Silver Bracket Champions
Julia Keffler named America East Rookie of the Week
Former Black Ice player and UMBC freshman Julia Keffler began her college softball career by being named the America East Conference Rookie of the Week. Keffler, who plays second base for the Retrievers, batted .308 with a .413 on-base percentage over the course of her first five games.
Casey Turner commits to Catonsville Cardinals
Casey Turner has committed to CCBC Catonsville. Casey is entering her 6th season with the Black Ice program and currently plays shortstop for the 18U Gold team. After attending the Black Ice Elite College Skills camp for the past 4 years, she says “The Black Ice organization has helped me begin and finish my recruiting process and has shaped me into the player I am today.”
A senior at Eastern Technical High School, Casey has been a 4 year varsity starter on the Baltimore Sun's #1 ranked ET Mavericks team and has collected numerous honors in that time. During her time on the Mavericks, they have won 2 regional championships and 3 county championships. Turner leads the way as a team captain, while also being named 1st team All-County 2 times as well as 2nd team All-Metro player.
Casey's work ethic carries over to the classroom where she has been named to the All-Academic team every year of her high school career. After graduating this spring she is looking forward to playing for a well-coached and successful Catonsville Cardinals team.
Katie Capizzi chooses Towson University
Katie Capizzi of the Black Ice 18U Gold team has verbally committed to Towson University. Katie will become a preferred walk-on with the Towson softball program after her graduation from Friends School in 2018. Over her prep career she received All Conference, Athletic Academic Scholar and FSAA (Friends School Athletics Association) honors as a four year varsity softball player at Friends School and Dulaney High School. Katie is active in Turn Around Club at Friends and has been a multi-sport athlete since middle school.
Beginning her fourth season with the Black Ice, Katie credits the organization with providing exposure and aiding her development as a player. “Black Ice has really helped me grow as a player, especially switching to the left side. I have had multiple opportunities to play and show my skills due to the work that all my coaches have done for me and my team.”
Lisa Birocci Banse Pitching Clinic a Success !
Italian National Team pitching coach Lisa Banse teamed up with the Maryland Black Ice for a pitching clinic to benefit 10 pitchers and catchers playing in the 14U-18U age groups. Lisa was happy to share her vast knowledge and experience as a player and coach from the collegiate level all the way up through international play.
The clinic was divided into 2 sessions of 5 pitchers each which allowed Lisa to maximize her time with each player. The sessions began with Lisa leading the group through warm-ups that emphasized leg and core strength as well as the drive off the mound.
The 14U Black Ice team faced teams from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and even Canada on their way to a 6-3 record for the weekend.
The team went 3-0 during Monday's bracket play knocking off the 1-seed Wagner's team and defeating the 2-seed Monroe Thunder in the Championship game.
Jessica Smith verbals to Christopher Newport University
Jessica “Sharky” Smith knew Christopher Newport University was the school for her as soon as she stepped on campus for her first visit. She will study either bio-chemistry or bio-technology after her graduation from North Harford High School next year.
A classroom standout at North Harford, Jessica is a member of the Honor Roll, Varsity Club, Student Government, and carries a 3.8 GPA. A multi-sport athlete, Smith was named 2nd team All-County and defensive player of the year as a freshman basketball starter, and 1st team All-County as a volleyball player. A versatile softball player, Jessica plays shortstop and outfield for her high school team and plays first base, third base and outfield for the Black Ice 18U Gold team. “ MBI has really helped me develop as a player. All my coaches have been really positive and encouraging, always challenging the team to get better. The team building events we do off the field are also fun and bring the team closer. “
Jessica regularly attends college camps including Tufts, Salisbury, Coastal Carolina, and Christopher Newport as well as the Maryland Black Ice Elite College Skills camp. “The MBI camps have helped me gain exposure to college coaches, and to learn how to talk with a coach, and to build a relationship with them.”
Independence Day Firecracker Champions
1ST PLACE (7-2)
Hope Eckhart heading to Salisbury University
Hope Eckhart has verbally committed to Salisbury University where she will study Exercise Science. Hope plays third base for the 18U Gold team and is in her 4th season with the Black Ice organization. She has also attended two Black Ice Elite College Skills camps and a Wilmington University camp.
“Since joining Black Ice in the fall of 2016, my skill has improved and I have become a better player. This program stresses the importance of talking to colleges and being exposed to college coaches, at camps and at tournaments. Because of this, I am able to play at the collegiate level. Joining this program was the best decision for my softball career.”
Eckhart is a senior at Dulaney High School, where she has been the Lions starting third baseman for 4 years. She was selected to the All-County 2nd team as a sophomore and All-County 1st team her junior year. Hope is also a member of the varsity Cheer Team at Dulaney and was named team captain during her senior year. A regular on the Honor Roll list, Hope also serves on the student athlete leadership board and is a member of the student government organization.
Eastern Tech High School heads into the 2018 season ranked number 1 in the Baltimore Sun All-Metro poll. The Mavericks are led by Black Ice 18U Gold team shortstop Casey Turner (senior) and catcher Miranda Burton (junior).
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Bevard tosses second College No-Hitter
Former Black Ice player Emma Bevard recorded her second college no-hitter for Millersville University. Sophomore Bevard allowed only one baserunner, a hit batter, in the 3-0 win over Pitt-Johnstown in Division 2 PSAC Conference play. Emma continues to build on her strong freshman season where she threw for a complete game win in her first collegiate start and later registered a perfect game against Lincoln University on her way to being named a PSAC Scholar-Athlete in 2017.
McDaniel College welcomes Melissa Marini
Melissa Marini will attend McDaniel College this fall after graduating from the GW Carver Center for Arts and Technology. Melissa will join the Green Terror softball team after spending the past 2 seasons playing for the Black Ice 18U Gold team.
Melissa has been a standout in the classroom and on the field at the Carver Center as a member of Minds in Motion, and as a Scholar Athlete maintaining a 3.8 GPA. In the fall Marini leads the Carver Wildcats field hockey team as a 4 year 1st Team All-County selection and during the winter season she runs indoor track. This spring she returns to a Carver softball team that has won their division championship the past 3 seasons. Melissa enters her senior season having been named the teams' Unsung Hero and an All-County player for 2 of the past 3 seasons.
An outfielder and slap hitter for the Black Ice 18U Gold Team, Melissa has attended softball camps at Coastal Carolina, McDaniel, and Charlestown University, as well as the Maryland Black Ice Elite College Showcase. She says of her Black Ice experience “Black Ice was a great team for me to end my high school and travel career. I have great teammates and coaches that have prepared me for the next level.”
Maci Lopez commits to Notre Dame of Maryland
Black Ice 18U Gold team member Maci Lopez has officially committed to Notre Dame of Maryland. Maci started with the Black Ice program at the 10U level and currently plays second base for the 18U Gold team. After graduating from Towson High School this spring, Maci will pursue her degree in Nursing at Notre Dame of Maryland.
Maci has been a four year varsity starter at shortstop for Towson High where she was named Rookie of the Year after her freshman season. She has also earned the Mind Over Matter Award, given to athletes maintaining a 3.5 or higher grade point average over the course of the season, and been selected as a team captain.
Maci has attended the Black Ice Elite College Skills camp the past two years and credits the Black Ice program with helping her develop as a player and person. “Black Ice has given me the opportunity to be able to play at the next level and has shaped me into the athlete and person I am today.”
As Lisa explained she wants the player to feel how her body works and each exercise had a direct relation to the pitching motion.
After warm-ups the focus was on mechanics with an emphasis on keeping the pitching motion simple and generating power with the leg drive off the mound. Lisa was able to share her philosophy on pitch selection and the need to command your pitches. Catchers were drilled on blocking technique and also discussed the important role they play in working with the pitchers.
During the Q&A session Lisa was able to use her experience as both a college player and coach to give insight into the recruiting process and also explain how she was able to balance school work with athletics during her career at the University of Iowa.
On Monday morning there may have been some sore legs and a few aches from a good workout, but there was also a feeling of satisfaction from having picked up some new skills and information to take that next step to a successful softball career.