2019 Season Outlook

For the second time in the recent past the softball program comes under new direction and leadership.  Amanda Fazzari took over as head coach in late summer and worked in securing her roster and preparing for the spring season. Fazzari inherited a team that finished 16-27 overall and 8-14 in the conference a year ago and advanced to the conference tournament. She looks forward to working with the team and moving the program forward.

“This season will be one in which we grew and develop,” said Fazzari. “I believe that we will also be a team that will make others notice our play and our potential. We can be that team that will make a difference.”

“As we look to what we can accomplish this year, we are concentrating on setting standards individually and as a team and then working to consistently meet those standards,” added Fazzari.

The 2019 roster is small with only 15 players of which eight are returning and seven are new to the team. Of the returners only four have significant starting and playing time from a season ago. In addition only four are upper-classmen and one-third of the team is incoming freshmen.

“We are extremely young and inexperienced and will undergo growing pains this season,” commented Fazzari.”However, it will give everyone an opportunity on the field. I am excited about the new look we have and developing the underclassmen to make a difference now and in the future. We have an eagerness to learn and for a new beginning and have bonded a close-knit group. With so many new players we have been able to start new and to work toward a culture in which everyone understands the expectations and standards.”  

Fazzari likes the direction that her young team can take and the potential they have for the future. She is also very confident in her coaching staff and what they bring to the team.  Torey Borkowski, Virginia McAndrews, and Katelyn Sena were all accomplished players and have experience at various levels. They are knowledgeable coaches and understand the conference and will be a big asset to the program.

On the field the Trolls will be inexperience across the board with only a handful of returning position players. The current players will have the opportunity to prove themselves and will be asked to fill various positions as they develop. Coach Fazzari will take time to determine what combinations work best. On the mound the team does return three pitchers and they will provide some stability to that position. The Trolls will have to develop at the plate as they lost their top three hitters from a year ago on a team that posted a .289 batting average.

The leading returning player on the team is senior Dara Megyesi (Washington, Illinois), a three-year starting pitcher. A year ago she led the team with a 3.64 ERA and logged 161.1 innings and ranked fifth in the conference in strike-out per game. Megyesi, who has earned all-conference and NCCAA all-region honors in the past, will be depended on for her leadership and stability. Two other returning players with starting experience are also pitchers. Sophomore Audrey Ricker (Alexandria, Indiana) mainly played second base a year ago, but also recorded 32 innings on the mound. She is also the team’s leading returning hitter with a .316 batting average in her rookie season. She will pitch more innings this year and fill play multiple infield positions. Sophomore Emili Bell (Clinton, Wisconsin) was also a starter a year ago at first base or pitcher.  She threw 64 innings with a 4.48 ERA. She will fill a starting role at those positions again this year.

Also returning to the infield is sophomore Brandi Machado (Chino, California), who started games at catcher or was the designated hitter last season. She will be behind the plate this year and will also be called on for her hitting with a .295 batting average of a year ago. Junior Claudia Pareja (Miami, Florida) played in six games last year in her first season with the team. She can help out in the catcher’s position as well in the infield. Sophomore Jessica Cachu (Pomona, California) also returns with starts at catcher, second base, or pinch runner.

The majority of the infield positions will be occupied by new players that have the ability to step in and make a difference. Sydni Mitchell (Oswego, Illinois) can play any number of positions, but will mainly played third base or fill in behind the plate. She will also factor into the batting line-up and can give the lift there. Freshman Katie Demas (Indianapolis, Indiana) will take over the starting position at short stop. Freshman Alissa Gardenal (Walnut Creek, California) is also a potential starter at second base. Freshman Alix Mendoza (Westmont, Illinois) can fill in some innings as pitcher as needed.

The outfield positions are vacant of starting players from a year ago. There will be a variety of players that will take over those positions. Senior Jessica Boyd (Braidwood, Illinois) is in her second season with the team and played in 20 games last season. Sophomore Makayla Otto (New Lenox, Illinois) played in 26 games a year ago and saw some time in right field. Sophomore Leah Sweetman (Fremont, Michigan) is another returner that can find time in the outfield. The newcomers who will also be vying for position in the outfield are junior Katie Price (Channahon, Illinois), a transfer from Joliet Junior College where she played for two seasons, and freshman Ahliza Moore (Fishers, Indiana).

The Trolls open their season with 10 games PFX Spring Games in Florida during spring break in the first week of March.  In mid-March they have two non-conference double-headers, including their home opener on March 15 against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, a NCAA Division II program. The team begins their conference schedule on March 22 at home against Olivet Nazarene University. The CCAC schedule consists of 22 games, which take place as 11 double-headers. The top eight conference teams at the end of the regular season will advance to the CCAC Tournament on May 2-4.