May 30, 2012
Siena softball will have five new freshman during the 2013 season. The quintet of current high school seniors signed National Letters of Intent with the Green and Gold, and will look to help the Saints build off two seasons of marked improvement.
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Melanie Kalesse will rotate between the shortstop and center field spots. In her first three years at Nazareth Academy, Kalesse's teams went 58-3, winning three consecutive Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championships.
"Melanie will be an exciting player to watch over the next four seasons," said Siena head coach Bill Lajeunesse. "She is a multi-tool hitter from the left side with tremendous speed that has great range at shortstop and in center field. We expect Melanie to be a constant at the top of our lineup and provide us with stellar defense."
The Saints also added two pitchers to the 2013 roster. The first is Alyssa Lancaster, a native of Hanover Park, Ill., and a senior at Schaumberg High School. The left-handed pitcher also plays first base, and is an excellent student as well, owning a 4.08 cumulative GPA headed into her final high school semester.
"Alyssa will add the lefty factor to our pitching staff and provide consistent defense at first base," Lajeunesse said. "She also swings from the left side for power and will help lengthen our lineup."
The second pitcher is a local product in the form of Rachel Quackenbush. Hailing from nearby Hoosick Falls, her stellar junior campaign for Hoosick Falls High School saw her go 19-2 with a 0.39 ERA in 2011.
"Rachel has shown the ability to make hitters swing and miss," Lajeunesse said. "She is a power pitcher, but has an arsenal of pitches in her repertoire. We expect her to come in with her fierce mentality and establish herself as a seven-inning starter."
The Saints went west for their final two recruits, but at the same time didn't have to look too far for one. Jordan Sandrini is the sister of current sophomore pitcher and outfielder Jessika - Jo Sandrini (a two-time All-MAAC selection this year), and could see action at a variety of different positions. A native of Chehalis, Wash., Sandrini attends Adna High School.
"Jordan is a versatile player with explosiveness and a lot of power," Lajeunesse said. "We expect Jordan to come in and hit for average while driving in runs. Defensively, she can play many positions utilizing her speed, strong arm, and smooth glove."
Finally, Mikaela Searight is another Washington native who catches and plays the infield. She led Camas High School to a 22-6 record as a senior, one that saw the squad make the Washington state tournament.
"Mikaela is a solid defensive player both behind the plate and at the corners," Lajeunesse said. "She has shown the ability to hit for power and average. We expect her to add pop to our lineup and be a middle of the lineup hitter while strengthening our defense."
The Saints won 20 games and went 8-8 in MAAC play for the second consecutive year. The 20 wins tied for the most by a Siena softball team since 2005, and the eight wins in conference play tied for the most since 2003.