Holt-Kelsch Promoted to Associate Head Coach

Photo Credit: Michael Scott
Photo Credit: Michael Scott

KINGSTON, R.I. - Rhode Island softball head coach Bridget Hurlman announced that Mary Holt-Kelsch has been promoted to Associate Head Coach for the Rams.

Rhode Island is coming off a 17-win season, the most victories for URI since 2011. Since taking over a three-win team, Hurlman and Holt-Kelsch have steadily rebuilt the program.

"Mary has had a tremendous impact on our program in her four seasons here," Hurlman said. "Her hard work as a recruiter has brought in the type of student-athletes who have changed the attitude and culture of our program. Our offense has made significant improvement each season, and we have positioned this team to contend for an Atlantic 10 Championship."

Holt-Kelsch, who joined Hurlman's staff as an assistant in 2015, has been instrumental in building the team's offense over the last four seasons. Rhode Island had a breakthrough season offensively in 2019, setting single-season program records in home runs (33), slugging percentage (.398) and on-base percentage (.341). The team batting average (.260) was Rhody's highest since 1997, and the fifth highest in program history.

This year's freshman class was one of the strongest in program history. Three different freshman earned A-10 Rookie of the Week honors (Ari Castillo twice, Sami Villarreal and Faith Musselwhite once each). Castillo led the team with eight home runs, while Musselwhite and Susan Harrison had seven apiece, marking the first time in team history the Rams had more than two players with at least seven home runs in the same season. Harrison also was part of the strong 2019 freshman class.

Under the tutelage of Holt-Kelsch, Castillo had one of the best individual seasons in program history. Her .392 batting average was the third-highest single-season average in Rhody history, her .456 on-base percentage is the second best ever and her .657 slugging percentage ranks fourth best in a season in team history. Castillo had eight home runs, 94 total bases, 56 hits, 12 doubles and 89 assists, all figures that rank in URI's single-season top 10 lists. Castillo also earned A-10 Second Team All-All-Conference and All-Rookie Team honors and was joined on the All-Rookie Team by Villarreal.

Rhode Island will look to build on its 2019 campaign. Hurlman brings back nine players who started at least 20 games in the batting order, as well as starting pitchers Sarah Gunderson and Riley Kernan. It will be the most experienced Rhode Island roster in several years.