Southwest Softball To Take On Cleveland State State In Play-In
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April 29, 2019 - The Southwest softball team will take on Cleveland State in a TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament Play-In game at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5 at Columbia State’s Eddie Campbell Field in Columbia, Tennessee. The winner will advance to the eight-team double-elimination tournament against second-seed Walters State at 12:30 p.m. on May 6.
The Lady Saluqis (29-26), under 16th-year head coach Keith Gentry, are led in hitting by freshmen Jennie Bryant and MaKayla Pugh. Bryant, who plays third base and shortstop, batted .428 during the regular season and set a Southwest record with 68 runs batted in (RBI), which also leads the conference. Pugh, a catcher/third baseman, batted .382 with 53 RBI and tied Bryant for the team lead with 12 home runs. Three of Pugh’s homers came in a single game vs. Jackson State last week, tying the Southwest record.
Also in the probable starting lineup are two sophomores and three additional freshmen. Sophomore pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Hannah Finley carries a .377 batting average and ranks among the team leaders with seven home runs and 34 RBI. Finley also leads the pitching staff with nine wins and 82 strikeouts. Sophomore leftfielder and leadoff hitter Cailin Stricklin batted .359 and led the team with 56 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. She ranks second all-time at Southwest in career hits, runs scored and stolen bases. They are joined as starters by freshman shortstop Blakeleigh Garrison (.337 batting average, 54 runs scored), freshman catcher Haley Cook (.258 batting average, 5 home runs, 35 RBI) and freshman centerfielder Samantha Ruff (.243 batting average, 5 home runs, 21 RBI).
Part-time starters include sophomore first baseman Hannah Hurdle, sophomore rightfielders Mattie King and Kelsey Moss, and freshmen second basemen Maria Maxwell and Shelby Carpenter, who can also play first or third base. Sophomores Alinda Tucker and Jordyn McKinney are the team’s top pinch-runners.
Freshmen Destiny Upton and Lily Soverns join Finley and King as members of the Lady Saluqis’ pitching staff. Upton leads the team with 109-2/3 innings and a NJCAA leading eight saves. Soverns leads the team with 20 games started in the circle and five complete games while King’s 3.68 earned run average is the team’s best.
The tournament championship game will be on May 9 with the winner advancing to the NJCAA Division 1 championship May 22-25 in St. George, Utah.