Softball Notebook: Retrievers Ink Five for 2012; Bill Gilbert to Return as Assistant Coach

Bill Gilbert
Bill Gilbert



BALTIMORE—UMBC head softball coach Joe French announced today that five players have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Retrievers for the 2012 season. 

“I am very excited about all of our recruits that will be coming in the fall of 2011,” French said. “It was imperative that we sign a big class. This is a very talented group that has the ability to compete right away in the rugged America East Conference.”


Kayla Margentino is a center fielder/shortstop from Unionville, Conn., who attends Farmington High School and also plays for CT Eliminators Gold. She has batted over .500 in each of her first three seasons atFarmington, including a career-high .550 as a junior, and she is a two-time all-conference selection.


“Kayla is an outstanding player who can really drive the ball with extra-base power,” French said. “She has very good hands and a strong arm.


Kaila Balatgek is a middle infielder from Reading, Pa., who attends Exeter Township High School. She led her conference with six home runs and 11 extra-base hits as a sophomore in 2009, and she is a two-time all-division honoree.


“Kaila is one of the best shortstops in the Mid-Atlantic region,” French said. “She has terrific hands and a powerful throwing arm, and she has the ability to hit the ball out of the park or get a single and steal second. She will be a threat to put pressure on the defense at all times.”


Courtney Reinfeld is a corner infielder/pitcher from Parkland, Fla., who attends Marjory StonemanDouglas High School and also plays for Florida Fury Gold. She earned Miami Herald first-team all-county and honorable mention all-state in 2010, when she batted .610 with 31 RBIs, ranking second in the division in both categories.


“Courtney is one of the best hitters in the state of Florida,” French said. “She has line drive power to all fields, a very good throwing arm and soft hands.”


Emily Forst is a catcher/middle infielder Germantown, Md., who attends Northwest High School and also plays for VA Glory Gold. She batted .527 with five home runs and threw out seven of nine attempted base stealers in 2010, when she garnered first-team all-Gazette accolades.


“Emily is a very strong catcher who can also play anywhere in the field and is very athletic,” French said. “She has long ball power and a very strong arm. She will help us at numerous positions.”


Courtney Paone is an outfielder/pitcher from Middletown, N.J., who attends Middletown High School North and also plays for East Coast Elite Gold. As a junior, she led the Lions with a .522 average and was named to the all-division first team, the all-county second team and the all-conference third team.


“Courtney is a line drive hitter who hits to all fields, French said. “She comes from a very good travel ball team and has extra-base power.”


Gilbert Returns to UMBC: French also announced today that former Retriever assistant coach Bill Gilbert will return to UMBC in the same position for the 2011 season.


Gilbert served as the pitching coach and catching instructor for the Retrievers for two seasons. In 2005, his first year at UMBC, the Retrievers’ team ERA dropped from 3.16 to 2.91, and in 2006 UMBC earned its first-ever berth in the four-team America East Conference tournament.


“It is with great pleasure that I announced that Bill will be returning to UMBC,” French said. “He did a great job the last time he was here, and I look forward to him meshing with Coach (Jill) Dorsch and forming an outstanding staff.”


After leaving UMBC, Gilbert served as pitching coach at University of Toledo for one season and Southern Arkansas University for two years. During his tenure with the Muleriders, the team ERA improved by nearly two runs.


Prior to his first stint with the Retrievers, Gilbert was the pitching coach at Bellevue Community College (1994-96, 1997-98), Catawba College (1998-99), UNC-Pembroke (2000-02) and Monmouth University (2004), and at each stop, the team posted a lower ERA than the previous season. In addition, he coached the Swedish Junior National Team to the Scandinavian championship in 2000.


Gilbert brings an extensive playing and pitching background, both nationally and internationally. An avid fast-pitch player, he regularly took the ball in the circle himself, playing competitively for 11 years.


“I am very excited to be returning to UMBC, and I look forward to the challenge of contributing to Coach French’s program as we strive to win the America East Conference,” Gilbert said. “The biggest thing I noticed is that the administrative and coaching staffs are almost exactly the same as when I left four years ago, and that speaks volumes about UMBC and UMBC Athletics. I can’t wait to get started.”


Gilbert earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Purdue University in 1983, and his master’s degree in kinesiology from Southern Arkansas University in 2010.


Winter Clinic Details: UMBC’s annual winter indoor clinic for girls ages 7-18 will take place on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, at the Retriever Activities Center (RAC) from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The cost of the clinic is $45 in advance or $50 at the door, with group rates available for five or more participants.


This is the 10th year that Coach French and his team will conduct the winter clinic, which will provide hitting, pitching and fielding instruction by French, assistant coach Jill Dorsch and the 2011 Retrievers, as well as guest instructors.


Bull Roast Set for Jan. 29: The Third Annual “Friends of UMBC Softball” Bull and Oyster Roast will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at UAW Hall in Baltimore. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by contacting any UMBC player or parent, or Coach Dorsch at 410-455-5556 or


The evening includes a great food and drink, games of chance, a silent auction, door prizes and an introduction of the 2011 Retrievers.