Softball finalizes coaching staff as team prepares for spring season

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Sports Editor

Iona softball announced the hiring of a new assistant coach Aaron Ballmer to complete the staff on Oct. 25.  

Ballmer joins the staff after a year at Chadron State College as an assistant coach. His other previous coaching experience was at Franklin Pierce as a graduate assistant for their softball program, and at Brown University as a strength and conditioning intern.  

The St. Bonaventure University graduate’s most notable prior experience was for the Detroit Tigers as a seasonal video operation assistant, which focuses on scouting and video analysis of opponents to help with the team’s preparation.  

Balmer’s addition comes after the return of Iona pitching coach Darren Rea, who helped Iona’s pitching staff place within the top-five of numerous statistics in the conference in his first year in 2019. He will look to return his staff to form after they posted one of the worst earned-run-averages in the league last year.  

The Gaels are looking to build on last seasons success, as they finished in third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference but were upset by sixth seed Manhattan in the quarterfinals stage.  

Regardless of the disappointing outcome, Iona took home three major awards from the conference last season, with senior Jessica Chilcott earning the MAAC Player of the Year award, senior Kara Zazzaro notching MAAC Pitcher of the Year, and freshman Jamie Sheeran being named MAAC Rookie of the Year.  

All three of these players were invaluable assets to a team that won 22 games last season. Chilcott, Zazzaro, and Sheeran will all be returning for the 2022 season. This nucleus of key contributors should help make first-year head coach Alyssa Tiumalu’s job a bit easier in the spring.