Russell signs with Cal U

By on November 17, 2016

 

Warwick senior Mack Russell signed her National Letter of Intent last Wednesday, Nov. 9 to continue her softball career at California University of PA.

Warwick senior Mack Russell signed her National Letter of Intent last Wednesday, Nov. 9 to continue her softball career at California University of PA.

California University of PA was on the radar of Warwick senior Mack Russell early.

All the way back to her freshman year, in fact.

“I really put in a lot more effort and everything into talking to them and getting noticed by them than I did by anybody else,” Russell remarked. “I just really wanted to go there.”

A two-time All-State selection in softball, the Lady Warriors’ middle infielder got her wish.

During the early signing period last Wednesday, Nov. 9, Russell signed on the dotted line to continue her academic and athletic careers with a Cal team which finished the 2016 season ranked 21st in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll.

Russell also considered PSAC rivals Bloomsburg and Millersville, but her long desire was Cal.

“My attention was drawn to them just because they had a really good softball program, they’ve done really well in the PSAC and the coach (Rick Bertagnolli) really knows what he’s doing obviously and he just has a lot of experience,” said Russell, who gave a verbal commitment to the Lady Vulcans in February of her junior year.

“I think it’s exactly where she wants to be,” Warwick coach Mark Hough said. “It gives her an opportunity to play and still be close to home that her family can see games.”

Back-to-back PSAC champs in 2014-15, Cal reached the Conference finals again last spring, where they fell to Bloomsburg.

Mack and her father Paul had a front-row seat for for Cal’s games in the finals.

“They were two very good games, there were a lot of home runs,” Russell said. “The program is great and there’s a lot of really good players on the team, so I think they can definitely win it this year as well.”

Despite falling just short in the PSACs, Cal still advanced to the NCAA Tournament, posting a 3-2 mark before being eliminated by West Virginia Wesleyan to give them a final record of 38-6.

In Russell, the Lady Vulcans are getting a sure-handed shortstop/second baseman and a top-of-the-order batter with good speed. In 2015, while claiming Second-Team All-State honors, she batted .484 with 28 runs, 17 RBIs and a team-best 40 hits. An Honorable Mention selection as a junior, she hit .365 with 15 runs and a team-high 23 base hits. Defensively, in the past two seasons combined, she has committed just three errors in 108 total chances.

“(Being named All-State) kinda gave me the confidence that I can do this in college and compete with other players, because other players who were going D-2 and and D-1 made the same thing as I did,” said Russell, who was also named a Section One First-Team All-Star the past two seasons, in addition to being selected All-League at second base as a junior.

According to Hough, Cal is also getting a player who has been a sparkplug for Warwick.

“Mack’s got a lot of fire,” he said, “and with her determination, she’s done a great job the last couple years becoming a stronger player both physically and mentally. And I think the challenges that we kinda have set for her this year, she’s embracing and I’m very excited about that in terms of her leadership on the field with her fire, but I think she knows how to motivate kids in the dugout as well.”

Still, there are areas where Russell would like to improve her game for the next level, most notably her quickness, range and bat speed.

“Quickness in the field … like double plays, my glove and then just kinda getting an extra step still with the fielding,” said Russell, who also plays for the Spooky Nook club team.

Hough has already seen improved quickness and development from Russell during recent workouts.

“I think Mack has really changed her training in the off-season to help her speed and agility in the field, in addition to arm strength, as she will more than likely move to short this spring,” Warwick’s skipper said

Russell said Cal coach Rick Bertagnolli indicated to her that he wants to use her either at third base, shortstop or second base in college.

Asked if she has a preference, Russell said, “I’m hoping it’s second or short. I don’t know how well third will go.”

She’s confident, however, that her experience with the Lady Vulcans will go quite well.

“It’s a good distance away, the campus is nice, and with the softball history, it really just felt good for me,” Russell said. “It just felt right.”

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One Comment

  1. Catherine Jameson

    February 7, 2017 at 9:14 am

    This girl is amazing! She did a great job and she inspires me a lot! I love what she said about her feeling! Just nothing special, just feel so right and that means she have done well and she’s happy with it! Hope that she’ll achieve more things in the future!

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