Cardinals Out for NESCAC Playoff Berth and Beyond in 2012 Behind Solid Blend of Vets and Newcomers

Returning 13 letterwinners, including eight starters, the Wesleyan softball team is poised and ready to return to the NESCAC tournament in 2012.  Led by co-captains Dana Levy ’12 (#10, photo insert lower right) and Chrissy Bello ’12 (#4, main photo), the Cardinals have a mix of veteran and rookie talent that could take them far into the post-season.  Wesleyan opens the season March 14 at the National Training Center Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. with a 14-game slate, including games against regional opponents Bowdoin, Babson, and Wellesley.  Upon their return from the Sunshine State, the Cardinals kick off their northern schedule against NESCAC-West opponent Hamilton March 30.

Pitching should be a strength for the Cardinals as they return their top three hurlers from last year in Levy, Laura Getchell ’14 and Caitlyn Grudzinski ’13.  First-year Haylle Reidy ’15 will add depth and provide valuable innings to the pitching staff.

The Cardinals could field an all-senior infield this year with Bello moving from the outfield to first base.  She joins returning starters Sam Epstein ’12 at second base, Levy at shortstop and Alexis Kral ’12 at third base.  Also vying for time in the infield are first basemen Alex Sarkowsky ’14 and Jess Shevins ’14, second basemen Amy Lindland ’14 and Gigi Olson ’15, shortstops Marissa Davila ’14 and Julia Reed ’15, and third baseman Lexi Parr ’15.  First baseman Matti Peters ’13, currently out with a foot injury, hopes to return to the lineup after spring break.

Behind the plate, Ashley McLaren ’13 looks to return after a year off because of foot surgery.  Allee Beatty ’13, last year’s starting catcher, and Parr will provide solid backup.

Freed up from catching duties, Beatty will again roam centerfield where she played as a freshman.  Tori Redding ’13 and Lindland both started in the outfield last year and will be challenged for playing time by Jill Gately ’15.

At the plate, the Cardinals will be led by the Class of 2012.  For their careers, they hold a .331 batting average and have a combined 30 homeruns and 253 RBI.  Bello broke the single-season RBI record last year (40) and was honored for her excellence at the plate by being named third-team all-New England.  Leadoff hitter Beatty, who was named second-team all-NESCAC and third-team all-New England in 2011, will again be looked upon to get the offense started and make things happen on the bases.