The 2016 NCAC Softball Tournament is set for Friday and Saturday, May 6-7, at DePauw University. The Tigers earned the right to host the two-day event after winning the NCAC championship for the fourth year in a row.
As the top seed, DePauw (14-0, 24-13) meets fourth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (9-7, 15-19) in the opening round of the double elimination tournament on Friday at 12:00 PM. Second-seeded Wittenberg (13-3, 29-6) opens the tournament on Friday morning at 10:00 AM with a showdown against third-seeded Denison (11-5, 22-14).
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 and DePauw have each won two titles: Hiram (2009, ‘11) and DePauw (2014, ‘15), while Wittenberg won its lone tourney title in 2003.
ALLEGHENY went 2-2 on the final week of the season, earning a pair of non-conference, five-inning wins over Grove City on Thursday, before dropping a pair on Friday to Ohio Wesleyan. In the Grove City twinbill, freshman Paige Blinkiewicz (Kalamazoon, MI/Norrix) had a monster day, going 4-for-6 with three home runs - including a game one grand slam - and eight RBI. Freshman Kala Mahen (Mercer, PA/Lakeview) and junior Miranda Arison (New Salem, PA/Brownsville) each threw complete-game, two-hitters, with Mahen striking out eight and Arison seven.
DENISON clinched the No. 3 seed in the NCAC Tournament after sweeping Hiram to close out the regular season. Junior Ryan Lee (Willmette, IL/New Trier) went 4-for-8 (.500) with three runs scored and two doubles in the wins over the Terriers on Saturday. Lee is hitting .295 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 36 starts.
DEPAUW swept Denison last week to earn the top-seed in the NCAC Tournament and capture its fourth-straight conference title. The Tigers are ranked third in the Central Region and have won 19 of their last 21 games. DePauw matched the NCAC record with 14 conference wins in a season.
HIRAM posted a 1-5 record to conclude play in 2016 last week. The Terriers posted a thrilling come-from-behind win in a 4-3 victory over Kenyon on Tuesday. With the bases loaded, senior Jessica Wahl (Akron, OH/Ellet) laced a single into right-center to score two runs and give Hiram the walkoff win. Senior Danielle Latine (Eastlake, OH/North) posted a .429 batting average in the Terriers six games.
KENYON played four games last week and came away with a 1-3 record. The Ladies were swept Monday by Capital, losing game one 7-1 and game two 8-5. The Ladies returned to action Tuesday and split a doubleheader at Hiram. Kenyon took game one, 10-3, and then lost game two, 4-3. For the week sophomore Nicole Horita (San Mateo, CA/Aragon) hit .533 (8-for-15) with three runs scored and a stolen base.
OBERLIN dropped its final six games of the season, which included league DH’s on the road at Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster. Junior catcher Grace Evans (Arlington, VA/ HB Woodland) had eight hits and scored three runs over the final three games to finish the season with a team-best batting average of .347.
OHIO WESLEYAN registered a 4-0 week in NCAC play to close out the regular season and earned the fourth-seed in the conference Tournament. 2016 marks the second time in the last three years OWU has qualified for the NCAC Tournament. The Bishops swept Oberlin on Tuesday and then took a pair of games from Allegheny Saturday. Senior Sarah Flint (Westerville, OH/St. Francis DeSales) led the way for OWU, batting .571 from the plate (8-for14), with five runs scored, eight RBI, two doubles and 10 total bases.
WITTENBERG earn the second seed in the NCAC Tournament after sweeping both Wooster and Hiram last week to close out the regular season with a 13-3 record in conference play. Freshman Katy Baumgartner (Fishers, IN/Cathedral) hit .462 from the plate (6-for-13) with four RBI on the week. Abby Haab (Dublin, OH/Jerome) earned a pair of victories in the circle for the Tigers, while striking out 11 in 11 innings of total work.
WOOSTER seniors Kasey Fiedler (Pittsburgh, PA/Chartiers Valley) and Marissa Gorvet (Youngstown, OH/Cardinal Mooney) made their last collegiate games memorable with an RBI double and RBI single in the bottom of the second inning to put the Fighting Scots ahead 2-1 of an eventual 9-4 win in the first game against Oberlin last Saturday. Chelsea Copley (Bidwell, OH/River Valley) later added her second home run of the year in the nightcap. Wooster had a pair of heartbreaking 1-run losses at Wittenberg on Thursday.