The Shepherd University Softball team will begin the 2013 season on Feb. 15 when they travel to Raleigh, N.C., for Shaw Tournament. The team completed last season with an overall record of 31-24 and finished the regular season ranked fourth; however, they were eliminated early from the postseason after losing in the first day of the WVIAC tournament.
Despite this success from last season, the Rams are looking to make more improvements and advance deeper into this year’s WVIAC tournament. It was announced on Jan. 24 that the Shepherd softball team was selected to finish fourth in the 2013 WVIAC Softball Coaches’ Preseason Poll. West Virginia Wesleyan is the favorite to capture this season’s WVIAC championship after winning it the previous five years in a row.
Shepherd is considered by many to be a serious championship contender with many on last year’s roster returning for this season. Sophomore outfielder Tayler Schaefer and senior outfielder Bianca Biondillo are two players at the core of this roster that the Rams will be relying on throughout the season. Schaefer had a team-best .321 batting average and hammered out 51 hits while driving in 30 runs last season. Her exceptional performance last year earned her second team all-league honors.
Biondillo, one of two seniors on the team, was an honorable mention all-conference selection after having 51 hits, scoring 31 runs and driving in 25 last season. Finally, the team’s other senior, Tiffany Biggs, will return to pitch for the Rams after appearing in 29 games and gaining second team All-WIVAC honors last season. She posted a 16-9 mark and a 2.49 ERA is last year’s campaign.
It was announced in August of last year by head coach Leslie Lopez that Danielle Easton would be the newest addition to the team’s coaching staff. She is replacing Jess Detrick, who left the team last year to pursue other career interests. Easton is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania where she started at third base and catcher for the school’s softball team all four years. Her career at Cal was one of success and she earned many accolades on and off the softball field, including being a NFCA scholar athlete and a three-time First Team All-PSAC West selection. In addition, she gained a First Team NFCA All-Region selection in 2010. Easton spent last year as an assistant coach at Washington & Jefferson College.