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Every Player Counts in Vikings Softball's Successful Season


West Windsor, N.J. -- According to Head Coach Ryan Zegarski, from fall and winter practices through the end of the season in May, he got 100 percent from his players. While every season has its unknowable factors, Zegarski was sure he could count on his four sophomores: catcher Angela Marinos, infielder Mary Rossi, outfielder Brittany Szafran, and infielder Jamie Scanella. And they delivered.

With a final season record of 26-15, Zegarski is especially satisfied, given the numbers on the roster - there was not a player to spare. "Every player played in every game," he said, noting that five women played in positions that were new to them, which required continuing adjustments as they tested themselves in different parts of the field.

The up side for the players and the team was that with so much time on the field, "they got better with every game," Zegarski said. "And on defense, they showed significant improvement by the end of the season."

At the end of the regular season, the Vikings proved their mettle by winning the play-in round versus Raritan Community College on April 28 to secure their spot in the Region 19 Final Four. They eliminated Raritan by winning both games consecutively (3-1 and 7-5) in the double elimination tournament.

The Vikings entered the Final Four, played at Morris County College, as the no. 4 seed and first faced the tournament's eventual winner Del Tech, the no. 1 seed, , losing 4-12. Then they beat Morris, the no. 2 seed, 5-0, but lost to Burlington 6-0.

"Del Tech was an all-around strong team," Zegarski said. Against Burlington, Zegarski says the team came up against a very good pitcher. "We just couldn't get the big hits when we needed them."

Marinos led the offensive attack again this season, earning a .507 average. She is now Mercer's all-time leader with 125 career hits and her two-year.477 batting average ranks her second after 2007 grad Mailee Paselio. In addition to Marinos, other key hitters were Rossi, Szafran and freshman Chelsea Arnold, who led Mercer with 50 RBIs. Arnold and freshmen pitchers Stephanie Canulli, with a record of 15-7, and Cynthia Page, with a record of 11-8, will be looked to as team leaders next year.

"Every year is different. This team had a tremendous work ethic. They had a lot of practice and worked really hard. It was every girl, every game. We kept everyone happy with plenty of action, but they also wore down," Zegarksi said.

In the annual list of the Top 10 Players in Region 19, Marinos was named no. 2 and Brittany Szafran was named no. 8. Marinos and Szafran were also selected to the First Team All-Region, while Rossi and Canulli were selected to the second team. All four players were selected to the All Garden State Conference First Team.

At present, six new faces are expected to join the roster for next year and all of the freshmen are expected to return. While recruitment for next season is basically finished, Zegarski says he will be scouting high school juniors at summer league games for the 2014 season.

Zegarski was assisted this year by Danielle Brossoie, a player from the 2007 Vikings team, and John Rooney, who, with ten years of coaching experience, was a great addition to the staff.

Jamie Scanella took care of third base.


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Catcher Angela Marinos was an offensive powerhouse and is Mercer's all-time leader with 125 career hits. She was named the no. 2 player in Region 19.
Outfielder Brittany Szafran was strong on both offense and defense. She was named no. 8 in the Region 19's Top Ten list.
Freshman pitcher Stephanie Canulli had a solid season on the mound and will be expected to deliver again next year.
Freshman outfielder Chelsea Arnold led the Vikings with 50 RBIs.