Jan. 6, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Despite lengthy weather-related delays for a handful of athletes traveling across the country, the 34 players invited to compete at the Women's National Team Development Program arrived in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday for a week of competition and skills sessions to prepare the players for future national team experiences."We are excited that the Women's National Team is here," Florida Atlantic baseball head coach John McCormack said. "It is always an honor to be associated with Team USA. I look forward to watching these young ladies train and play; it will be a good week."
The 34 athletes hail from 17 different states across the U.S., with Florida (8) and California (7) having the most representatives. The furthest traveler, Lauren Frost, joins the group from Eagle River, Alaska, and is one of seven athletes who received their invite through the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series.
The group of prospective national team players will be led by field coordinator Jonathan Pollard (Woburn, Mass.). Pollard, a veteran of the USA Baseball Women's National Team, served on the staff for the 2011 Women's International Friendship series as well as serving as pitching coach for the silver medal winning Women's National Team during the 2012 Women's Baseball World Cup in Edmonton, Canada.
Joining Pollard will be instructors Jayson King (Rindge, N.H.), Greg Crossman (Burlington, Mass.), Jenny Dalton-Hill (Lexington, Ky.), Dennis Keeley (Jenks, Okla.), Kerry Kincaid (Knightdale, N.C.), Mike Morgan (Woburn, Mass.) and Matthew Weagle (Charlton, Mass.).
In his 15th season as head coach at Franklin Pierce University, in 2013, King took the program all the way to the NCAA DII Baseball Championships. King's work has included six NCAA tournament berths in the last seven years, five NCAA Regional titles and two ECAC Division II Championships.
Dalton-Hill began her time with USA Baseball as a player on the 2010 Women's National Team that brought home bronze at the Women's Baseball World Cup. During the 2010 tour, Dalton-Hill played in nine games and logged a .333 average at the plate. Beginning in 2011, Dalton-Hill joined the Women's National Team coaching staff, most recently as an assistant coach to the 2012 Women's National Team that brought home the silver medal.
Keeley and Morgan will square off during the intrasquad games as managers of the Stars and Stripes rosters. The two sides will square off four times, with Wednesday as an off day from intrasquad competition. The 34 athletes will volunteer their time that evening to the local Boys and Girls Club.
Keeley spent the last four years as head coach at Jenks High School in Oklahoma. With Keeley at the helm, the Trojans had a record of 114-43 over the four years making the Class 6A state tournament all four years. Prior to his time at Jenks, Keeley spent 11 years coaching at Muskogee where he took them to the 1998 state finals. Most recently, Keeley took the Jenks program to the 2013 USA Baseball National High School Invitational which recognizes sixteen of the top high school baseball programs in the country.
Morgan began coaching in 2005 when he returned to his alma mater, Salem State College, as the graduate assistant. Morgan also took the head coaching position for the Nashua Pioneers of the North American Women's Baseball League leading the Pioneers to a ranking of No. 2 in the nation. Morgan was first introduced to USA Baseball in 2013 when he served as an instructor at the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series as a part of the women's division.
Rounding out the staff are Kincaid and Weagle. Kincaid is a veteran of USA Baseball, having worked with several age groups of athletes since 2009. For his efforts, Kincaid was recognized as the 2011 USA Baseball Volunteer Coach of the Year. Kincaid currently serves as the first base coach for the Cleveland Indians high "A" affiliate, Carolina Mudcats.
Weagle just finished his first full season on the Franklin University baseball staff. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Weagle served as the pitching coach at Becker College after coaching at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Weagle began his collegiate coaching career at Holy Cross. This will be Weagle's first introduction to USA Baseball.
The National Team Development programs will be used to further connect identified athletes with USA Baseball staff to better prepare and develop the athletes for a future USA Baseball National Team experience. The Women's National Team, managed by Pollard, will hold trials and training in August of 2014 in preparation to compete in the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup, September 1-7 in Mayazaki, Japan.
The on-field portion of the WNTDP begins with a skill session on Monday morning, before the Stars and Stripes take the field for the first intrasquad scrimmage on Monday evening at 6 p.m. ET.
The 2014 Women's National Team Development Team roster is as follows:
Name, Position, Hometown
Jessica Alfonso, IF/OF, Miami, Fla.
Veronica Alvarez, C, Miami, Fla.
Lynn Anderson, IF/RHP, Neenah, Wis.
Chelsea Baker, RHP, Plant City, Fla.
Elizabeth Baker-Noren, IF, Louisville, Ky.
Jill Barrett, IF, Greenwood, Ark.
Bella Berthel, C/RHP, Zwingle, Iowa
Kayla Bufardeci, IF/RHP, Castro Valley, Calif.
Samantha Cobb, IF/OF, Garland, Texas
Hope Creasy, IF, Christiansburg, Va.
Kendall Dawson, C, Plant City, Fla.
Caitlin Everett, OF, Forney, Texas
Lauren Frost, IF/RHP, Eagle River, Alaska
Jade Gortarez, IF/RHP, Riverside, Calif.
Jolene Graham, IF, Sutter, Calif.
Kayla Haberstich, IF/RHP, Bartlett, Ill.
Tara Harbert, OF, Boulder, Colo.
Tamara Holmes, OF, Albany, Calif.
Sarah Hudek, OF/LHP, Sugar Land, Texas
Daniella Ibarra, IF/RHP, Emerson, N.J.
Anna Kimbrell, C/RHP, Fort Mill, S.C.
Alexa Maldonado, OF/LHP, Short Hill, N.J.
Jenna Marston, IF/RHP, St. Louis, Mo.
Jennifer McKenney, OF, St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Stacy Piagno, IF/RHP, St. Augustine, Fla.
Rebecca Satz, IF/RHP, Morris Plains, N.J.
Marti Sementelli, RHP, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Loren Smith, RHP, Tampa, Fla.
Michelle Snyder, IF, Wenatchee, Wash.
Marianne Sparacia, IF, Spring Hill, Fla.
Ashley Sujkowski, RHP, Rossford, Ohio
Malaika Underwood, IF, San Diego, Calif.
Emily Grace White, OF/RHP, Marietta, Ga.
Kelsie Whitmore, OF/RHP, Temecula, Calif.