Eight Teams Begin Pursuit Of AMC Softball Championship This Weekend

Eight Teams Begin Pursuit Of AMC Softball Championship This Weekend

Thu, Apr. 27, 2017 - [Softball]

Courtesy of American Midwest Conference

ST. LOUIS, Mo – Despite Mother Nature threatening to interfere with the proceedings, the American Midwest Conference Softball Championship is scheduled to be contested this weekend, and while the eight participating teams may have to dodge a few raindrops, there promises to be plenty of excitement in the four AMC quarterfinal series. 

The best-of-three sets are slated to be hosted by the top four seeds in the AMC Championship, with the winners of each series to advance to the Championship final site at Freed-Hardeman University on May 4-5.

#8 Lyon College Scots at #1 Columbia College Cougars

Not much slowed down the Cougars in the AMC this season. Columbia rolled to a 23-1 record in the AMC in 2017, as the Cougars pounded out an average of better than nine runs per game in conference play. The offense has been supported by an incredible cast of five starters who are hitting .400 or better on the season, led by Molly Carter who has a slash line of .465/.494/.866 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and an OPS of 1.360 in 43 games. She also has 32 extra base hits, including 12 home runs, and 72 RBIs. Teammate Carly Spalding leads the club with 68 runs scored, and she is a perfect 47-for-47 in stolen base attempts.

The Cougars have pitched well too, with Lauren McCroskie and Paxton Welch each winning at least 16 games and posting an ERA of 1.42 or better. The two have split their innings nearly evenly, with Welch having five more outs to her credit than her teammate.

The Scots have hit well this season as well, as six regulars have batting averages of .300 or higher. They have had to manufacture runs to do damage this season, as they have only nine homers and three triples to their credit. They are led by Katelyn Thomason who has 22 RBIs on the year, and Rachel Norman has the most runs scored for the Scots with 35. Norman also has all three triples the Scots have hit, and she is 22-for-25 in stolen bases.

The Scots will rely on Nicole Sanders and Kaitlyn Guevara in the circle, and both have met with moderate success this season. Sanders leads the team with 12 wins, and she has limited opponents to a .258 batting average and she has 134 strikeouts in 153 innings of work. Both pitchers have four shutouts on the season, and they have finished their own starts 80-percent of the time.

#7 Hannibal-LaGrange University Trojans at #2 Williams Baptist College Lady Eagles

The Lady Eagles have made their living in 2017 on the strength of pitching and defense. WBC has limited opponents to a team batting average of .195 and an OPS of .518. The have allowed only 33 extra base hits to their opponents this season, and their defense has fielded the ball at an incredible .972 clip as a team – the best mark in the AMC.

In the circle, the tandem of Lauren Helmich and Rylee Rogers lead the way. Helmich, a freshman, has a 14-3 record with an ERA of 1.00, and she has given up only 24 runs on the season in 111 innings pitched. Rogers has been nearly as impressive, with a 12-6 record and a 1.95 ERA. The duo has combined to start 33 games, and they have 21 complete games, 10 shutouts, five additional combined shutouts, and a save.

Offensively, Helmich, Madelyn Poe, and Brooke Mason have shouldered the bulk of the load. The three top hitters for the Eagles among regulars, the trio has a combined total of 13 doubles, a triple, eight homers, 68 RBIs and 72 runs scored.

The Trojans are led offensively by Haley Zeier. Zeier leads the team in average (.417) hits (50) and doubles (9). She has also hit three homers, scored 16 times, and driven in 23. Shelby Miller leads the Trojans with 27 runs scored, and Jordyn Alford leads the team with 27 RBIs.

Madison Ingram has carried the mantle in the circle for Hannibal-LaGrange. She has thrown nearly half of the total innings pitched by HLGU this season, and she is 12-4 in 21 appearances. She has the only two shutouts thrown by the Trojans this season, and she has limited opponents to a .258 team batting average.

#6 William Woods University Owls at #3 Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions

The only team to allow fewer runs in the 2017 regular season than Williams Baptist, Freed-Hardeman limited their opponents to 69 tallies in 31 games. Makenzie Prince has been the Lady Lions’ leader in the circle, putting together an 8-4 record with a 1.37 ERA. She has six complete games in 13 starts, and opponents have hit only .184 against her. Mallory Spurlock has very respectable numbers when toeing the slab this season, as she is 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA and a .201 opponents’ batting average.

Caitlyn Carter has been outstanding for the Lady Lions at the plate again this season as well. She is hitting .456 through the end of the regular season, and she has an outlandish .509 on-base percentage. Kaylyn Graham is hitting .342 with 21 RBIs, and Annaka Baxter has a .330 average with 20 knocked in. The trio shared the team lead with two homers apiece, and they have hit six of the eight round trippers for the Lady Lions this season.

William Woods has looked to Hannah Campbell to light the first offensively this season, and she has delivered in a big way. Campbell is hitting .408 with 45 runs scored, nine triples, 25 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases. Beth Begemann has contributed with a .348 average and 29 RBIs, and Brailee Schulte leads the ballclub with 11 doubles and 30 driven in.

Sierra Jacques leads the way in the circle, though her record is only 7-5. She has a 1.94 ERA, and she has limited opponents to a .214 average in 83 innings. Bre Logan and Allison Waskow have also pitched well this season. Logan put up an impressive 7-1 record in nine appearances, and Waskow finished with a record of just 7-10, but she threw the most innings for the Owls, striking out 62 in 114.2 innings. The trio each had three shutouts, and the Owls blanked their opponents 11 times in total this season.

#5 Park University Pirates at #4 Lindenwood University-Belleville Lady Lynx

Lindenwood-Belleville is led by arguable the best dual-threat player in the AMC, Taylor Winn. Winn hit .391 with a dozen homers in 151 at bats, scoring 29 times and driving in 45 runs. She also walked 20 times and stole 11 bases in 11 tries. As good as she was at the plate, Winn was arguably more impressive in the circle. She racked up a record of 23-5 in 37 appearances, posting an ERA on 1.84 and allowing opponents to hit only .200 in 194.1 innings while striking out 202. She had 18 complete games, including nine shutouts, and on top of all of that, she added three saves.

Madison Mountain and Riley Wells were also key to the offense of the Lady Lynx. Mountain hit .365 and scored 27 runs while stealing 23 bases; and Wells hit .333 with a team-high 15 sacrifice hits, 24 runs scored, and 20 steals. Kaitlin Grohman struck out 101 in 105 innings pitched, recording 16 wins and posting a 2.93 ERA.

Park boasted the best hitter by average in the AMC this season, as Mallory Land led the AMC with a .513 average. She also posted an almost unbelievable .566 on-base percentage, as she led the Pirates with 32 runs scored and 43 RBIs. Land had 19 doubles and four homers. Justice Scales (.333), Brooke Kunkel (.322), Katie Carr (.319) and Sarah Rothe (.316) all were also regulars in the Pirates lineup who hit in excess of .300.

Scotlin Hurley was the Pirates number one arm statistically during the season. She put up a record of 11-6 with a 2.46 ERA and 5 complete games, including the Pirates only three shutouts. Shelby Bendure did throw more innings than Hurley, but Hurley had a better than 2-to-1 strike out to walk ratio, and she held opponents to .289 at the plate.

The series will take place as double-headers on day one of the set, with the if necessary game as a single contest on the second day of competition. The host team will be the home team and bat last in the first and third games of the series, with the traveling team getting last raps in game two. The winners of the series will advance to the AMC Championship final site at Freed-Hardeman University on May 4-5, where they will be re-seeded for a double-elimination bracket. Follow the progress of the Championship, including links to live coverage of each game along with box scores, recaps, and more at the official home of the AMC Softball Championship here.