Playoff Preview: Softball Heads to the CACC Tournament as No. 4 Seed
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - New Castle, DE
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Wilmington goes into the CACC Tournament as the fourth seed for the second straight yearJunior Brooke Berger is hitting .524 since April 11Assistant Coach Lauren Rizzo and senior outfielder Kinsley Parker
Live Stat link for games on Field 1 http://livestats.prestosports.com/cacc/
Live Stat link for games on Field 2 http://livestats.prestosports.com/cacc2/
For the sixth time in the past eight years, the Wilmington University softball team is heading back to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament, this time as the number four seed after recording a program best 18-8 regular season record.
A double-elimination tournament, the Wildcats will face fifth seeded Post University in the first round, starting on Thursday at 12 noon. The entire tournament will be hosted by Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J., playing on two fields located side-by-side on the Lions’ campus.
A pair of CACC squads enter the postseason ranked in the NCAA regional rankings as Caldwell, the tourney’s No. 2 seed, checks in at No. 5 in the latest NCAA East Regional Poll, while Dominican, the regular season champion and No. 1 seed, is slotted at No. 7.
The tournament begins Thursday, April 26 with eight games throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m. Four games are slated for Friday, April 27 and another two, with the possibility of a third, on Saturday, April 28. The winner of the 2012 CACC Softball Tournament will earn the conference’s automatic berth into the 2012 NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
Scouting the No. 4 Wilmington University Wildcats:
Wilmington turned around a slow start to the season and now sit three games above .500 (26-23) after starting their 23-game nonconference trip to Clermont, Fla. with a 4-15 record. The Wildcats began its season long 13 game winning streak with a 5-2 win over Bemidji State on March 9 and closed out the Florida trip with four consecutive wins before returning north.
The Wildcats continued their hot-streak as they opened the CACC schedule, winning its first nine games in the conference and getting back above .500 for the first time since the first game of the season. After a four-game losing streak hiccup, the Wildcats recovered by winning nine of their final 13 CACC games and had a chance to take the number three seed heading into the final conference doubleheader.
Leading the turnaround was a trio of All-CACC performers in Katie Warrington, Shelby Thompson and Jillian Stafford. Warrington and Thompson were named First Team All-CACC while Stafford earned All-CACC Honorable Mention.
Warrington has lost only once since the Bemidji State series and is now 13-7 on the season. She leads the CACC with 183 strikeouts and was voted as the CACC Pitcher of the Week three times, all consecutive weeks, in the season. She also tossed a no-hitter on the year, striking out 11 Holy Family batters and not allowing a hit on March 27. Warrington went 9-1 in the conference. She has a 1.16 ERA in 138.2 innings this year.
Also in the circle for the Wildcats, freshman Chelsea Botsch and sophomore Danielle Griffin have remained formidable backups to Warrington. Botsch, the reigning CACC Pitcher of the Week, is fourth in the CACC with a 2.12 ERA and is 7-7 on the year. She is also fifth by averaging 5.59 strikeouts per game. Griffin has thrown 76 innings and it 6-5 with a 2.67 ERA for the Wildcats, throwing four complete games along the way. She has recorded 38 strikeouts on the year. As a team, the Wildcats have a 2.11 ERA and average 6.63 strikeouts per seven innings.
Thompson leads the team with a .341 batting average and is 10th in the CACC with 58 hits. She carries a seven-game hitting streak into the playoffs and is the table-setter for the Wildcats, scoring a team high 27 runs on the year. Thompson typically comes around to score when Stafford is batting, as Stafford is hitting. 302 with a team high 32 RBI’s, 16 doubles, and tied with Christin Headley with five home runs.
Headley and Brooke Berger hold the two hottest bats on the team coming into the tournament. Since the April 11 doubleheader against University of the Sciences, Berger is hitting .524 (22-for-42) with 10 runs scored while Headley is hitting .450 (18-for-40) with 11 runs scored and seven RBI’s.
Scouting the No. 5 Post University Eagles:
Post also started the season slow in Clermont, Fla., losing nine of their 10 games down south. Before the CACC schedule started, the Eagles found themselves with a 1-11 record.
The Eagles won their first four games of the CACC schedule with sweeps against Philadelphia and Concordia right out of the shoot. After playing around .500 ball in the middle of the CACC season, Post has poured it on late, winning their last four CACC games, and seven of their last 10 conference games overall. They are 16-30 overall, but 14-12 in the CACC.
Junior outfielder Lianna May leads the Eagles as she was the lone representative on the All-CACC list for Post. She was named to the First Team All-CACC after hitting .395 (60-for-152) and a team-high 33 runs. She also leads the team with a .480 slugging percentage and a .465 on0base percentage. May collected a team-best 15-game hitting streak from march 27 through April 18. During the stretch, she tallied eight multi-hit games, including a pair of three-hit outings against Bloomfield. She has hit safely in each of her last 13 CACC games. May has recorded a hit in 24 of 26 CACC matchups this season.
In the circle, the Eagles are led by Ashley Cummings and Johanna Rice who have each appeared in 26 games. Cummings has made 23 starts and edges Rice with 131.2 to 126.2 innings.
Cummings in sixth in the CACC with 86 strikeouts on the year, and has posted an 8-12 record overall. In the CACC, the junior is 6-7 with wins over tournament teams Caldwell, Wilmington and Bloomfield. She has a 3.51 ERA while batters are hitting .277 off the right-hander.
Rice is 6-13 on the year, but all six wins have come against CACC opponents. She defeated Philadelphia, Concordia (twice), Nyack, Bloomfield and Chestnut Hill, finishing with a 4.37 ERA. The junior has recorded 62 strikeouts while only allowing 22 walks. Hitters are batting .326 off the righty.
All-Time Series Record against Post:
Since Wilmington University became full members of NCAA Division II, the Wildcats hold a 9-8 all-time series lead against Post, dating back to their first matchup in 2005. The two teams have split each of the last three season series. Thursday will be only the second time since 2005 the two teams will square off at the CACC Tournament. Wilmington took the first meeting in 2005, a 3-0 decision in eight innings.
All-Time Record at the CACC Tournament:
Since joining the ranks of the NCAA in 2005, the Wildcats have only missed two CACC Tournament (2006 and 2010). Twice the Wildcats have won two games in the double-elimination tournament (2007 and 2011). They have an overall record of 5-10 in five CACC Tournaments.
Season Series vs. CACC Tournament Participants:
#1 Dominican – split – 0-10, 4-3 – W-Warrington; HR-Headley, Painter
#2 Caldwell – split – 1-3, 4-3 – W-Warrington; 2B-Stafford; HR-Headley
#3 Georgian Court – split – 5-2, 0-3 – W-Botsch; 2B-Headley; HR-Stafford, Hassman
#5 Post – split – 4-6, 6-4 – W-Warrington; 2B-Headley, Stafford, Painter, Garvin, Parker; 3B-Berger
#6 Bloomfield – swept – 3-4, 1-9 – 2B-Stafford, Berger (2)
#7 Felician – sweep – 1-0 (8), 7-1 – W-Warrington, W-Griffin; 2B-Stafford; HR-Stafford
#8 Holy Family – sweep – 2-0, 5-4 – W-Warrington (no-hitter), W-Botsch; 2B-Headley
2012 CACC Softball Tournament Game Schedule
Thursday, April 26
Game 1 - #1 – Dominican vs. #8 – Holy Family – 10:00 am – Field 1
Game 2 - #2 - Caldwell vs. #7 - Felician – 10:00 am – Field 2
Game 3 - #3 – Georgian Court vs. #6 - Bloomfield – Noon – Field 1
Game 4 - #4 – Wilmington vs. #5 - Post – Noon – Field 2
Game 5 – Game 1 loser vs. Game 4 loser – 2:00 pm – Field 1
Game 6 – Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser – 2:00 pm – Field 2
Game 7 – Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 4:00 pm – Field 1
Game 8 – Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner – 4:00 pm – Field 2
Friday, April 27
Game 9 – Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser – Noon – Field 1
Game 10 – Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser – Noon – Field 2
Game 11 – Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner – 2:00 pm – Field 1
Game 12 – Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner – 2:00 pm – Field 2
Saturday, April 28
Game 13 – Game 12 winner vs. Game 11 loser – 11:00 am – Field 1
Game 14 – Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner – 1:00 pm – Field 1
Game 15 – “If necessary game” – Game 14 winner vs. Game 14 loser – 3:00 pm – Field 1