WESTON, Mass. – The Regis College softball team will depend on a mix of veterans and newcomers as it enters the 2019 season, starting in Florida during Spring Break before a busy month of action in New England.
Head coach Tara Petrocelli-McGloin enters her second season as the helm of the Pride program after seeing success as head coach at Danvers High School as well as an assistant coach at Merrimack College. Starting this season, she is reunited with Megan Cook, an All-American pitcher at Merrimack who joins the Regis athletics staff as an assistant coach.
The current roster features seven returners and eight newcomers, seven freshmen and a sophomore transfer. After splitting its eight games in South Carolina last March, Regis battled constant schedule and personnel changes during the month of April, eventually falling short of qualifying for the conference tournament.
Kelsey Grimard (Pelham, N.H.), one of three seniors on this year's squad, led the Pride last season with a .415 batting average, 39 hits, and 20 runs. Junior Ellery Rasmussen (Kingston, N.H.) also produced offensively for Regis, batting .351 with 33 hits and 19 runs scored, plus she led the team with four doubles and 16 runs batted in.
Brianna Napoleone (Medford, Mass.) led Regis with 12 walks and was tied for second on the squad with 15 runs batted in, but she will look to produce closer to her 2017 stats, when she batted .323 with 32 hits, including six doubles, and 16 runs batted in. Allie Petillo (West Sayville, N.Y.) is the third senior for the Pride, and the hope is to keep her in the outfield throughout the year after she was pressed into service as a pitcher during the second half of the 2018 season.
Madi McLellan (Fremont, N.H.) started 16 of the first 19 games last year, striking out 79 batters in 92 innings of work, before missing the rest of the season. With three freshmen listed as pitchers on the roster, depth in the circle should not be as much of an issue for the Pride.
For the first time, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) will split into two six-team divisions, the North Division and the South Division. Regis joins Albertus Magnus, Johnson & Wales, Lasell, St. Joseph (Conn.), and Simmons in the South Division and will play a doubleheader against each of those teams as well as against three of the North Division squads (this year, Regis faces Emmanuel, Norwich, and Rivier).
In the annual GNAC Softball Preseason Poll, the Pride finished sixth in the South Division. Four-time defending GNAC Tournament champion Johnson & Wales earned 10 first place votes to finish atop the division with 70 points, followed by Albertus Magnus with the other two first place votes and 51 total points. In a close vote, Suffolk ended up first in the North Division with seven first place votes and 63 points, just ahead of Emmanuel with five first place votes and 59 total points.
For the GNAC Tournament, eight teams will still qualify: the top four from each division. The No. 3 seeds will host their in-division No. 4 seeds in a single-elimination round April 30 prior to the double-elimination portion of the tournament. During the final two days of the 2019 GNAC Tournament on Saturday-Sunday, May 4-5, the South Division No. 1 seed will host.
Regis opens the 2019 season with eight games in Clermont, Fla., playing two games per day March 3-4 and March 6-7. The home opener is scheduled for Sunday, March 24, against Lesley in a doubleheader starting at 12 noon. The Pride begins conference play at Simmons Saturday, April 6, followed by a home doubleheader against St. Joseph (Conn.) the next day.