PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - The University of Maine at Presque Isle softball team opened its spring season on the road at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the beginning of March; the Lady Owls comprised a solid 3-6 showing in the first games on the field. "We played some great competition and were able to be competitive, which will help us tremendously in the long run, commented Head Coach Terry Cummings following the team's return to campus. "We feel very confident as we prepare for Sunrise Conference play."
In the earlier part of the season, the Owls battled against a very strong Maine Maritime Academy team and we were able to get a split on the day. We won the first game 6-5 in extra innings and then lost the next game 6-1. "We had some fine pitching performances turned in from freshman hurler Krista Coffin in the first game and then junior Emily Moore in the second game," stated Cummings. "Maine Maritime Academy has been picked to finish 2nd in the NAC this year so that was a quality win"
The Lady Owls are led by co-captains, and twin sisters Brittany and Danielle Humphrey of New Gloucester, Maine. Both student-athletes have shown tremendous leadership over their four years at the University, achieving success both on the field and in the classroom. Brittany, an outstanding player at shortstop for UMPI, has started all four years has averaged better than a .400 batting average each of the past two seasons. Danielle is the primary catcher for the Owls, usually seeing action behind the mound in every inning of every game. Danielle is a tremendous presence and leader on the field for her team. The other senior on the team is Megan Korhonen from Littleton, Maine. Megan is a four year volleyball and basketball student-athlete standout at UMPI, who wanted to end her playing career with a season on the softball diamond and is playing softball for the first time in college this year. She and junior Cassie Green (Truro, NS) will split time at first base.
Cassie does a great job at the plate as she sometimes bats clean-up for the Owls. Green also continues to improve as a solid first baseman. Returning as the starting second baseman is junior Kathleen Higgins (Cole Harbour, NS). Kathleen came up with some big plays on the team's recent spring trip; Higgins, along with B. Humphrey at shortstop, will team up to create a tough force in the center infield. Junior Desiree Smith (Thomaston, ME)returns to anchor the hot corner as the team's starting third baseman. Desiree is the Owl's lead-off hitter and her tremendous athleticism and speed creates havoc for opposing defensives.
Returning for her second season as the starting leftfielder is sophomore Lainey Herring (Houlton, ME). Lainey bats in the second spot for UMPI; she is quick along the base route and has a lot of power from the plate. Herring is a very talented player and a great asset to the Lady Owls. In centerfield, UMPI starts local sophomore Kellie Peers (Caswell, ME);Peers plays great defense and saves a lot of runs from scoring. So far in the season, Kellie has made several unbelievable catches and on the offensive end, has come up with some clutch hits in the closing innings of play. Junior Carolynn Tuck (Brewer, ME) is the solid presence and starter in right field. Carolyn has made enormous strides and plays with tremendous amounts of confidence both on the defensive and offensive end.
The pitching is made up and anchored by freshman Krista Coffin (Presque Isle, ME) and junior Emily Moore (Lisbon, ME). Both continue to pitch very well for the Lady Owls, as each has earned recent shutout wins. They have solid speed and good location, not walking many batters.
Seeing time at both second base and on the mound is freshman Ashley Pennartz (Birch Harbor, ME). Ashley is a talented softball player; as she gains more experience through the season at the collegiate level, she will grow into a valuable addition to the Owls. Also seeing time at second base will be junior Emily Staples (Trenton, ME). Emily has already made some great plays on the season and continues to get better with each passing game. First-year player, Kallie Pelletier (Madawaska, ME), will add relief at third base, outfield, and the mound. As a very athletic player, Kallie can play anywhere on the field, which gives her team many options. Another first-year player, LeAnn Abbott (Sumner, ME),will see time in the outfield for the UMPI squad. A strong addition to the Lady Owls this year is freshman Jen Ouellette (Van Buren, ME); Jen is a natural athlete and will develop into a very good player for UMPI as she acquires more experience on the team. Rounding out the roster is freshman Jasmine Cote (Limestone, ME) who will see action both in the outfield and on the mound. As Jasmine continues to gain confidence, she will become a key contributor for her Owl team.
"This is a great team to coach," commented Head Coach Cummings, "they are very close-knit group and are hungry to win. If we play to our potential, I feel we have a good shot to win the Sunrise Conference this season, which is our ultimate goal."
The Owls are coming off a four victory weekend against Fisher College in their opening campaign in Sunrise Conference play on the season. The team is currently 8-9 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
UMPI returns to action on Saturday, April 16th and Sunday, April 17th as the team heads to Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center to take on the Green Knights in a two-day doubleheader match-up.