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Playoff Preview: With a Head of Steam Softball Begins CACC Tournament Thursday as No. 3 Seed

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - Newark, Del.

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Senior Katie Warrington leads the CACC with a 0.90 ERA and 216 strikeouts. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Frank Stallworth



Senior Jillian Stafford set a new mark for RBI's in a season for Wilmington, and is second in the CACC with 50 heading into the CACC Tournament. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Frank Stallworth



Freshman Brook Ash set a new Wilmington mark for hits in a season, now totaling 78 heading into the CACC Tournament. She leads the CACC with a .453 batting average. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Tim Shaffer.

For the seventh time in the past nine years, the Wilmington University softball team is heading back to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament, this time as the number three seed, tying its best ever regular season finish, after recording a program best 19-7 conference regular season record.

A double-elimination tournament, the Wildcats will face sixth seeded Holy family 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 trio of CACC squads enter the postseason ranked in the latest NCAA East Regional rankings as Caldwell, the tourney’s No. 2 seed, checks in at No. 2., while Dominican, the regular season champion, is slotted at No. 8. Wilmington rounds out the CACC teams in the East Regional poll, sliding in as the No. 10 team.

The tournament begins Thursday, May 2 with eight games throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m. Five games are slated for Friday, May 3 with the CACC Tournament Championship to be played, in a possibility of two games, on Saturday, May 4. The winner of the 2013 CACC Softball Tournament will earn the conference’s automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA Division II East Regional Championship.

Scouting the No. 3 Wilmington University Wildcats:
For their final game of March and all of April, the Wildcats have been on a tear to wrap up the 2013 regular season. The run started with a sweep of Washington Adventist on March 29 and the team has gone 20-4 to close out the month of April. The only losses came at the hands of Caldwell and Holy Family, with stretches of going 8-0, 8-0, and now 4-0 to end the season.

Freshmen Cambria Ziemba and Brook Ash set the table atop the lineup for the Wildcats, while Christin Headley, Jillian Stafford, and Skye Boris have been the main culprits with knocking them in. Ash has a 22 game hitting streak intact, getting at least one base knock dating back to game two against Washington Adventist on March 29. She broke the Wilmington single season record for hits with her 63rd mark, now standing at 78 heading into the tournament. She leads the CACC with a .453 batting average and is third with 43 runs scored.

Stafford also set a new Wilmington mark, collecting her 38th and 39th RBIs with a home run on April 16 against Chestnut Hill. She now has 50 RBI’s heading into the CACC tournament, only one off the CACC trail, set by Kimberly Ragazzo of Dominican. Stafford is also hitting .381 on the year while slugging .569 with a CACC leading 18 doubles, as well as three triples and two home runs. Headley is hitting a career best .333 on the year, hitting nine doubles, four triples, three home runs, knocking in 32 RBI’s and has scored 37 runs. Boris is hitting .317 with 11 doubles, a triple, a team leading four home runs and 32 RBI’s.

Inside the circle, the Wildcats depend on a pair of individuals who have thrown the majority of the innings this season. Senior Katie Warrington leads the CACC with a 0.90 earned run average and 216 strikeouts, while gathering a CACC second best 16 wins. She has thrown 124 innings, 15 complete games, been a part of 11 shutouts, and threw her second career no-hitter on Saturday in game two against Concordia, clinching the third seed for the team. Sophomore Chelsea Botsch has throwing 112.2 innings this season, going 11-8 with a 2.73 ERA. She has 71 strikeouts and only 15 walks on the year, also tossing 15 complete games and being a part of three shutouts. Stafford has chipped in from the rubber as well, throwing 62 innings in 14 appearances, going 5-3 with a 2.82 ERA. Stafford has the only save of the season for the Wildcats.

Scouting the No. 6 Holy Family University Tigers:
Holy Family ended its regular season with a nonconference split against Bridgeport on Sunday, finishing with a 24-22 overall record, and tying with Georgian Court and USciences with a 17-9 CACC record. Georgian Court earned the tiebreaker over the Devils and Tigers by sweeping both regular season series. The Devils and the Tigers went 1-1 against each other, but USciences split with Dominican, earning the second tiebreaker and sliding Holy family to sixth.

In their last two weeks of play, the Tigers have gone 8-6 after starting 0-4. On April 15 the team lost a doubleheader series to Dominican (1-9 and 2-14) before dropping another doubleheader series at Georgian Court (5-10 and 0-3) and the next day. Holy Family responded with six straight wins at home, beating Concordia (4-0 and 9-4), Wilmington (3-0 and 1-0), and Philadelphia (7-0 and 3-2) in a four day span. The Tigers went on to split with Post in their final CACC regular season series, (3-1 and 3-5) on Saturday before splitting with Bridgeport on Sunday (7-8 and 4-3).

The Tigers only have one player in the top five of the top four CACC offensive categories, as AnnMarie Dalton is tied for fourth with six home runs. Alexis Daubert is hitting a team high .352 in 37 games with nine doubles, a triple, two home runs and 10 RBI’s. Deanna Myers leads the team with 25 RBI’s while hitting .301 with seven doubles, three triples and five home runs. Dalton has a team high 21 runs on the year, while hitting eight double and collecting 20 RBI’s.

In the circle, the Tigers have used three pitchers for more than 10 appearances each on the year, with a fourth making eight appearances and five starts. Rachel Alligood is 8-7 on the year in 23 appearances and 18 starts, carrying a team low 2.15 earned run average. She has thrown 104.1 innings while tallying 58 strikeouts. Victoria Reuscher, who shutout the Wildcats in game two this season, is 9-6 with a 2.36 ERA, throwing 100.2 innings and recording 48 strikeouts. Sarah Chilutti is 5-5 with a 5.01 ERA in 19 appearances (eight starts) in 58.2 innings. She has 38 strikeouts while allowing 30 walks.

All-Time Series Record against Holy Family:
The Tiger have taken three straight in the all-time series, starting with an 8-5 second round loss in the 2012 CACC Tournament, ending the Wildcats’ season. The Tigers also swept this season’s doubleheader, shutting out the Wildcats 3-0 and 1-0 last week on April 22. Prior to the 2012 CACC Tournament loss, the Wildcats won three straight in the series. Starting with a split in 2005 when Wilmington joined the NCAA ranks, Holy Family holds a 12-8 advantage in the all-time series. The Tigers swept the doubleheader series in 2006, 2009, 2013, while the teams split the regular season doubleheader in 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2011. The Wildcats took both ends of the regular season doubleheader in 2007 and 2012. Holy Family holds the advantage in the CACC Tournament, winning a 1-0 game in 2008 and taking last years’ contest, 8-5.

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 5-12 in six CACC Tournaments, going 0-2 last season.

Season Series and All-Time Series vs. CACC Tournament Participants:
#1 Dominican College Chargers: 2013 – 0-2 (2-8 and 6-8); All-Time – 7-13 (0-1 in CACC Tournament)
#2 Caldwell College Cougars:2013 – 0-2 (4-7 and 0-1); All-Time – 5-19 (0-4 in CACC Tournament)
#3 Wilmington University Wildcats
#4 Georgian Court University Lions: 2013 – 2-0 (6-5 and 6-5); All-Time – 7-11 (0-0 in CACC Tournament)
#5 University of the Sciences Devils: 2013 – 2-0 (5-2 and 3-0); All-Time – 14-4 (0-0 in CACC Tournament)
#6 Holy Family University Tigers: 2013 – 0-2 (0-3 and 0-1); All-Time – 8-12 (0-2 in CACC Tournament)
#7 Bloomfield College Deacons: 2013 – 2-0 (14-6 and 7-0); All-Time – 15-4 (1-0 in CACC Tournament)
#8 Philadelphia University Rams: 2013 – 2-0 (2-1 and 9-1); All-Time – 11-12 (0-1 in CACC Tournament)

2013 CACC Softball Tournament Game Schedule:
Thursday, May 2
Game 1 - #1 Dominican vs. #8 Philadelphia – 10:00 am – Field 1
Game 2 - #2 Caldwell vs. #7 Bloomfield – 10:00 am – Field 2
Game 3 - #3 Wilmington vs. #6 Holy Family– Noon – Field 1
Game 4 - #4 Georgian Court vs. #5 USciences – 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, May 3
Game 9 – Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser – 11:00 am – Field 1
Game 10 – Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser – 11:00 am – Field 2
Game 11 – Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner – 1:00 pm – Field 1
Game 12 – Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner – 1:00 pm – Field 2
Game 13 – Game 12 winner vs. Game 11 loser – 3:00 pm – Field 1

Saturday, May 4
Game 14 – Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner – 12 Noon – Field 1
Game 15 – "If necessary game" – Game 14 winner vs. Game 14 loser – 2:00 pm – Field 1