In 2011, the LIU Post softball team fought its way to 9th in the nation, making it all the way to the NCAA Division II World Series at Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia. In 2012, the team is looking to continue its drive.
“Our biggest goal is to get back to the National Tournament,” said head coach Jamie Apicella. “But we understand that our short terms goals are the important steps to even allow us that opportunity.”
The team began its season at 2-1 after opening its season with two wins over St. Cloud State University and Ferris State University at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. on March 4th.
After winning the 2011 National Fastpitch Coaches Association East Region Coaching Staff of the Year award, Apicella said that his staff is especially excited for this season. “I like the depth we have at each position, and I feel we are much more athletic than last year,” he said. “On paper, this is the most talented team I have coached in my 14 years.”
After losing a couple of key players last season, the Pioneers are returning with what Apicella hopes will be more than enough to fill in any gaps. In addition to proven talents, like Nicole Hagenah, a 2011 1st team All-American, and Kendall Bright, 3rd team All-American last season, freshman Megan Salcido is an outstanding pitcher from California. In high school, Salcido led the San Diego area in ERA with a 0.99 earned run average. “She will be the ace of the pitching staff,” said the 14th year head coach.
The Pioneers have also acquired a pair of transfers over the offseason. Liz Weber, a transfer from LeMoyne, is expected to help the team both on the mound and at the plate. As a freshman at LeMoyne, Weber was named to both the Northeast-10 First Team and the All-Rookie Team, and in high school, her awards included all-state, all-Long Island, All-American, and New York State Player of the Year. The other major transfer, Alexis Gonzalez, a sophomore who spent her rookie season at Siena College “will solidify 3B and be an immediate power threat in the middle of our line-up,” said Apicella.
As the season begins, the Pioneers are looking forward to what they hope will be a great season. “We treat every game the same, and we expect to win every time we step on the field,” Apicella said. The Pioneers will play the first 10 games of their season at the Rebel Games before returning home to play their home opener at 2:30 p.m. on March 15th, against Dominican College.