Aug. 1, 2013
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - MAAC Coach of the Year Bill Lajeunesse has signed four freshmen who will join the Siena Softball program beginning with the 2014 season. Danielle Cacciola, Bridget Connors, Chelsey Drew and Mikayla Powlowsky have all returned their National Letters of Intent and will join the reigning MAAC Regular Season co-Champion Saints.
"This year's recruiting class fills a number of needs for our 2014 team," said Lajeunesse. "Defensively, we are adding depth in a number of areas from the battery to the infield and outfield positions. Cumulatively, this group comes to Siena with outstanding high school numbers offensively with a dynamic combination of the short-game, speed and power. Our Class of 2017 will be an exciting one to watch over their careers."
A pitcher and infielder from Eastchester, N.Y., Cacciola was an NYSSCOGS Third Team All-State selection after pitching the Eagles to a 20-3 record and the top seed in the Section I Class A Playoffs this spring. A dual threat both in the circle and at the plate, she posted a 15-2 record with a 1.23 ERA and 160 strikeouts and hit .416 while posting team bests of eight home runs and 33 runs scored through her first 22 games this spring. Cacciola played her travel ball for the Frozen Ropes 18u Gold squad.
"Danielle provides an immediate impact in the circle from the get go," commented Lajeunesse. "We feel that she has the ability to be a quality pitcher in our program and conference. She is also a strong hitter who should provide middle of the lineup power and be a consistent RBI threat."
After missing her junior year while recovering from knee surgery, Connors enjoyed a monster senior season for Cumberland (R.I.) High. The First Team Providence Journal All-State selection started every game behind the plate for the Clippers, breaking the school record by hitting .487 and posted team highs in both hits (37) and runs scored (18). Also named a First Team All-State selection as a sophomore, Connors posted 12 multi-hit performances in 16 games this spring, hit a robust .700 with runners in scoring position and stole six bases.
"Bridget gives us depth behind the plate and in the outfield," noted Lajeunesse. "We expect her to be someone who is a high average offensive threat with a high on base percentage who performs exceptionally well in clutch situations."
A corner infielder from Hudson, N.H., Drew led Alvirne High to back-to-back Division I State Championships in her sophomore and junior seasons. A two-time Nashua Telegraph and Lowell Sun First Team All-Star, she was named a Division I Second Team All-Star this spring. During her junior season she hit .479, slugged .718 and drove in 23 runs for the Broncos and hit the game-winning home run to capture the 2012 State Championship.
"We are looking for Chelsey to break into the lineup and provide protection in the middle of the order," added Lajeunesse. "Defensively, we are looking for her to get on the field as an infielder or corner outfielder and offensively we see her hitting for both average and power while driving in runs."
Drew's teammate Powlowsky will also be joining the Saints. She is the younger sister of former Siena Softball catcher Nastasha Powlowsky '12 who was a 2012 Second Team All-MAAC selection. Mikayla hit .355 this spring as the Broncos' centerfielder and was named a Division I First Team All-State selection, Nashua Telegraph First Team All-Star and Lowell Sun Second Team All-Star. Powlowsky played her travel softball with the New Jersey Intensity.
"Mikayla provides great speed and the ability to get on base," explained Lajeunesse. "She is a seasoned slapper who can also swing the bat with gap power. Defensively, she is aggressive and shows the ability to cover a lot of ground in the outfield and possesses a strong throwing arm.
The Siena Softball program is coming off its most successful season in school history. The Saints won 21 games this spring and posted a school record 12 conference victories en route to a share of the program's first MAAC Regular Season Championship.