PROVIDENCE, RI – The last four years, the season hasn't concluded for the Johnson & Wales University softball team until the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will go for an unprecedented fifth GNAC title when they open the 2019 campaign on Tuesday.
Johnson & Wales heads south for spring break in Claremont, Fla. The Wildcats open with Alma before taking on the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
The GNAC head coaches think the Wildcats have a chance to get back to the NCAA Championships as they were picked to win the South Division. This year the GNAC will split into two divisions. JWU received 10 of the 12 first-place votes for 70 points. Albertus Magnus was next at 51 points. Suffolk was tabbed to win the North Division.
If the Wildcats are going to hoist another trophy, head coach Kim Camara-Harvey will have to do one of her better coaching jobs as she graduated four all-conference selections, including two-time GNAC Pitcher of the Year Jennifer Corona and All-Region selection Katie Rufo.
The cupboard isn't bare as the Wildcats return First-Team All-GNAC shortstop Brenna DuPerry and second-team selections Kristin Frost (pitcher/outfielder), Megan Gavin (third base), Kayla McKinnon (first base) and Olivia DiGiacomo (outfield). Also back is starting catcher Sierra Ali and starting second baseman Ally Mishol.
With Corona's graduation, the biggest void to fill will be in the circle. Frost made nine starts last season with an 8-1 record and 2.23 ERA. Senior Saxon Bresnahan posted a 3-3 mark in 31 innings. Rookies Zoe Jennings and Summer Ramundo could find their way into the rotation.
Johnson & Wales will certainly be tested during the non-conference slate. On March 8 the Wildcats take on two-time defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Virginia Wesleyan. The next day JWU faces #11 Randolph-Macon. April 23 the Wildcats host eighth-ranked MIT. The home opener is slated for March 13 and JWU opens GNAC action April 2 at Saint Joseph (Conn.).