Thursday, February 5, 2015


     It’s hard to believe that it is softball season in the middle of winter, but it’s just what head coach Holly Smith has been anticipating. Coach Smith is entering her 11th season with the St. Catharine softball program.

     Holly Smith’s squad is coming off an 18-27 record last season and returns 15 players from last year’s squad as well as a fresh crop of 12 freshmen and transfers. The key returnee for the Patriots this season is their ace on the rubber, Krystal Cammuse (Frankfort, Ky.). Cammuse appeared in 25 games last season, including 21 starts on the rubber. She pitched in a team-high 131 innings last season and notched a team best 3.42 ERA. The pitching staff will also welcome back Brittany McKee (Science Hill, Ky.) and Tiffany Wickline (Georgetown, Ky.). The staff will also welcome some newcomers, Elise Mills (Louisville, Ky.) and Amber Wesley (Liberty, Ky.).

     The Patriots will also return the bulk of their defense back from last year’s squad. Ramie Goldey (Lancaster, Ky.) and Kelsey Gravens (Mt. Washington, Ky.) will split time at the catchers spot. Shelbi Thornhill (Hardinsburg, Ky.) will return to first base where she started in 45 games last season. McKee and Cammuse will see time at third base when they aren’t on the rubber. Freshman newcomer Lynsie Clark (Morgantown, Ky.) will also see time at third. At shortstop the Patriots will depend on freshman Katie Hansgen (Louisville, Ky.). The big void in the infield will be at second base that was commanded by Taylor Steff for the past four years. The Patriots will count on senior leader Kelsey Brooks (Bardstown, Ky.) and freshman newcomer Alexis Lewis (Spring, Texas) to fill the void at second base.

     St. Catharine returns two-thirds of their outfield from last season. Starting in leftfield will be split by returnees Tiffany Wickline and Jessie Crouch (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) as well as transfer Christina Day (Paducah, Ky.). Out in straight away center will be senior Brandi Hood (Bardstown, Ky.) who appeared in 45 games last season. Right field will be manned by freshman Carly Benz (Louisville, Ky.). Jessica Burgess (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) and Alexis Lewis could also see time in any of the three outfield positions.

     The Patriots will not only welcome some new faces on the diamond, but also a new face on the coaching staff. Ashley Marinacci joined the Patriots’ coaching staff in August 2014 and the hire has paid immediate dividends, “Ashley has been great so far, she has provided new ideas and she has adapted to the players and vice versa” stated Smith.

     The off season was filled with hard work in preparation for the 2015 season and according to Holly Smith it couldn’t have been better, “We had the best fall I’ve ever had in my time here. We were more aggressive and had a lot more intensity as a whole. Some of that can be attributed to incoming freshman we brought in. Many of them are eager to play, which had put everyone on high alert and made everyone step it up a notch. We saw a lot of things out of many players during our fall games.”

     The Patriots have also been blessed with good weather which has allowed them to practice on the field, “We have been in and out of the gym several times and have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be on the field multiple days now. We’ve done some live hitting and even had the chance to do some intrasquad” said Smith.

     When asked what her team’s strengths would be Smith said, “We have five seniors, four of whom know exactly what to expect from our conference and how to handle things on the field. One of our biggest strengths will be the young players who are pushing to get playing time and trying to outwork and outplay some of the returnees. This has already made us better and that showed in the fall. We have been competing with great intensity in our practices and we hope that it’ll show come game time.”

     Coach Smith also pointed out their weaknesses, “Even with having as many upperclassman as we do we will still have several freshman in our starting lineup. Getting them adjusted and allowing them to figure out how they can contribute will be challenging. I can see this taking some time to get in a groove.”

     They will open their season on the road on Wednesday, February 18th when they take on Union College. They will open their home slate on February 20th when they host Calumet College at 2 PM.