BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College softball team is set to begin its 2019 campaign on Sunday, March 3 with the first two of 10 games at the PFX Spring Games at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida as the Greyhounds open with Thiel College at 1:45 p.m. on March 3 before facing John Carroll (Ohio) University at 4:00 p.m.
Head Coach John Byrne enters his 26th season leading the Greyhounds with 14 letterwinners and six starters from last year's 36-8 team that captured a Landmark Conference title and NCAA Regional Championship while participating in the program's 24th consecutive postseason appearance.
Leading the group of returners is senior outfielder Kat Spilman, who was the Landmark Conference Co-Player of the Year last spring after hitting .439 with 58 hits, 39 runs, 10 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 37 RBIs and 21 walks. Joining Spilman as returning All-Conference players are senior third baseman Madison Shaneberger, junior utility player Lauren Goetz and sophomore catcher/outfielder Brooke Wehr, who were on the First Team with Spilman and sophomore second baseman Shannon Brogan, who earned Second Team honors last spring.
Shaneberger hit .328 a year ago with 41 hits, 21 runs, 10 doubles, two home runs and 28 RBIs while Goetz added a .309 average with 21 hits, 13 runs, five doubles, two homers and 17 RBIs before an injury sidelined her for the postseason run in May. Wehr, who was selected as a team captain this spring, had a .355 average in her debut season to go with 54 hits, 48 runs, nine doubles, 12 home runs including six to lead off Moravian's first at-bat of a game, 39 RBIs and 13 walks while Brogan contributed a .374 average with 43 hits, 32 runs, seven doubles, two homers, 28 RBIs and 13 walks.
Sophomore infielder Maddisen Bieber returns after starting all 44 games last year when she contributed 32 hits, 21 runs, three doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs. Senior infielder Kaela Kane, junior outfielder Emily Stanilious and senior infielder/outfielder Julia DeMarco have all seen time in the starting line-up throughout their careers and have been selected to Landmark All-Conference teams in previous seasons. Last spring, Kane, who is serving as a team captain for a second straight spring, contributed 22 hits, 15 runs, three doubles and 12 RBIs while DeMarco had 12 hits, 10 runs, two doubles, a triple, a homer and 10 RBIs and Stanilious added nine hits, 16 runs, a double and an RBI.
Senior outfielder Ashley Gindle, who is in her second year as a team captain, has been a key defensive sub late in games throughout her career, and she had nine runs, a hit, a double and two RBIs last spring while sophomore infielder Maura Kane had two hits and an RBI in 2018. Junior outfielder Samantha O'Keefe looks to make an impact in the lineup after an early season injury last year.
Coach Byrne has added 11 freshmen to the squad for this season that will challenge for playing time as the Hounds look for a return to the postseason.
Moravian enters the 2019 season as the favorite in the Landmark Conference Preseason Poll, and the squad was also ranked No. 23 in the NFCA Division III Preseason Top 25 Poll before slipping to No. 24 in the first regular season poll this week.