Monday, October 16, 2017

Meuchel named head coach at Montana

Melanie Meuchel has been named the new head coach at Montana, the school announced on Monday.

Meuchel, who had been interim head coach following Jamie Pinkerton’s mid-summer departure for Iowa State, was long thought to be the favorite for the position. She spent the past four years as Pinkerton’s first assistant with the Grizzlies, having been hired to the coaching staff during the program’s early developmental stages.

In charge of the Grizzy pitching staff, Meuchel helped lead guide then-freshman Michaela Hood to a team-leading 2.31 ERA in 2017 and 178 in just over 190 innings, en route to first-team all-conference honors and the Big Sky conference tournament's MVP award. Meuchel’s pitching staff posted a 3.09 staff ERA on the year and helped lead the program to its first-ever NCAA tournament berth.

A veteran coach, Meuchel will assume her first-ever full-time head coaching position with the Grizzlies. Her coaching resume also includes a graduate assistantship at Oklahoma and stints as an assistant at McNeese State and Nevada.

Montana finished the 2017 season with a record of 35-24, including a 15-6 conference mark. The Grizzlies went 3-0 in the conference tournament, twice besting host Weber State, and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Norfolk State hires James Inzana as head coach

James Inzana has been hired as the new head coach at Norfolk State, the school announced late Thursday.

Inzana joins the Spartans following an assistant coaching stint at Virginia Wesleyan, where the Marlins took home the 2017 Division III national championship and won a division-record fifty-four games en rout to the title.

Virginia Wesleyan had been Inzana's home for the past eight seasons, as he helped lead the program to five conference titles since 2011. Prior to his stint at VWU, Inzana coached for several years at the high school level and spent twenty years in the US Navy on active duty.

The Norfolk State position will be the first head coaching position of Inzana's career at the collegiate level.

At the helm of the Spartans, Inzana takes the reins of a team that finished 12-24 during the 2017 season, with a 5-13 conference record. He replaces Heidi Cavallo, who posted just a single winning record during her seven-year tenure and recorded 142 wins during that same time period.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

NPF's Texas Charge dissolved; will not participate in 2018 season

The Texas Charge, one of six teams that competed in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2017, have folded and will not participate in the 2018 league summer season.

Announced in January 2015, the Charge had been the league's fourth-longest tenured franchise. In 2017, the squad finished in fifth place in the league standings and missed the postseason for the second straight season.

Formerly the Dallas Charge, the 2017 season also saw the team move their base of operations to San Marcos, Texas, where their home games were played at Texas State's Bobcat Softball Stadium.

With the team's dissolution this fall, the Charge will end their short-lived tenure with an all-time record of 59-89 and just a single postseason appearance, in 2015. Four different individuals have served as the team's head coach, including Florida assistant Jennifer Rocha, who posted the best record of the quartet at the team's helm with a 20-30 mark in 2016.

The Charge's dissolution marks the second time in as many years that the NPF has seen the exit of a league franchise, following the Pennsylvania Rebellion's departure prior to the 2017 season.

More than a dozen players were under contract with the Charge through 2018 and beyond, including pitchers Delanie Gourley and Dallas Escobado. JWOS obtained a copy of an email that was sent from the league office on Thursday to players on the Charge roster; in the correspondence, league commissioner Cheri Kempf notes that players previously actively under contract with the Charge are now free agents.

The team's social media accounts have been deactivated, though their official website remains active as of Thursday evening.

The league nor the team has issued an official statement. Attempts to contact representatives of each were unsuccessful. 

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bandits Gives Moss 3-Year Extension

The Chicago Bandits have re-signed standout outfielder and speedster Brenna Moss to a three-year contract extension.

Moss is the first player to join the Bandits’ active roster for the 2018 summer season; previously, the Bandits, under new management by the Town of Rosemont in 2017, spent the most recent season with a roster full of one-year deals and other contracts that expire in February.

The extension for Moss stretches through the 2020 season. Financial terms were undisclosed.

A former third-round draft pick, Moss has spent her entire three-year NPF career with the Bandits. The former Fresno State star ended the 2017 season batting .341 and led her team in stolen bases.

The news of her lengthy extension is good news for Bandits fans, as it seem to solidify the Town of Rosemont’s long-term commitment to operating the franchise.

San Diego Adds Danielle O’Toole as Pitching Coach

Former Arizona standout and Team USA ace Danielle O’Toole has been named the new pitching coach at San Diego, the school announced earlier this week.

O’Toole, who graduated from Arizona earlier in 2017, finished her career in Tucson after spending her first two seasons at San Diego State. While at SDSU, O’Toole was named the Mountain West’s Pitcher of the Year in 2014 and twice earned all-MW conference honors.

After sitting out a season once she transferred to Arizona, O’Toole quickly became one of the conference’s and nation’s elite, as she posted a cumulative 1.69 ERA during her two seasons as a Wildcat and opposing batters hit just .201 against her. She also gathered more than 400 strikeouts during her pair of seasons in a UA jersey.

To cap her collegiate career, O’Toole was named the PAC-12’s Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and was a top ten finalist for the National Player of the Year award.

In her first season with Team USA during the 2017 summer campaign, O’Toole collected a 2.80 ERA and a 2-0 win-loss record in fifteen innings in the circle at the Pan American Championship for the US National team, while her 0.47 ERA led her team during the World Cup of Softball.

O’Toole signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bandits and appeared in four games for the squad.

At USD, O'Toole replaces program alum Cassidy Coleman, who had been the Toreros' pitching coach since 2015.

Gerry Glasco Joins Auburn Coaching Staff

Gerry Glasco has been announced as the new assistant coach for the Auburn softball program.

Glasco, who spent six years at Georgia and three years most recently as Associate Head Coach at Texas A&M, will join his third Southeastern Conference club in a decade. At Georgia, Glasco more than tripled his team’s home run totals in just his first season in Athens and was part of the Bulldogs club that won the 2014 SEC tournament championship.

After moving to Texas A&M in 2015, Glasco helped launch another offensive attack with the Aggies, helping guide an offense that hit 213 home runs during his three seasons in College Station and averaged more than six runs scored per game during that same span.

A coaching veteran at the professional level as well as in college, Glasco has previously served as head coach for two of the National Pro Fastpitch league’s teams, including the USSSA Pride in 2014 and the Scrap Yard Dawgs in 2017. His team won the NPF championship both years, including the Dawgs’ first-ever league title in the most recent season.

At Auburn, Glasco joins Mickey Dean’s coaching staff within a week of the former James Madison coach’s hiring by the Tigers.

Bandits Name Stacey Nuveman-Deniz as Head Coach

In what has been a full week of news for the NPF’s Chicago Bandits, the team announced that former Team USA standout Stacey Nuveman-Deniz will assume their vacant head coaching position for the 2018 summer season.

Nuveman's Team USA headshot
Nuveman-Deniz, whose full-time job is as Associate Head Coach at San Diego State, will assume the position vacated by Sharonda McDonald following the 2017 campaign.

A three-time US Olympian, Nuveman-Deniz won two gold medals as a part of the US National Team in 2000 and 2004. Her third Olympic medal came in the form of a silver in 2008 in Beijing.

In addition to her Olympic success, Nuveman-Deniz also spent several years as an analyst for ESPN and was a four-time all-American at UCLA. She held the NCAA all-time home run record for thirteen years before Lauren Chamberlain broke it in 2015.

The Bandits reached the postseason in 2017 for the tenth consecutive season, but failed to defend their back-to-back league titles from 2015 and 2016.