Erin Belles has wrapped up her career with the Cornell University softball team.
She had a standout four years but it could have been better had the injury bug not hit, according to coach Dick Blood.
”Erin’s career was interrupted by a serious hand injury during her sophomore year,” he said. “At the time she was hitting .318 with six homers. And, she rebounded from a knee sprain earlier this year.”
Despite it all, Belles (Dallas) finished with a career batting average of .306 (89-for-290) with 11 doubles, 17 home runs, 36 runs scored and 44 RBI. She also finished in the top 10 at Cornell in career slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
This season, she hit .374 (43-for-115) with six doubles, seven home runs, 14 runs scored and 19 RBI for the Big Red, which finished 21-29 (8-12 in Ivy League play). The average was fourth best in the league.
”Erin was a wonderful teammate and I can give no greater compliment than that,” Blood said. “She was loved and respected by the team. She worked hard to bounce back from her injuries and we appreciate all that she’s done for our program.”
Belles also was outstanding in the class room. She’s been named CoSIDA Academic All-District I and is among three Ivy League players advancing onto the ballot for national Academic All-Academic honors. She carries a 3.46 grade point average in economics.
HONORS FOR MATTHEWS – Freshman Brandon Matthews (Pittston Area) was named Temple Owls Athlete of the Month for April for his play with the men’s golf team.
Matthews earned Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year honors and was selected to the All-Conference first team after he finished second in the league tourney with a three-round total of 209 (71-68-70) and missed medalist honors by just two shots. The Owls finished third.
During the month of April, he averaged 71.92 over 13 rounds (five tournaments) and earned A-10 Rookie of the Week honors four times. He also earned that honor four times during the fall season. He finished in the top seven in all five tournaments and shared medalist honors with a teammate in the Princeton Invitational. He finished with seven rounds under 70 during both the fall and spring seasons with a college career best six-under-par 64 at The McLaughlin last fall in Farmingdale, N.Y. It was the lowest round by an Owl golfer since 1973.
KARNOPP EYES BIG FINISH – Ryan Karnopp (Tunkhannock) has had a strong first season competing in the pole vault for the Moravian men’s track team, but coach Jesse Baumann is hoping for an even bigger effort from his freshman.
Karnopp tied for first place in the recent Landmark Conference Championship, but was awarded second place because it took him longer to clear 14-feet, 6 ¼ inches than junior teammate David Cariello.
”Ryan had a slower start to the season than we anticipated although we’re not quite sure why,” Baumann said. “It’s hard to quantify, but sometimes the adjustment to college takes a year to adapt to.”
But the coaches changed a few things and that has been paying off and Karnopp is reaching new heights.
”Ryan is starting to jump much better,” Baumann said. “He’s been showing signs in practice that he could potentially get up to 15-6 this season which would put him on the cusp of qualifying for the NCAAs.”
The Greyhounds have three more meets before the NCAA Championship (May 23-25) in LaCrosse, Wis.
”Ryan has good speed and is a good vaulter,” Baumann said. “He works as hard as anyone in the gym so we do expect him to be qualifying for the NCAAs before he graduates.”
HAYWARD MAKES THE GRADE – Kendra Hayward (Coughlin) was a walk-on with the Mount St. Mary’s softball team, but this season as a sophomore she saw action in 35 games and hit .226 (12-for-53) with 13 runs. She didn’t make an error, handling 15 chances.
”Kendra is the best natural athlete on the team,” coach Anna Nagro said. “She came in as a walk-on, but quickly found herself earning playing time in the outfield. She has the ability to make hard plays look easy because of her high level of athleticism and her speed.”
Nagro said that Hayward is extremely coachable. That included switching her from a right-handed hitter to a lefty.
”Kendra quickly got comfortable at the plate,” the coach said. “Her approach to the game excites me for the future. I am very eager for Kendra next year. If she stays healthy and is ready to work hard, good things will happen for her. I can see her competing for a starting spot in the outfield next year.”
BRECHER WORKING HARD – Emily Brecher of Mountain Top (Wyoming Seminary) is a member of the Worcester Poly women’s crew team. Competing with the Novice Four, she helped her boat finish fifth in the recent New England Championships.
”Emily brings a tremendous work ethic that assures she will continue to play a competitive role on our team,” coach Jason Steele said. “As a novice, she has worked as hard as many of our experienced rowers and has proven herself an athletic match for many athletes on our team.”
The coach feels that with more time, experience and continued development of technique and power that Brecher will play a significant role with the program, which is one of the top Division III units in the country.
”Success takes time, but based on what I have seen so far in her willingness to train at a high level it is probable that she will work her way onto our top 16 rowers in the upcoming years.”
STASKIEL COMING THROUGH – The PSU-Berks softball team is going to the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time and freshman Abby Staskiel has been a big part of the late-season efforts of the Nittany Lions.
Staskiel (Holy Redeemer) had a two-run double and a single, good for three RBI in an 8-5 victory over Keuka that clinched the team’s first-ever Northeastern Athletic Conference title and a trip to the NCAAs. The team (36-3) will face Lebanon Valley (32-5-1) in the first round of the tournament Thursday in Ithaca, N.Y.
”Abby has a great attitude and is very coachable and this has been directly attributable to her recent success,” coach Francis Keating said. “She was a major contributor down the stretch.”
In her last nine games, Staskiel has 15 hits in 29 at-bats with five runs scored and 10 RBI. She’s also picked up two victories in the circle, one in relief and one as a starter. In 24 games, she is hitting .371 (23-for-62) with six doubles, 13 runs and 20 RBI.
DUO RIDES FOR CAZENOVIA – Sophomore Chelsea DeMeglio (Crestwood) and Karl Carichner (Tunkhannock) are key members of the Cazenovia equestrian team.
DeMeglio earned ribbons at the Cazenovia show and at Delaware Valley and Penn State University, competing in Intercollegiate Dressage.
”Chelsea has been named a co-captain for next year’s team and she will take an active management and leadership role for the team,” coach Ann Fowler said.
Carichner competed in Beginner Horsemanship and had a big effort in a show hosted by the Oswego Equestrian Team in Pittsford, N.Y. He finished first, second and fifth in three showings. Later in the season, he placed first in Intermediate Horsemanship I and went on to qualify for regionals and nationals.
”We are excited about the future of Chelsea and Karl as they progress even further in their riding abilities,” coach Julie Corey said. “They have both developed their riding skills and have come a long way this year.”