Transy Set to Host HCAC Tournament for Third Straight Season

Tournament Website (click here)

Tournament Program (click here)

LEXINGTON, KY - The 2011 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference softball tournament will take place this weekend at Transylvania University.  The host Pioneers earned the regular season championship after going 15-1 in league play this spring.  Anderson, Bluffton, and Defiance will join Transylvania in Lexington this weekend.

The host Pioneers (22-11-1, 15-1 HCAC) will look to capture their second straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.  Transy held a 6-0 record against the competition they will face this weekend.  The Pioneers offense has been solid this season, averaging .326 at the plate with 28 home runs and 220 runs scored.  The TU pitching staff has been the best in the HCAC this season, leading the league with a 2.89 earned run average, 10 shutouts, and 198 strikeouts.  Transy has won 15 games in a row heading into tournament play.

The offense has been propelled by the efforts of sophomore Megan Mitchell (W. Lafayette, Ind./Wm. Henry Harrison).  The sophomore currently ranks fourth in Division III with 16 home runs and a 1.074 slugging percentage.  Mitchell also leads the HCAC, batting .468 with 42 runs scored, 47 RBI, and an on-base percentage of .593.  Senior pitcher Kendra DeArk (Jeffersonville, Ind./H.S.) has led the pitching staff this season.  The senior holds an 8-5 record and a 2.30 ERA, while striking out 101 opponents in 82.1 innings of work.

Anderson (24-12, 12-4 HCAC) placed second in the standings after a successful season.  The Ravens posted a 3-3 record against the teams in the tournament field this season.  Anderson's offense has been the best in the HCAC this season, leading the HCAC in batting (.354), runs scored (222), doubles (73), triples (12), slugging percentage (.526), and on-base percentage (.408).  AU's pitching staff has also been one of the top staffs in the HCAC this spring.  Junior Monica Crowe (Muncie, Ind./Wes-Del) leads the team with a 10-5 record, 2.23 ERA, 12 complete games, five shutouts, 117 strikeouts, and 100.2 innings pitched.

Bluffton (19-14, 11-5 HCAC) won six of its last seven games heading into the HCAC tournament.  The Beavers enter the tourney with a 2-4 record against the competition.  Junior Chelsie Osborne (Chillicothe, Ohio/Waverly) leads the team at the plate, batting .379 with 18 runs scored, four doubles, two home runs, and 21 RBI.  Freshman Shelby Erford (Paulding, Ohio/H.S.) has provided some power for BU, blasting five home runs and 22 RBI this spring.  The Bluffton pitching staff has been led by sophomore Stevie Cuttitta (Columbiaville, Mich./Clio).  The ace has posted an 11-5 record in the circle with a 1.97 ERA and 83 strike outs.

Defiance (18-20, 10-6 HCAC) will look to improve upon their 1-5 record against the HCAC tournament field when the tournament gets underway this weekend.  The Jackets won seven of eight before dropping two to Transylvania on Sunday afternoon.  Senior Marah Robinson (New Philadelphia, Ohio/H.S.) has led the offense, batting .311 with 18 runs scored, six doubles, two home runs, and 30 RBI.  In the circle, junior Shauna Bowers (Delphos, Ohio/Delphos Jefferson) has a 10-8 record with a 2.59 ERA, 10 complete games, and 101 strikeouts.

Action will get underway from Transylvania at 10:00 AM Friday morning as No. 2 seed Anderson faces No. 3 seed Bluffton.  Top seed Transy and No. 4 Defiance will tangle at 12:00 PM in the second opening round game.