James Inzana | Head Coach
The 2019 season will mark James Inzana’s second year leading the Norfolk State softball program. He arrived at NSU after spending eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Virginia Wesleyan softball team.
In his first season with the Spartans, NSU improved its overall win total by nine and its MEAC record by five games from the year before. The Spartans finished tied for third in the Northern Division at 10-8 and saw their team ERA drop by a run per game. NSU also improved its team batting average by 19 points while scoring a run more per game than it had the year before Inzana’s arrival.
Three players earned All-MEAC status in 2018 in catcher Kylee Lopez (second team) and first baseman Hunter Halford and second baseman Jaylene Pryor (third team). Lopez helped lead the offensive resurgence, belting a school record 14 home runs as NSU set the school fastpitch record with 38.
Inzana, who worked primarily with the pitching staff, infielders, and hitters at Virginia Wesleyan, was instrumental in the Marlins capturing their first ever NCAA title in 2017 and the second overall national team title in the history of the athletics department. The Marlins won a national record 54 games and led the nation with a 0.80 ERA in 2017.
Freshman pitcher Hanna Hull led the nation in wins (32) and ERA (0.51) and was second in the nation with 372 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .123 batting average. She was named both the Schutt/NFCA National Player of the Year and National Freshman of the Year in addition to capturing the ODAC Pitcher and Rookie of the Year awards.
Inzana helped guide the Marlins to ODAC titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. The 2013 team finished the season with a 41-8 mark and an appearance in the NCAA Regional title game. The 2016 squad won 38 games and earned the first national No. 1 ranking in school history. The Marlins were consistently ranked in the top 25 during his time with the program.
His pitching staffs were among the nation’s best throughout his career, earning top 20 rankings in ERA on an annual basis. The 2016 squad posted a 1.11 ERA, the second-best mark in the country. Marlin pitchers, under his leadership, won a total of seven ODAC Pitcher of the Year awards in his eight seasons at Wesleyan. In 2016, Kandis Kresinske claimed ODAC Pitcher of the Year, ODAC Rookie of the Year, and Schutt/NFCA National Freshman of the Year.
He coach a total of 12 All-Americans during his time at Wesleyan: Tori Higginbotham (2012, 2013, 2014), Kristina Kargiorgis (2012, 2015), Courtney Bogan (2015, 2016), Kresinske (2016), Cassetty Howerin (2016, 2017), Hull (2017), and Kiersten Richardson (2017). In addition, Marlin players earned 30 All-Region accolades and 47 All-ODAC honors during his time. They also captured four VaSID State Pitcher of the Year awards and were named VaSID All-State a total of 32 times.
Inzana has over 30 years of softball coaching experience in Hawaii, California, South Carolina and Virginia. His 2003 travel team placed 14th nationally while his 2006 team won the Virginia state championship.
Prior to his arrival at Virginia Wesleyan, he served as an assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Deep Creek High School from 2001-08.
Inzana retired from active duty in the United States Navy in 2005 after 20 years of service. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education and computer information systems from Liberty in 2009 and a graduate degree in sports management from Liberty in 2012.
Inzana and his wife Tina reside in Chesapeake. The pair have three daughters, Jaimee, Katy and Lindsey, and three grandchildren, Kyleigh, Payton and Julian.
Melissa Scata | Assistant Coach
Melissa Scata enters her first season as an assistant coach with the Norfolk State softball team in 2019. She made her return to the collegiate game after spending the previous several years as an AAU coach and a private instructor.
From 2015-18, Scata coached the Brand New Ballgame Hornets fastpitch 16U and 18U teams. She served as an instructor at Brand New Ballgame in her home state of Massachusetts from 2013-18 as well.
She spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, from 2013-14. During her time there, the Colonels finished 49-35, including 21-15 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).
In those two seasons, seven players earned either first- or second-team all-conference honors. An additional six players were named honorable mention, and in 2014, Marissa Bruno was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. Curry College saw its team batting average jump by 30 points from Scata’s first to her second year there.
She served as the head softball coach at Concord Academy from 2010-11 and her alma mater Medway High School in 2012. In addition, she was the JV field hockey coach at Medway from 2010-12. Prior to her time at Brand New Ballgame, she served as an instructor at Sluggers Academy in 2012.
A four-year letterwinner from 2005-08 at Keene State College in New Hampshire, Scata still holds the school’s all-time home run record with 27. She also ranks second in RBI (123) and fourth in slugging (.592).
As a catcher, she was a three-time All-Little East Conference honoree, including first-team in 2005 and ’06 and second-team in ’08. She was also an NEISCA (New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association) Division III All-Star. Scata led Keene State to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and ’07, and the ’05 team set the school record with a 34-8 record.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management from Keene State in 2008.
Mike Johnson | Assistant Coach
Mike Johnson will enter his second season as an assistant coach with the Norfolk State softball program in 2019. The Spartans finished 10-8 in the MEAC and tied for third in the Northern Division in Johnson’s first season.
NSU also improved its win total by nine in 2018, while Kylee Lopez, Hunter Halford and Jaylene Pryor all earned All-MEAC status during Johnson’s first season as assistant coach.