2014 SCAC Softball Championship - Preview

2014 SCAC Softball Championship - Preview

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – The 2014 SCAC Softball Championship opens up on Friday, April 25th and runs through Sunday, April 27th on the campus of Texas Lutheran Univeristy in Seguin, Texas. Official Website | Interactive Bracket

Championship play will open up at Noon as Schreiner University will take on Austin College with the winner advancing to play the host school Texas Lutheran at 4 p.m. later that day. Defending champion Southwestern University will battle the University of Dallas at 2 p.m. with the winner contest taking on Trinity University at 6 p.m.

Here is a look at each team heading into the SCAC Softball Tournament:

No. 1 Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs
29-7 Overall, 21-1 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .364 (1st in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 1.96 ERA (1st in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Wade Wilson, 3rd season 

Texas Lutheran enters its first SCAC Tournament as a member of the conference. It has already been a memorable year for the Bulldogs, as the program has taken home SCAC titles in football and women's basketball and the softball team looks to add a third trophy to the school's display case. Texas Lutheran is seeking its first conference championship and first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the sport of softball. The Bulldogs earned the right to host the tournament by virtue of being the top SCAC team in the regular season, compiling a 21-1 conferernce mark.

Texas Lutheran is one of the top hitting team in the nation, averaging nearly eight runs a game and driving in 214 runs on the season. Sophomore Taylor Yancey leads the way with a .356 batting average to go with a conference-leading 17 doubles, five home runs, and 39 RBIs. Junior Ashley Jacobsen adds a staggering .489 batting average to lead the league and has also produced 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 32 RBIs (second in the SCAC) on the season. Nine different Bulldogs who have played in at least 20 games this season have a batting average over .300.

In the circle, TLU is led by sophomore Taylor Grissom who leads the SCAC with a 1.07 ERA. In 10 starts, Grissom has compiled a 7-2 record including four complete game shutouts and a combined shutout, a perfect game, and 35 strikeouts to only 11 walks while holding opponents to a .220 batting average.

Texas Lutheran has three other pitchers that all have ERAs under 2.50 including freshman Amanda Lochte (1.75 ERA, 6-1), junior Kimberly Leschber (2.10 ERA, 8-2), and freshman Samantha Yenne (2.33 ERA, 7-2). All four pitchers will see action throughout the weekend as the Bulldogs look to win the SCAC title at their brand new home, Morck Field at Ed Kruse Stadium, which was opened on March 27th.

No. 2 Trinity University Tigers
23-16 Overall, 18-6 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .324 (3rd in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 2.93 ERA (2nd in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Brandi Crnkovic, 2nd season  

For three straight seasons, Trinity has moved advanced to the SCAC title game; however, each time the Tigers have fallen just short including heartbreaking losses the last two seasons that entailed dropping two games on the final day. Trinity comes in as the second-seeded team this season and is in search of its first SCAC softball championship since 2007.

Maybe no pitcher in the league has been hotter in the circle than sophomore Kaci Wellik. She enters the tournament with a 12-8 record in 19 starts including six shutouts, a 2.52 ERA, and 100 strikeouts to only 16 walks. Her 12 wins are first in the conference and her 100 strikeouts are second overall. Even more impressive, in Wellik's last five starts, the sophomore has tossed five complete games (all wins) while allowing no runs and only seven total hits and striking out 30. 

Sophomore Katie Castillon has also been great for the Tigers, coming in with a 10-8 record in 20 starts and a 2.97 ERA. She has a no-hitter on the season and has struck out 86 batters.

Freshman Sarah Paller has been the leader of the Trinity offense, hitting .373 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 21 RBIs. Junior Caitlynn Dykes, the 2012 SCAC Player of the Year, returns to the SCAC championship with a .368 average including seven doubles, three triples, two home runs, and a team leading 28 RBIs.

No. 3 Southwestern University Pirates
15-19-1 Overall, 11-9 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .334 (2nd in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 4.61 ERA (4th in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Angela Froboese, 6th season

The defending SCAC champions return to the tournament in 2014, looking to defend its crown. Southwestern has built quite the program since starting the sport of softball in 2009. Under head coach Angela Froboese, the Pirates have won two SCAC championships with two NCAA Regional appearances. Although the 2014 season has produced an atypical overall record for the Pirates, a nice tournament run could make up for what has thus far been a disappointing season in Georgetown.

Offensively, it is business as usual for Southwestern as the team feature several strong hitters. The Pirates are led by senior Karen Ramirez, who boasts a .356 average to go with nine doubles, one triple, four home runs, 23 RBIs, and 34 runs scored. Fellow senior Tessa Galloway is hitting .388 on the year including a team leading 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 23 RBIs. 

A young Pirate pitching staff is led by freshman Nicole Gibbs who has made 26 starts on the season and has an 8-14 record including two no-hitters on the year. Gibbs has a 3.91 ERA to go with 10 complete games and 34 strikeouts. Fellow freshman Cozette Palmer has made 21 appearances on the season and has a 6-4 record to go with 50 strikeouts.

No. 4 Schreiner Univerity Mountaineers
17-23 Overall, 10-14 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .271 (5th in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 5.78 ERA (6th in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Jessica Peterka, 2nd season

The other newcomer in the SCAC, Schreiner University will also make its inaugural appearance in the championships this weekend. The Mountaineer squad will seek to mimic its fellow spring sports program, men's golf, who is are fresh off earning Schreiner its first-ever SCAC title in any sport. This Schreiner softball team is seeking its first conference title since winning the inaugural ASC championship in 1999.

Offensively, the Mountaineers are led by senior Victoria Alcozer who is hitting .330 on the season to go with a team leading seven doubles, one triple, one home run, 20 RBIs, and 26 runs scored on the season. Freshman Stormie Lutz is having an impressive rookie season, hitting .333 on the year with five doubles, two triples, one home run, and 20 RBIs. 

Another freshman has made a huge impact for a team that won just three games a year ago in Destiny Rodriguez. Rodriguez has made 21 starts on the season and boasts an 11-9 record with 16 complete games. Rodriguez has 87 strikeouts on the year and has a 4.27 ERA. Freshman Dominique Sandoval has the most appearances after Rodriguez with 10 starts, picking up two wins on the year.

No. 5 Austin College 'Roos
17-22 Overall, 8-16 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .290 (4th in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 3.88 ERA (3rd in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Andrea Vangoss, 2nd season

Austin College returns to the SCAC championships for the third straight season, looking to make a splash in 2014 and bring home its first SCAC softball title. The 'Roos needed a strong final regular season weekend to punch their ticket and got just that, taking three out of four from the University of Dallas to move into this weekend's championship play.

Austin College has a strong attack inside the circle led by Sophia Hernandez. The sophomore has made 16 starts on the season, compiling an 8-10 record including 14 complete games, 65 strikeouts, and a 3.61 ERA. She is joined by freshman Victoria Herrera, the SCAC leader and now Austin College all-time leader in strikeouts with 115. She has a 9-12 record on the year with a 4.13 ERA.

Offensively, Hernandez is hitting .328 with seven doubles, three triples, five home runs, and 29 RBIs to go with 29 runs scored. Her twin sister, Briana Hernandez, is equally dangerous at the plate with a .339 average including six doubles, one triple, four home runs, and 27 RBIs. 

No. 6 University of Dallas Crusaders
11-27 Overall, 7-15 SCAC 
Team Hitting: .256 (6th in the SCAC)
Team Pitching: 5.48 ERA (5th in the SCAC)
Head Coach: Beth Krysiak, 1st season 

In the two seasons the University of Dallas has been in the SCAC, the Crusaders had won a total of one game in the conference play. In 2014, first-year head coach Beth Krysiak led the Crusaders to seven wins in SCAC play and 11 overall wins to push Dallas into the SCAC Tournament as the team looks to build off its turnaround regular season and make a splash this weekend.

Sophomore Erin Begle is having a terrific season for Dallas, hitting .347 with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs, 23 RBIs, and 22 runs scored. Freshman Lyda Tesauro leads the Crusaders with a .449 averaged including seven doubles, three triples, and 15 RBIs. Freshman Alex Compte leads the conference with six home runs.

Much of Dallas' success can be credited to the terrific rookie season from pitcher Katherine Lee. The freshman has started in 16 games, picking up five wins on the year, and adding 73 strikeouts to only 24 walks and a 2.91 ERA. Freshman Chloe Campise has also picked up five wins on the season in 17 starts and added 23 strikeouts.

For complete coverage of the 2014 SCAC Softball Championships, including links to live stats, live video, interactive brackets, and much more, click here: