Six to Join UMBC Softball in 2007-08
Baltimore-UMBC softball coach Joe French today announced that six players will join the Retrievers in the fall of 2007.
Headlining the group is Dani Martinez, a junior transfer from Anne Arundel Community College. The native of Glen Burnie, Md., and North County High School alum is a two-time NJCAA All-American and Diamond Catcher of the Year. In 2006, Martinez ranked second in the country with a .567 batting average and added 47 RBI and six home runs. In 2005, her .613 average was also second-best in the nation, and she posted 56 RBI and four home runs. Martinez played travel ball for the Riveria Beach Spirit.
“Dani will add outstanding catching, hitting and leadership to our team,” French said. “She has proven that she can play on the national junior college level, and she will be an impact player in the America East right away. She is a tremendous hitter with outstanding power to all fields.”
Also joining the Retrievers next season is Stephanie Wiegman from Archbishop Spalding High School. The Elkridge, Md., native who plays travel ball for the Riveria Beach Spirit is a power pitcher who throws 63-64 mph, who uses a variety of pitches. She was selected to the All-Metro First Team by The Sun in 2006, when she posted a 12-3 record and a 0.82 ERA with 158 strikeouts in 102 innings. She was also an All-Metro Second Team selection by The Sun in 2004 and 2005.
“Stephanie will round out a quality pitching staff next year and in time will be an impact player in the Mid-Atlantic region and America East Conference,” French said. "We feel she is the best pitcher in the state of Maryland."
Lauren Brummell from Hanover High School in Richmond, Va., can play second base and the outfield and can also pitch. She led her team to a 26-2 record last year and was named to the All-Capital District First Team in 2006. She plays travel ball for the Richmond Rampage.
“Lauren is a left-handed leadoff hitter who can combine the short game with line drive power to all fields,” French said. “She can take over the game with her speed or bat. I am very excited to add Lauren to our lineup. She will be a catalyst igniting our lineup right away.”
Another product of Archbishop Spalding High School, catcher/outfielder Sloane Van Meter is a left-handed hitter who French says is “one of the best position players in the state.” The native of Hanover, Md., was a First Team All-Metro selection as a freshman and junior and a Second Team pick as a sophomore. She made a name for herself as a freshman, hitting .506 with six doubles, seven triples and six home runs. Van Meter also plays for Wagner’s Travel Ball Team, which has played in numerous national tournaments.
“Sloane is a terrific athlete who can hit for average and power and can run, throw and field with anyone,” French said.
Lynn Pronobis, a native of Waldorf, Md., who attends McDonogh School is “one of the best players in Southern Maryland,” French said. A versatile utility player who can play almost any position on the field, Pronobis will likely see the bulk of her playing time at second base and in the outfield. She was a Washington Post Second Team Metro All-Star in 2006 and plays travel ball for the Bayside Blues.
“Lynn has proven that she can compete against quality pitching and quality teams,” French said. “An offensive catalyst, she is always sparking her teams to victory. She is simply a very tough out and is a quality baserunner with great speed.”
Finally, Jennifer Hilchey from Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Md., can play first base, third base and the outfield. She plays travel ball for the New Jersey Intensity Gold.
“Jenn is a player who has improved tremendously over the past year,” French said. “She has a solid glove, a great arm and pop in her bat. She is just starting to peak and excel.”
The six recruits will help replace UMBC’s six current seniors, including America East Player of the Year Melanie Denischuk and fellow First-Team All-Conference selection Reilly Ward.
“We were looking to add pitching, speed, outfield help, catching and good hitting, and we feel we accomplished that in this class,” French said.
The Retrievers had a historic 2006 season, posting their second-best record in school history at 46-20 and setting numerous team records, including hits, runs scored and home runs. They ranked second in the nation in scoring, third in slugging percentage and fifth in batting average.
UMBC opens its 2007 season on Feb. 17 against Quinnipiac in the Longwood Classic in Farmville, Va.