Buffalo, NY- Softball season is back and the D'Youville College Spartans are looking to build off an impressive third place finish in the AMCC last year. The Spartans have an exciting mix of returning players and new faces, including first year head coach Ona Halladay. "I have had the luxury of inheriting a great group of softball players this year. We have a solid core that will physically put us in a position to win every game we play....This team has the ability to compete at a high level and I am looking forward to seeing that day one on the dirt," said Halladay, who returns 12 members of a team that finished 18-17 last year to go along with six new players.
Last year's pitching was led by sophomore Kalie McHenry (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) who led the conference in strikeouts and innings pitched with 135 and 141, respectively. With 22 appearances as a pitcher, she ended with a 10-13 record and a 2.58 earned run average. She also batted .203 with nine runs batted in, eight runs scored, three doubles, and two home runs. McHenry was named to the AMCC All-Academic Team and the AMCC First Team All-Conference.
There is expected to be no drop off from McHenry when junior Jessica Banning (Amherst, NY/
Amherst) takes the mound. Banning started 13 games as a pitcher last season and pitched 75.2 innings. She had 35 strikeouts and an earned run average of 3.05.
The Spartans also welcome back the 2013 AMCC Newcomer of the Year, MacKenzie Kehlenbeck (Oakfield, NY/Oakfield-Alabama). Playing in all 35 games, Kehlenbeck led the Spartans with a .429 batting average and set a new team single-season record in home runs with a total of seven. She finished second in the conference in home runs and was tied for first in the conference in total bases and triples. Kehlenbeck was named to the AMCC First Team All-Conference as well as being honored as the D'Youville College Female Athlete of the Year and the team's Most Valuable Player.
Among the returning players are three seniors, Shannon Evans (Cheektowaga, NY / East
Aurora), Lisa Petty (North Tonawanda, NY/Mount St. Mary Academy), and Shannon Sutton
(Lykens, PA/ Upper Dauphin). As catcher, Evans played in all 35 games and was tied for the
team lead with nine sacrifice hits. She was named to the AMCC All-Academic Team and was
awarded the team's Spartan Award for her leadership qualities both on and off the field. Petty, who played right field for the Spartans last season, played in 29 games and tied Evans with nine sacrifice hits to go along with her 14 runs scored and three runs batted in. Sutton played in 33 games and batted .283 with 13 runs scored and tied Kehlenbeck with 24 runs batted in.
Other players to watch out for are Lauren DeVantier (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield)
who played in 34 games as a freshman and batted .324 with 18 runs batted in, 14 runs scored, four doubles, and two home runs along with Alison Hall (Cheektowaga, NY / Depew), a two year returning starter who scored 17 runs for the Spartans last season during the 33 games she played. Hall was named to the AMCC All-Academic Team and was voted as the team's Most Improved Player.
This week the Spartans head to Clermont, Florida for ten non-conference games. Coach
Halladay commented on the trip, "We will utilize our Florida trip to fine tune our skills and our
mental game so that we can return home for AMCC play and be at the top of our game." A few days after the Spartans return they will head to Penn State Altoona for their first conference games on Saturday, March 29th at 1pm and 3pm.