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SOFTBALL NOTEBOOK: Witten and Shirk Join Coaching Staff; Retrievers Release Schedule, Name Captains
BALTIMORE—UMBC head softball coach Joe French announced recently that former assistant coach Davie Witten will rejoin the Retriever coaching staff, while four-year standout Kali Shirk will also move into the dugout as an undergraduate assistant.
Witten spent three seasons as the Retrievers’ first base coach from 2005-07, during which time UMBC compiled a 104-69 record, but he retired at the end of the 2007 season so that he could see more of his daughter Kristi’s softball games at Lake City Community College in Florida.
“Dave has brought a wealth of ASA and high school experience to UMBC,” French said. “He has helped make us a better ball club in his time here, and we’re glad he’s back.”
Shirk was a two-time team co-captain and team MVP who capped her brilliant career with a 2008 America East All-Conference First Team nod after hitting .296 with five home runs, 30 runs scored and 21 steals. A career .310 hitter, she is one of just seven Retrievers ever to collect 200 hits (213) and one of just 11 to play in at least 200 games. In addition, she ranks second all-time in UMBC history with 92 career stolen bases and third with 151 runs scored.
A versatile defender, Shirk could play anywhere on the field, but spent most of her time in center field or behind the plate. As the Retrievers’ top catcher last season, she threw out a league-best 20 would-be base stealers.
Shirk also earned All-Conference Second-Team and All-Rookie Team honors as a freshman in 2005, and she was recognized on the America East All-Academic Team in each of her last three seasons.
“Kali is a role model student-athlete and a great leader,” French said. “Nobody plays the game harder than she does, and we’re thrilled to have her on board.”
Retrievers Announce 2009 Schedule: French also recently announced the Retrievers’ 2009 schedule, which includes five tournaments and games against a number of local rivals. The season begins Feb. 20-22 at the South Carolina Upstate Spartan Classic in
UMBC will face the
The Retrievers will host three straight tournaments, beginning with the Fifth Annual UMBC Dawg Pound Tournament (March 6-8) with Fairleigh Dickinson, Marist, Drexel and Seton Hall. The next week is the three-team UMBC Retriever Classic (March 14-15) with two games each against Hampton and Marist, followed by the Seventh Annual UMBC Spring Classic (March 20-22) with
Highlights of the schedule include games against regional rivals George Washington (Feb. 24,
America East Conference play begins March 28-29 with a three-game home series against
The Retrievers will look for their fourth straight trip to the four-team America East Championships, which are May 7-9 at the home field of the No. 1 seed.
Retrievers Name Captains: Junior pitcher/first baseman Amanda Fefel (
Fefel earned America East All-Conference First-Team nods last season after batting .331 with seven home runs and 33 RBI. Vetock started 49 games in 2008, her first season in black and gold, and finished the season strong, hitting .316 over her final eight games with an at-bat.
Page Garners Top Honor: Junior catcher Amanda Page (
“Amanda Page will go down as one of the best catchers ever at UMBC, and we’ve had many great ones,” French said. “She has all the tools offensively and defensively, and she brings great leadership.”
The NFCA and Diamond Sports present the award annually to the top catcher from NFCA member schools in 10 divisions, including NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA Divisions I, II and III, Cal JC, NWAACC and high school.
Clinic Rescheduled: The UMBC softball clinic originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 26, has been canceled and will be made up on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. The winter clinic will be held in the