LANCASTER, Pa. – Last season saw Franklin & Marshall softball bring home its first Centennial Conference (CC) Championship while claiming the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance. The 2018 team has their sights set just as high.
The Diplomats open the season with 10 games between March 11-16 during the team's spring break trip to Clermont, Fla., beginning with Finlandia and Wisconsin-Stout on Sunday, March 11.
To watch the 2018 F&M softball season preview video, click here.
The Diplomats return the core of their championship squad after losing only two to graduation last year, Megan Ryan '17 and Kelly Van O'Linda '17. Both will be tough to replace offensively as Ryan was a consistent presence in the lineup since her freshman season and Van O'Linda led the 2017 team in runs (24) and stolen bases (6).
F&M returns 12 players, all with in-game experience, while a five-member freshman class looks to make an immediate impact.
To watch a video roster of the 2018 team, click here.
Katie Wenger – Sr.
Izzy Schaefer – Sr.
Erin Russell – Sr.
Sammy Burns – Sr.
Crystal Good - Sr.
Sam Clemens – Jr.
Taylor Long – Jr.
Lexi Piccinich – So.
Wenger and Schaefer return for their senior campaigns on the mound. Schaefer finished last season with a 3.18 ERA, averaging 3.04 strikeouts per game while Wenger maintained a 3.91 ERA and delivered 3.98 strikeouts per game.
Burns returns after a sitting out most of last season due to injury and looks to pick up where she left off after her sophomore season in which she earned All-CC Second Team recognition after leading the Diplomats with a .607 slugging percentage and notching five home runs.
Long is expected to return midway through the season due to injury. Last year, the junior earned All-CC Second Team honors after tying for the third-most home runs in the Conference with four and holding the CC's ninth-best batting average at .359.
Piccinich delivered a strong freshman campaign last season, earning First Team recognition as a designated player after leading the Conference with five home runs. Her 22 RBIs led the Diplomats and ranked seventh in the CC, while her .385 on-base percentage ranked second on the squad and her .469 slugging percentage was third.
Spring Break Preview
Spring break opens on Sunday with two first-time opponents for the Diplomats in Finlandia and Wisconsin-Stout.
Monday's matchups include Stockton, who F&M has never faced, and Framingham St., who defeated the Diplomats 14-12 in 11 innings on March 15, 2008.
On Tuesday, the Diplomats face Hamilton, with F&M holding a 2-1 edge, its last victory coming in 2016. F&M then faces Albright where the Diplomats have an active six-game winning-streak.
Ripon and Becker are slated for Thursday's games for the first-ever meeting with either team.
F&M finishes up spring break on Friday with first-time opponent FDU-Florham, before taking on Lasell with the Diplomats holding a 3-0 overall record and their last win coming in 2015.
CC Preseason Poll
F&M was picked to finish fourth in the CC Preseason poll. Washington College nabbed the top spot with 56 points and four first-place votes, followed by Gettysburg (55 points, two first-place votes), McDaniel (51 points, two first-place votes) and F&M (48 points, one first-place vote).
The Road Ahead
Non-conference play continues after spring break as F&M travels to Penn St.-Harrisburg on March 22.
The Diplomats open CC action at home, hosting McDaniel on Saturday, March 24 – one of four CC doubleheaders that F&M has at home this year.
F&M added a pair of non-conference opponents in Lancaster Bible on Thursday, March 29 and King's (Pa.) on Tuesday, April 10.
CC Championships are slated for May 4-6.
Look for the icon below, which can be accessed at the top-right of the 2018 softball schedule when viewed on your computer, or bottom-left of all schedules on your mobile device.
Kalman Takes the Reigns
Brooke Kalman was named the 10th head coach of F&M's softball program on August 7 of last year, taking over for 10-year head coach Mike Cooperstein.
Kalman spent the 2017 season as head softball coach at Ripon College in Wisconsin. In her first season, she led the Red Hawks to the program's highest win total in the last five years while keeping Ripon in conference playoff contention until the final week of the regular season.
Centennial Conference Digital Network (CCDN)
The Centennial Conference announced a partnership with Stretch Internet to become the conference's digital network provider and establish a central location for all CC athletic events. Broadcasts that are present in the Stretch portal are exclusively produced by each of the 11-member institutions of the conference.
In addition to its Roku channel, the Conference will have three new over-the-top (OTT) applications to make broadcasts available – Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Android TV. Home broadcasts that are produced by all 11 members will be available on CentennialConference.TV and the OTT apps.
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