EDITOR'S NOTE: The Jamestown Community College softball team photo will be published next week.
The Jamestown Community College women's softball season has already had plenty of ups and downs before a single pitch is thrown.
New coach Dana Shelters has been through a virtual roller coaster of emotions over the past several weeks and for a time it appeared JCC would not have a sufficient number of players to field a varsity softball squad and were facing the possibility of becoming a club team.
To make a very long and involved story short, things came together at the 11th hour and Shelters couldn't be happier that he'll have enough committed players to finally begin the spring campaign, which had been scheduled to start last month.
See JCC, Page B-2
Instead, the JCC season will begin today with a doubleheader at Finger Lakes CC. The Jayhawks first home twin bill will be Thursday at 2 p.m. against Monroe CC, which is ranked fourth on the NJCAA Division III preseason poll.
Shelters has been JCC's women's soccer coach for the past four seasons and took the softball job last fall.
"I've been around youth sports for years,'' he said, "but I really didn't get into the loop for this job as soon as I would have liked."
Needless to say, putting a team together was a joint effort between JCC, Shelters and the girls themselves, resulting in 14 players making up the roster.
"This is the biggest squad we've had in a few years," said Shelters.
That squad includes three sophomores and 11 freshmen with Clymer's Robyn Kibbe as the only returning player for the Jayhawks as both a pitcher and a shortstop.
"She's the first one at practice and the last to leave" said Shelters. ''She's always trying to better herself and stays in great shape."
Playing the outfield and first base will be Alyse Kickbush, a freshman from Randolph.
"She's a tall, rangy girl, with a great arm," Shelters said. ''She's a very good defensive player.
Shelters is also pleased with freshman Amanda Kennelley from Maple Grove, a left-handed batter and a right-handed thrower.
"She probably my most versatile player," he said. "She can play second and third base and will also do some catching. She does the little things well and is a very smart player."
Another freshman contributer will be Arriell Catalano from Westfield.
"She will catch and spend some time at third base," said Shelters. "Arriell has a good bat and will add punch to the lineup."
Freshman Ashley Judd from Ripley will see time at first base.
"She is just a great athlete,"said Shelters. ''I expect she will hit in the middle of our lineup and swings a good bat."
A late-comer to the team is freshman Courtney Gleason from Sherman.
"She will play at third base, but will also spend time at second," Shelters said. "She has the drive to improve herself, has a good bat and has good speed. I'm happy with what I see so far and I expect some timely hitting from her."
Another late arrival was freshman Lindsay Beckstrom from Frewsburg.
"Lindsay will play outfield, specifically center field,'' Shelters said. "She has great arm with great range and has good judgment of the ball. She's also a smart baserunner and will be part of my starting nine."
Sophomore Sarah Myers from Westfield has also impressed the coach and will play outfield.
"Sarah has the quickest hands on the team and has outstanding speed on the bases," he said. ''She will be out leadoff hitter and she can really get around the bases."
Sherman's Beth Gribble, also a freshman, is getting familiar with softball again, having not played since the eighth grade.
"She will be a left-handed first-baseman," Shelters said. "Beth is learning and gains more confidence with every day at practice. I expect she'll develop into quite a player."
Freshman Erin Gilman from Forestville gives Shelters a potential team leader, playing at third base,
"Erin is very passionate about the game," he said. ''She has a strong competitive nature. I like the things she does.
Shelters' third sophomore is Meghan Lyszaz from Youngsville, who will play in the outfield.
"She has a super arm and is the best bat on the team," he said. ''She has a great, pure swing and can hit the long ball."
Shelters is also happy to have Maple Grove graduate and freshman Taylor Lehman on board. "She is just a tremendous shortstop and will also pitch for us," he said. ''She's got great fielding ability, a strong arm and has a great mind for softball She's already a leader and is one of the key players that helped to bring this team together."
Freshman Taylor Shreve from Panama will handle much of the catching chores.
"She was a great pickup for us. She's one of better one catchers I've seen," Shelters said. ''She can throw runners out and can call a good game. She's also good left-handed hitter."
Rounding out the squad is Lindsay Alday from Sherman.
"Lindsay has never played, but she's learning quickly," said Shelters. "She has good speed and range and is running down balls in the outfield. She's also good baserunner and will be pinch hitting in spots."
With things coming together as they have, Shelters is realistic about his expectations for the season.
"It will be a growing experience," he said. " with only one returning player. What we gain this year will help us next season. This is a team we can build a program around. We already have a lot of team chemistry and they've bonded themselves."
JCC SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
All dates are doubleheaders
April 3 - at Finger Lakes CC, noon
April 8 - Monroe CC, 2 p.m.
April 10 - at Tompkins-Cortland CC, noon
April 11 - Genesee CC, noon
April 13 - Mercyhurst-North East, 2 p.m.
April 15 - Corning CC, 2 p.m.
April 17 - at Jefferson CC, noon
April 18 - at Onondaga CC, 11 a.m.
April 22 - at Alfred State College, 2 p.m.
April 24 - at Erie CC, noon
May 1 - at Herkimer CC, noon
May 2 - at Broome CC, noon
May 4 - Niagara Count CC, 2 p.m.