Taylor Zavadsky '10, Wesleyan has plenty of returning talent upon which to rely as well as five newcomers to add punch to the lineup. With team tri-captains Talia Bernstein '11 (#9, photo lower left), Sam Epstein '12 (#11, photo upper left) and Dana Levy '12 (#10, right side photo) leading the way, Wesleyan has a stellar infield. Bernstein has been a fixture at first base since arriving in Middletown, Epstein has been at second base and Levy blossomed as a shortstop/pitcher since transferring from Kenyon a year ago. Alexis Kral '12 returns at third base but might be switched to catcher. The outfield is back intact with Chrissy Bello '12 in left, Allee Beatty '13 in center and Tori Redding '13 in right. Both Bello and Levy were NESCAC first-team honorees a year ago while Bello was all-New England as well.
Three other returnees who will vye for time are catcher Ashley McLaren '13, infielder Matti Peters '13 and pitcher Caitlyn Grudzinski '13. Welcomed newcomers include catcher Alex Sarkowsky '14, pitchers Jess Shevin '14 and Laura Getchell '14, infielder Marissa Davila '14 and utility player Amy Lindland '14.
Reigning NESCAC Coach of the Year Jen Lane will be looking to put the pieces together during the preseason before the team heads to Florida for a 14-game swing in March. Opening with a pair of games Wed., March 9, against Muhlenberg and Medaille, the Cardinals also will take on New England squads Simmons, UMass Boston, Westfield St., New England College and Western New England during the excursion.
The northern schedule inaugurates Sat., March 26 (hopefully) with a double-header at Bates, leading into a series of eight consecutive home games including the opening NESCAC West series of the season vs. Middlebury April 2-3.
(left side photos courtesy of Ron Bernstein P'11)