Coming off back-to-back seasons with over 30 wins, the 2006 Providence College softball team will aim for a third consecutive season with 30 or more victories for only the third time in school history. With the arrival of six newcomers and the return of nine veterans from last season's squad that posted a 33-20 record and a 5-13 mark in the BIG EAST, the 2006 Friars will look to make some noise in the new 12-team BIG EAST Conference.
Led by one of PC's all-time best pitchers, Nicole Bartholomew (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), the Friars finished last season ranked fourth in the BIG EAST in pitching, posting a 1.92 earned run average. Despite not having Nicole Bartholomew because of graduation, the Friars have three players who will solidify the pitching position.
Sara Surosky (Elmira, N.Y.) enters her third year at Providence after a strong sophomore season. Surosky led all Friar pitchers with a 1.74 ERA in 92.2 innings of action. In addition, she posted an 8-7 record, three shutouts and 92 strikeouts. The Friars also will look to freshmen Alisha Levin (Fort Campbell, Ky.) and Jennifer Maccio (Huntington Station, N.Y.). Levin is expected to see many innings on the mound. She finished her impressive career at Fort Campbell High School with a record 639 strikeouts. In addition, she had one perfect game and six no-hitters. Maccio will split time on the mound and the infield. Last season, she pitched a perfect game for Whitman High School.
The Friars will have plenty of depth at the catching position as three players will see time behind the plate. Senior Elena Romero (Chula Vista, Calif.) saw most of the action behind the dish last season. She played in all 53 games (46 as a catcher) and posted a .271 batting average with four home runs and 16 runs batted in. As one of four seniors on the team, Romero will provide strong leadership for the Friars.
Classmate Michelle Willette (Moorpark, Calif.) is another versatile infielder, who will see time behind the plate. Willette, who has strong leadership skills, played in 51 games (two as a catcher) and posted a .302 batting average with nine home runs and 33 RBI. Willette will provide power to the PC lineup.
Junior utility player Rachel Bartholomew (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), who played in all 53 games last season, also will bring a strong, consistent bat to the PC lineup. Bartholomew finished tied with Willette last season with nine home runs and led the squad in RBI (34) and slugging percentage (.544). Bartholomew saw much action in the outfield last season, but this season she also will see time as a catcher. Freshman Erin Moran (Wilbraham, Mass.) will add more depth to the catching position.
In addition to playing the catching position, seniors Michelle Willette and Elena Romero will play prominent roles in the infield. Last season, Willette played 43 games at third base, while Romero saw action at shortstop. Sam Pittman (San Diego, Calif.) saw limited time in the field last season, but is slated to see an increase in playing time, primarily at second base. Pittman played in 53 games last season and provided consistency with her bat. She batted .270 with three home runs and 28 RBI.
Senior Tara Sullivan (Tualatin, Ore.) will look to make the most out of her senior year in 2006. She will split time between first base and the outfield. Junior Caroline Santilli (Westwood, Mass.), who provided speed to the Friar lineup last season, will look to do the same in 2006. She played in 37 games last season.
Freshman Mary Sheehy (Woodbridge, Conn.) is a utility player, who will see action at first and third base. Sheehy was a consistent hitter for the Friars this past fall and will look to carry on that consistency this spring. She finished her senior year at Lauralton Hall with a .534 batting average. Jennifer Maccio is another player, who will see action at either corner in addition to her pitching duties. Freshman Lindsey Arria (Hanover, Mass.) rounds out the infield. Arria will play mostly in the middle infield. While playing for Hanover High School last season, Arria recorded a .604 batting average and an impressive .842 on-base percentage.
Senior Michele Bowers (Staten Island, N.Y.), who also is one of the team's leaders, will patrol the outfield this season. Bowers enjoyed a career year in 2005 as she played in all 53 games and improved in all offensive categories.
The versatile Rachel Bartholomew also will see action in the outfield this season. Bartholomew played 49 games in the outfield last season and recorded 32 putouts and one assist. Freshman Gina Rossi (Bakersfield, Calif.) will provide an impact role for the Friars this season. At the plate, Rossi will be vying for a lead-off spot in the batting order. Junior Katie Ross (Middleboro, Mass.) rounds out the outfield. She played in five games last season and will add strength and speed to the outfield this season.
Under the tutelage of Head Coach Kerri Jacklets, the Friars will look to compile another 30-win season as they welcome six newcomers and return nine veterans from last season's team, including four seniors. PC will begin its season on March 5 at the Rebel Spring Games in Ocoee, Fla.