College Coaches Clinic – Boston University – 11/22/14

Play the Game (Manchester, NH) is pleased to announce the lineup for the third clinic in our College Coaches Clinic series. We will have Head Coach Kathryn Gleason and Assistant Coach Meghan Darhower from Boston University here at our facility to put on a fast pitch Softball clinic focused on developing players on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for players age 14 and up. BU SoftballThe clinic will be held at our indoor facility located at 8051 South Willow Street, Manchester, NH 030103, on Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 9:00am – 12:00pm. The clinic is just $40 per player; and space is limited. I have heard that there might be a few spots still available, please email Jim Cardello to see if there’s a space available for this clinic.

Folks, check this out! These people are making positive changes in programs near you! Coach Gleason led BU to the NCAA Tournament last year and this local program played the likes of  South Carolina, Louisville, #11 Arizona, and #23 LSU along the way.

Kathryn Gleason, a 17-year coaching veteran with a combined four appearances in the Women’s College World Series as a player and assistant, returns for her third season as the

Head Softball Coach - Kathryn Gleason - BU

Head Softball Coach – Kathryn Gleason – BU

head coach of the Boston University softball team after leading the Terriers to the 2014 Patriot League title.

This past year, the Terriers went 36-21 and made their second NCAA appearance in three seasons. BU struggled early on trying to find its identity with eight newcomers but eventually pulled it all together entering the month of April. The squad won 13 games straight and went a perfect 3-0 in the conference tournament.

The momentum carried over to the NCAAs in which BU overcame a hard-fought 9-6 loss to then-No. 11 Arizona with a dominating 8-3 victory over American Athletic Conference champion Louisville. The Terriers were the only fourth-seeded squad in the postseason tournament to earn a win and were one out away from adding a second against then-No. 23 LSU. The win over the Cardinals also marked the first NCAA victory by a Patriot League member since 2009.

Highlighted by Brittany Younan’s PL Rookie of the Year Award, six Terriers earned All-Conference accolades with Jayme Mask also receiving NFCA All-Region First Team honors. They helped BU set a school record for batting average (.308), hits (476), doubles (88) and stolen bases (105). Individually, Brittany Clendenny set a school record for RBIs in a season with 53 (2nd most in PL history), while Mask concluded her career first or tied-for-first all-time at BU in runs scored, stolen bases and hits.

Another memorable moment of the season was three-time PL Pitcher of the Week Melanie Russell pitching BU’s 22nd no-hitter and eighth perfect game in program history. Her performance against Bucknell proved to be the fourth perfect game in PL history to go all seven innings.

In Gleason’s first season, the Terriers faced multiple injuries, including the loss of the 2012 America East Pitcher of the Year, but still went 21-26-1. Highlights included wins over two 2013 NCAA tournament participants, Southern Conference champion Georgia Southern and Big Sky champion Portland State. BU also claimed a two-game sweep over ACC member Boston College.

A total of five Terriers earned All-Conference honors with Jayme Mask being named 2013 America East Player of the Year. Under Gleason, the outfielder increased her hitting average by 32 points to a league-high .399 and also tied a school record with 37 stolen bases, topping her previous high by 12. Mask also earned ECAC Division I All-Star and NFCA All-Northeast Region First Team accolades.

Accepting her first head coaching position at BU, Gleason was already quite familiar with the Terriers, having spent a combined six seasons at the University of Massachusetts, including the last two as associate head coach. Working primarily with the Minutewomen’s infielders, she helped lead the team to the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship and a 38-13 overall record after finishing 29-19 in 2011.

Gleason previously served as an assistant coach with the Minutewomen from 1996-2000, helping lead the team to two Women’s College World Series appearances. Before rejoining UMass in 2010, she coached for six years at Michigan State, serving the last five years as associate head coach. She primarily worked with the infield, coaching six All-Big Ten and four All-Region honorees, along with guiding the Spartans to four straight Big Ten Tournament berths. She served as the program’s recruiting coordinator and assistant director of all camps and clinics. Gleason was also the Spartans’ liaison for the Friends of Jaclyn program.

Joining the Spartans’ staff in June of 2004, Gleason moved to State following a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Purdue University (2001-2004) and four years as an assistant coach at UMass (1996-2000).

While working with the Boilermakers, Gleason assisted with team academics, equipment, promotions, tournaments, facilities, recruiting and strength & conditioning. On game days, she supervised and directed the outfield and assisted with the offense. Additionally, she worked with Purdue’s softball camps and clinics.

During her first stint at UMass, Gleason helped lead the Minutewomen to four Atlantic 10 regular season conference titles and four A-10 Championships. They made four appearances in the NCAAs, including winning the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Regional Championships, as well as advancing to the Women’s College World Series both years.

Gleason earned her bachelor’s degree in sport management and communications from the University of Michigan in 1996. She was a member of the 1993, `95 and `96 Big Ten regular season championship teams, the `95 and `96 Big Ten Tournament Championship teams, and played in the `95 and `96 Women’s College World Series while serving as co-captain of the `96 team.

Holding a master’s degree in sport management from UMass, Gleason is heavily involved with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), currently serving as first vice president after previously working as the second vice president and assistant coach representative for the association.

A native of Country Club Hills, Ill., she was inducted into the Marian Catholic High School Hall of Fame as “Athlete of the Year” in the 2002 induction class. Gleason was also inducted into the East Suburban Catholic Conference High School Hall of Fame in March 2008.


Joining Coach Gleason will be recently hired Meghan Darhower. Come check out this newly formed coaching combination before the rest of the country sees them next spring.

Meghan Darhower, a four-year starting infielder at Michigan State with seven years of coaching experience, joins head coach Kathryn Gleason’s staff as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season.

A native of Niceville, Fla., Darhower spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of West Alabama. During her tenure there, she

Assistant Coach - Meghan Darhower - BU

Assistant Coach – Meghan Darhower – BU

helped guide the program to three NCAA DII Regional berths and its first-ever super regional appearance in 2011. She also coached UWA’s first-ever NFCA All-American First Team honoree this past year.

“I am very excited to welcome Meghan to the BU Softball family,” said Gleason at the time of the hire. “I have known Meghan as a player, coaching her three years at Michigan State, and I have seen her evolve in our coaching profession the last seven years. She has a passion for the game and is constantly challenging herself to learn and work with some of the best in our game at various camps and clinics. She will provide us with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and an incredible work ethic. I know she is ready to begin and get out onto the field with this team.”

Focusing on hitting at UWA, Darhower watched as the team broke school records in hits, doubles, walks and batting average. In total, eight Tigers earned All-Region honors and 15 were tabbed NFCA Academic All-Americans.

In her two seasons at Northwest Florida State College (2008-10), she served as the infield and hitting coach and helped guide the Raiders to the conference championship in 2009. A member of the 2009 Conference “Coaching Staff of the Year”, she coached three All-Americans, six All-Region players and six All-American Scholar Athletes.

The Michigan State grad received her Bachelor of Science in kinesiology in 2008 and later earned a Masters of Science from West Alabama in continuing education with a focus on college student development and counseling. Darhower started 196 games for the Spartans at shortstop or third base. While at MSU, she helped lead the team to its first Big 10 title in 2004 and etched her name in the record books with three doubles in a game.


College Coaches Clinic – NE10 – 11/15/14

Play the Game (Manchester, NH) is pleased to announce the lineup for the second clinic in the College Coaches Clinic series. We will have coaches representing Merrimack College, Southern New Hampshire University, Bentley University, and St. Anselm College at our facility to put on a fast pitch Softball clinic focused on Hitting and Defense for players age 14 and up. The clinic will be held at our indoor facility located at 8051 South Willow Street, Manchester, NH 030103, on Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 9:00am – 12:00pm. The clinic is just $40 per player; and space is limited. Please email Jim Cardello to see if there’s a space available for this clinic.

Jim Cardello - MC

Head Softball Coach – Jim Cardello – Merrimack College

Merrimack College Head Coach, Jim Cardello will be here to share his approach to hitting, and you’ll see that he has positively impacted hitters everywhere he has coached.

Jim Cardello enters his third season as Head Softball Coach at Merrimack in 2014-15.

The longtime coaching veteran has coached the Warriors to back-to-back 21-win campaigns in his first two seasons on campus, including a 21-20 mark in 2014 that featured the Warriors’ first postseason appearance in three years.

Finishing the year ranked third in the Northeast Division, Merrimack posted its first playoff win since the 2011 season after defeating Bentley in the opening round of the NE-10 Championship. The Warriors would bow out to reigning league champion Adelphi in 10 innings in the league’s quarterfinal rounds but were one of the most dangerous teams in the conference down the stretch, finishing the season with a 12-5 record over the final 17 games. Merrimack also enjoyed incredible success in North Andover last spring, as the Warriors posted a 10-1 record at home in 2014.

Hired in September of 2013, Cardello led the Warriors to a 21-22-1 overall mark in his first season guiding the program, barely missing a postseason berth that year. At the individual level, Cardello’s 2013 squad produced an All-American and three all-conference honorees.

A Litchfield, New Hampshire native, Cardello was a former assistant coach at UMass Lowell from 2009-11, where he raised the team’s batting average from .229 to .311 in one season as the program’s hitting coach. Formerly a two-year assistant coach at Tufts University from 2007-09, he was part of a coaching staff that led the Jumbos to an 85-13 record, two NCAA Tournament berths and one World Series trip in two seasons.

Cardello currently own the Play the Game indoor baseball and softball facility in Manchester. He also coached the ASA’s Granite State Gamers and the Nashua High School softball program over the last three years.

A graduate of Southern New Hampshire, he is the only freshman in school history to win the team’s Most Valuable Player award.  Cardello is married to his wife Cheryl and has two children, Haleigh, 14, and James, 12.

We will also have coaches from Southern New Hampshire University, Bentley University, and St. Anselm College here offering instruction, direction, and sharing their experience.

College Coaches Clinic – Eastern Connecticut State University – 11/08/14

Diana Pepin - ECSU

Softball Head Coach – Diana Pepin – ECSU

We are extremely pleased to announce that Softball Head Coach at Eastern Connecticut State University, Diana Pepin, will be here at Play the Game in Manchester, NH on Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 9:00am-12:00pm. She will be leading a clinic in hitting and offense for Softball players ages 14 and up. This is a very special opportunity to receive instruction, observe practice planning, experience stations geared towards offensive development, and get a glimpse into the experienced mind of a 5-time Little East Conference Coach of the Year Award winner. I am not kidding when I tell you that spaces are limited, if available at all. The clinic is just $40 and I am sure this will be an experience not to be soon forgotten. Please feel free to contact Jim Cardello to see if there are any available spaces remaining in the first of our College Coaches Clinics.

We don’t have to sell her performance as a coach, instructor, and developer of softball talent; her record does that for her. Read on to see her Bio page on the ECSU Athletics page.

The most successful head coach in the 37-year history of the program,  Diana Pepin has restored the luster to the Eastern Connecticut State University fast-pitch softball program.

Now in her 13th season, Pepin led the program to five consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament between 2008 and 2012 and to regional championships and national tournament appearances in 2010 and ’11.

By averaging just under 40 wins from 2010 through 2012, Pepin has pushed her current overall winning percentage as head coach to 64.6, which ranks second all-time among Eastern softball head coaches.

Pepin has coached (487) and won (314) more games than any of the previous six coaches in  program history, moving to the top in games coached in the national tournament opener on May 20, 2011 against Christopher Newport and becoming the program’s winningest head coach with her 285th victory in a 6-0 home triumph over Ithaca College in the fourth round of the 2012 NCAA regional tournament. In 2013, Pepin was selected Little East Conference Coach-of-the-Year for the second straight season (she shared the honor in 2012) and for the fifth time in eight years after directing the Warriors to their fourth straight conference regular-season title (Eastern has finished with a share of the title five times in the last six years) and the top seed in the LEC tournament for the fourth straight time.

Beginning with her first Coach-of-the-Year award in 2006, Pepin is 92-20 in LEC regular-season play (82.1 percent) and averages 11.5 wins per game (out of a possible 14.0).

In 2012, Pepin became the first coach in program history to be recognized as ECAC New England Division III Coach-of-the-Year after leading the Warriors to an historic season of 44 wins in 47 contests which included a 36-1 regular-season mark and record 40-game win streak which extended through the opening round of the regional tournament. She was also voted as LEC Coach-of-the-Year  for the third time in five years and fourth time overall since 2006.

In 2011, Pepin became the first coach in 19 years to direct the Warriors to consecutive 30-win seasons. The 2010 team matched the program season (broken in 2012) record of 39 victories, and followed with 35 in 2011. The consecutive trips to the national tournament were also the program’s first in 19 years. In 2011, Pepin and her coaching staff were recognized as regional Coaching Staff-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association (NFCA).

Pepin led the program to a breakthrough season in 2008, the Warriors posting their highest win total in 14 years and returning to the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time during her tenure. They followed that up in 2009 by earning a second straight at-large bid to the NCAA tournament — the first time since 1994 that the club experienced consecutive NCAA berths.

In 2010, the Warriors re-gained a piece of their glorious past by winning their  12th NCAA regional title and chalking up a third-place finish in the NCAA Division III national tournament at Eau Claire, WI.  Additional achievements in 2010 included a first-ever Little East Conference tournament title, and a No. 1 ranking in New England throughout the majority of the season. Pepin was also singled out as LEC Coach-of-the-Year for the third time in the last five years.

Pepin has directed her alma mater to eight consecutive 20-win seasons — nine in the last ten years — and at least a share of the LEC regular-season title five times in the last six years — including outright regular-season titles from 2010 through 2012 — and a regular-season finish of second or better six times since 2006. In 2012, the Warriors followed up two straight 13-1 LEC regular-season showings with a perfect 14-0 ledger — the first season of conference perfection by any team through the first 18 years of LEC play.

Pepin is a 1992 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University and a former four-year letterwinner in the softball program, which is the most successful intercollegiate fastpitch softball program in New England history.

In 2008, Pepin was named Little East Conference Coach-of-the-Year for the second time in three seasons after leading the Warriors to a share of their first LEC regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Picked to finish fourth in the LEC pre-season coaches’poll in 2009,  Eastern won a program-record 12 of 14 regular-season LEC games and swept defending conference and regional champion Rhode Island College on the final day of the regular season to earn a piece of the regular-season title.

Named  on an at-large basis to their 15th NCAA tournament in 2008 – but first since 1998 – the Warriors proved their worth by posting two straight one-run wins after an opening loss in the New York Regional Tournament, one of which eliminated top-seeded and No. 5 nationally-ranked Montclair State University.

Pepin was named the program’s head coach in the spring of 2001 and in only her second full season, returned the Warriors to post-season play when they were named to the ECAC New England Division III tournament.

In 2006, the Willimantic native was named LEC Coach-of-the-Year for the first time. That season, the Warriors shared the Little East Conference lead in regular-season wins (11) and earned the No. 2 LEC tournament seed despite being picked for fourth in the coaches’ pre-season poll.

Pepin was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter as an infielder in the softball program between 1988 and 1991, helping the Warriors to four regional championships, the championship round of three national tournaments, and the 1990 NCAA Division III national championship.

“I had a tremendous experience as a student and a player at Eastern,” states Pepin, “and I want the new generation of players to have the same opportunity that I was afforded. Eastern is a great place for student-athletes to grow and make the most of their college experience.”

Pepin directs a series of fundamental, hitting and pitching clinics each February and March. In the summer of 2008, she served as hitting coach for the Lowell, MA-based New England Riptide in National Pro Fastpitch. In recent years, she has presented at the Mohegan Sun World Softball Coaches’ Convention along with Olympic Gold medalists Cat Osterman and Jennie Finch and former UCLA head coach Sue Enquist.

In addition to holding a B.A. Degree in Sociology, Pepin holds a B.S. in Physical Education from Eastern and an. M.S. Degree in Physical Education from Central Connecticut State University.

Diana Pepin Coaching Record

For more information about any of the clinics email Jim Cardello.