|COLLEGE SOFTBALL: TIOGA SENIOR CULVER SIGNS TO PLAY AT DIVISION II CALDWELL UNIVERSITY (2017-12-03)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Tioga senior Mariah Culver will continue her career on the softball diamond at Caldwell University next fall after signing her letter-of-intent to attend the Division II program here Friday afternoon in a brief ceremony in the high school library.
Culver said the campus and Caldwell coach Dean Johnson’s pursuit of her made it an easy decision to attend the New Jersey school of higher learning.
“I knew as soon as I got there, it was a great school for me,” said Culver. “It was the perfect size, I’ve never really liked anything too big.
“And coach (Johnson) was really welcoming,” she added. “He has been at a lot of my (Conklin Raiders) games. It’s good to know that he really wants me there.”
Culver said she’ll be solely a pitcher at the next level.
“I’ll just be pitching. I didn’t hit much playing travel ball, so that’s all (coach Johnson) saw me do,” she noted.
“I definitely have to work on getting my (velocity) going again,” Culver added.
Culver’s coach at Tioga, Heather Klossner, is confident in her ability.
“I think she’ll be very successful at the next level,” said Klossner. “I think she’ll get more time at Division II, which will be a good thing for her. It will make the transition into college a little easier.
“I think Caldwell is a good fit for her,” she noted.
Klossner added Culver just needs to fine-tune her pitching arsenal.
“Aside from stamina, I think she needs to work a little on the control of her spins,” said Klossner. “She throws hard enough, but there is the finesse side to pitching.”
Caldwell University is a member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. One of their biggest rivals is Dominican College, which features Waverly grad Shailei Kraft, who was a teammate of Culver’s on the Conklin Gold, along with Athens grad Aubrey Allen (currently playing at West Chester U.) and Athens senior Emma Adams.
“It’s definitely going to be neat playing against (Shailei). I haven’t seen her in a long time,” said Culver. “It’s very exciting, I really forward to playing against her.”
Her days with the Conklin Gold will be beneficial at the next level, says Culver.
“We played some great teams, teams that were ranked second and third in the nation,” said Culver. “I think it’s helped me prepare for college ball.”
Caldwell University was 45-15 in 2017, won the conference championship, and advanced to the NCAA East Region 2 Tournament. Coach Johnson has 716 wins in his 22 seasons.
“I am really excited about college, and playing college ball,” said Culver.
IN PHOTO 1: Tioga’s Mariah Culver. IN PHOTO 2: From left, father Tony Culver, Mariah Culver, sister Kayla Culver, and mother Amy Culver. IN PHOTO 3: Seated, from left: father Tony Culver, Mariah Culver, sister Kayla Culver, and mother Amy Culver. Standing, from left: 12U travel softball coach Bob Fox, Tioga varsity softball coach Heather Klossner, and Tioga JV softball coach Kim Pesesky. IN PHOTO 4: Seated, from left: father Tony Culver, Mariah Culver, sister Kayla Culver, and mother Amy Culver. Standing, from left: 12U travel softball coach Bob Fox, Debbie Moe, cousin Amelia Major, cousin Sydney Knickerbocker, aunt Kim Swansbrough, and cousin Shawna Swansbrough. …. PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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