SCC Sports Information
The St. Catharine College softball team ended its junior college status with a bang last year with a regional title and a trip to the national tournament, where they finished in the Elite Eight. Holly Smith, in her fifth year as head coach of the Patriots, sees no reason to not repeat such success with nearly all of her starting lineup returning.
“We are making a big jump by going into the NAIA and the Mid-South Conference,” said Smith, “but I think we can be competitive. I realize, though, that it is a very tough conference.”
Smith’s familiarity with the Mid-South goes back to her playing days at Lindsey Wilson College. Following that, as coach of the junior college program at St. Catharine, she often played the JV teams from the conference.
“Many of those games we played were actually against many of their varsity players, so we kind of know where we stand,” added Smith.
Where the Patriots stand after four games this season is at 2-2. After losing both games at Bellarmine on the season’s opening day, they evened their record by sweeping a twin bill at Alice Lloyd on Saturday (see summaries below).
Pitching should be just one of the team’s strengths this year as sophomore Amber Matteoli returns after turning in a strong freshman season. Added to the mound corps will be junior Shay Mangan, who sat out last season after exhausting her junior college eligibility.
They will be throwing to junior catcher Mary Kate Hayes who was behind the plate for nearly every game last season. In the infield the Patriots look strong up the middle as juniors Megan Cheuvront and Casey Crouch return at second base and shortstop respectively.
On the corners will be sophomore third baseman Jessica Ricketts, who played outfield last year, and first baseman Justine Paddock, who was at third base last season. Sophomore Candace Harlan can fill in at either of the corner spots. There will be new faces in the outfield as a trio of freshman look to log much playing time. Kasie Prather will be in center flanked by Jackie Schuler in left and Brooke Thompson in right.
The depth of this year’s squad also is improved as last year the Patriots finished with only nine players on the roster. “We will have 18 players this year which will be great after struggling with injuries last season,” Smith said.
Adding even more to the depth is the versatility of many of the players that Smith brought in this season. Laura Mattingly, from Marion County, and Nicole Mills from Southern High School are both utility players who can help anywhere on the diamond according to Smith. Devin Gore and Amber Ross, two more Southern products, will shore up the middle infield positions and Erica Hector, also from Southern, will see playing time in the outfield.
Other freshmen vying for playing time include Katelin Mulloy (pitcher/outfielder), Candace Harlan (first base/third base), Gerina Steele (third base) and Emily Bucklew (infield).
“We have a good mixture of experience and young players, many of which will be very good in the years to come,” concluded Smith.
In Tuesday’s season opening doubleheader played at Bellarmine, the Patriots fell 3-0 and 10-2. The Knights (2-2) scored single runs in the first, third and sixth innings to win game one. Matteoli took the loss, allowing two runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Mulloy gave up one run in relief on one hit. Cheuvront and Paddock each had two hits as the Patriots had five hits for the game.
In the second game the Knights exploded for seven first-inning runs off Mangan and won 10-2 in five innings. “Shay had a rough start but really settled down after the first inning. Following that the game was basically even.”
Cheuvront and Hayes had the only two hits for the Patriots.
Saturday at Alice Lloyd College the Patriots notched the first wins for the school in NAIA competition with victories of 12-1 and 11-4.
“We had two very well- played games today,” said Smith after her team evened its record. “I saw a lot of leadership out of my upperclassmen today. Cheuvront has been an excellent leadoff hitter thus far, going 4 for 4 with a walk today. Matteoli pitched very well, setting a career high with 12 strikeouts. Mangan also pitched very well and also hit the first NAIA home run. Even though we used two completely different line-ups for the two games, our bats were really working in each of them. I thought everyone played well, but I was very impressed with the freshman class.
All of this shows great things for the future of St. Catharine College softball.”
The Patriots were rained/snowed out of Sunday’s scheduled game at Union College, but will make that game up today. Thursday they play at Asbury, and Saturday they will have their home opener against Brescia University starting at 2 p.m. Another home doubleheader against Alice Lloyd is Tuesday starting at 2 p.m.