The 2015 NCAC Softball Tournament is set for Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, at DePauw University. The Tigers earned the right to host the two-day event after winning the NCAC championship with a regular season mark of 14-2 in league play. 2014 marks the third-straight NCAC softball title for DePauw.
The double-elimination tournament continues on Friday afternoon with the winners of the days’ first two games squaring off for a slot in the championship round at 2:00 PM, while the losers of the opening-round games will meet on Friday at 4:00 PM in an elimination game, with the winner moving on to face the loser of Friday’s third game at 11:00 AM on Saturday morning to determine the final slot in the championship round. Saturday’s championship round will be played at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM (if necessary).
Since the inception of the NCAC Softball Tournament in the 2001 season, Denison has claimed six tournament titles (2001-02, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12). Allegheny is second with four tourney titles (2004-05, ‘07, ‘13), Hiram has won two titles (2009, ‘11) and Wittenberg (2003) and DePauw (2014) with one each.
ALLEGHENY went 4-3-1 on the final week of the regular season. On Wednesday, the Gators topped Oberlin 9-1 in the opener, before the nightcap was declared a 9-9 tie after being halted in the eighth inning due to the combination of darkness and a heavy snow squall. The Gators then swept Kenyon, 11-5 and 5-2, in a pivotal NCAC slate on Saturday, before closing the week with a pair of shutout losses to Case. Caitlin Nealer (New Kensington, PA/Valley) led the way both offensively and in the circle, batting .588 (10-for-17) in the six games, with five doubles and six RBIs, while she went 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 51 strikeouts. Taylor Massart (Sarver, PA/Freeport) batted an even .400 (6-for-15), with two doubles and her first career grand slam, in game one versus Kenyon.
DENISON entered the week needing to win all six NCAC games left on its schedule to qualify for the NCAC Tournament. The Big Red not only went 6-0, they outscored the opposition 69-22 in those games. During that stretch Denison hit .489 as a team while boasting a 3.69 ERA. Overall DU raised their batting average 44 points from .276 to .320. In six conference games last week, sophomore Ryan Lee (Wilmette, IL/New Trier) hit .571 (12-for-21) with two doubles and eight RBI. Including the non-conference doubleheader with Capital, Lee posted a .536 average with 12 RBI, two doubles, one triple and nine runs scored while starting all eight games at shortstop. Lee raised her average 66 points to .352 last week. In the pitching circle, freshman Lauren Secaras (Wilmette, IL/New Trier) went 5-0 in six appearances in the circle this week. In 30.1 innings pitched she posted a 2.54 ERA and allowed 11 earned runs while striking out 16. All four of her starts this week resulted in complete game victories.
DEPAUW went 4-0 last week to improve to 25-12. The Tiger’s 14 NCAC wins set a conference record. For the week, the Tigers batted .319 and held the opponents to just .186. DePauw was 18-of-18 in stolen bases. The Tigers’ 111 stolen bases has broken the NCAC record of 81.
HIRAM went 1-7 over the last week to close out the 2015 season with a 9-23 record, 5-11 in NCAC play. Junior Meghan Garland (Mineral Ridge, OH/Mineral Ridge) led the Terriers last week, going 6-for-19 at the plate and also pitching in every game, going the distance in four of them. Senior Janie Linger (Akron, OH/Firestone) and junior Nicole Hoy (Brunswick, OH/Brunswick) each blasted homers during the week.
KENYON finished the year with a program record 29 wins, marking the third-straight season Kenyon has won at least 22 games, a first in Ladies softball history. Senior Maddy Stark (Glenview, IL/ Glenbrook South) finished her senior year with a team-high 55 hits, 35 RBI and also posted a 19-7 record in the circle for the Ladies.
OBERLIN closed out the 2015 season with a 6-26-2 record, 3-12-1 in league action after posting a 2-3-1 record last week. The Yeowomen were led on the year by Katie Pieplow (Rescue, CA/Ponderosa), who finished her senior year with 30 hits and 16 RBI.
OHIO WESLEYAN posted a 4-2 record over the final week of the regular season which included a sweep of NCAC foe Hiram. The Bishops finish the 2015 season with a record of 15-21, including a 4-12 mark in NCAC play. 2015 marks the seventh time in the last eight years that Ohio Wesleyan has won at least 15 games.
WITTENBERG went 3-3 in a busy week, falling twice to DePauw by 4-3 scores, before splitting a non-conference doubleheader with Otterbein, and finishing the week with a two-game sweep of Hiram. Junior Kaela Hughes (Columbus, OH/Watterson) went 6-for-13 on the week with a team-best four RBI, plus three stolen bases. Freshman Chelsea Zang (Cincinnati, OH/Seton) tossed seven shutout innings for a complete-game victory against Hiram.
WOOSTER defeated Baldwin Wallace, 6-1, during Monday’s opener, but lost its five other games of the week to finish the season at 15-21.