Shepherd crowds hitters into the PSAC softball tournament
Shepherd finished up with a 25-10 overall record and hosted West Chester earlier this week at Sara Cree Field for a best-two-of-three series with the Golden Rams. West Chester brought a 20-12 record to Shepherdstown.
The other quarterfinal round pairing in the East Division had Kutztown (23-9 in league games) hosting East Stroudsburg (17-11 in its PSAC games) in another best-two-of-three series.
The Rams are still very much in contention for a coveted berth in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region tournament that leads on to the Softball College World Series.
Even though its through-the-lineup hitting was slightly dimmed late in the regular season, Shepherd finished its 35-game regular season with a solid .335 team batting average.
Certainly, third baseman Nicole Purtell is in line for postseason laurels and awards. She completed the successful year with a.473 batting average, while scoring a team-leading 44 runs from her leadoff spot in the Ram batting order. Purtell also hit three home runs, drove in 25 runs and was able to steal 20 bases in 21 attempts.
Cameron Davis, often employed as the designated hitter, had a .379 batting average, along with a team-leading seven homers and 38 RBIs. Second baseman Leann Brown contributed her .368 batting average, 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 10 attempts.
Outfielder Allison Baker wasn’t far behind the overall leaders with her .356 batting average. Brown was the leader of Shepherd’s “Killer B’s” because outfielder Allison Baker finished with a .356 batting average, shortstop Ashley Burger checked in with a .345 batting mark and 27 RBIs and center fielder Hannah Beeler finished the regular season with a .309 batting average while scoring 24 runs.
Tori Seymour, the usual first baseman, batted .271 and drove in 20 runs. Surging toward the end of the season was outfielder Isabella Forte, whose batting average rose to .388 by the completion of the regular season.
Catcher Alex Mantz (a .286 batting mark) and outfielder Kylie Condon (who finished with a.242 average) also helped the Rams reach the cusp of the Atlantic Region tournament to be staged in Quakertown, Pa.
Shepherd’s four most-used pitchers all provided low-run efforts that led to wins.
The pitcher with the most victories and likeliest to be tapped for postseason honors was Katie Laing, a 10-game winner. Laing made 13 starts, had a 3.43 ERA and was a probable starter in the series with West Chester. Cheyenne Van Pelt made most of her six starts in the latter part of the schedule. Her 2-3 record as augmented by a 3.30 ERA. Sarah Lamper made nine starts and had an 8-3 record with a .3.80 ERA. Hannah Ruffner registered five starts, posted a 5-0 record and had a 2.56 ERA.
In the West Division of the league, Seton Hill faced Mercyhurst in the quarterfinals while Gannon saw California in the last of the quarterfinal matchups.
Should Shepherd qualify for the Atlantic Regional, it would likely see former WVIAC and MEC rivals Charleston, West Liberty and West Virginia State again. The survivor from the Atlantic Regional would then qualify as one of eight teams for the College World Series.