ODAC Tournament Preview: Softball
SALEM, Va. – The No. 1-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College softball team (39-1/20-0) completed a perfect 20-0 record in its ODAC slate and will look to continue that success in the ODAC Softball Tournament, set to begin on Friday at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia.
This will be a tough tournament field as all eight teams have won at least 22 games and a .600 winning percentage. Both numbers are believed to be records for a tournament field in ODAC softball history.
No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan vs. No. 8 Randolph
The Marlins will face Randolph College (24-16/9-11) in the first game on Friday. The WildCats received the eight seed after falling in a head-to-head tiebreaker with Eastern Mennonite University.
Virginia Wesleyan swept Randolph in the regular season by scores of 2-1 and 7-0. The Marlins will likely see Lindsey Chaney (9-8, 2.59 ERA) in the circle. Chaney held the Marlins to just one earned run, a Blake Henderson solo home run, on four hits in Virginia Beach on March 25. Lauren Morris and Hunter Glave anchor the Randolph offense, each batting over .398 with a combined seven home runs.
The Marlins will look to Hanna Hull (21-1, 0.43 ERA) to keep the WildCat bats in check. Henderson (.327, 5 HR, 31 RBI) is second on the team in home runs and RBI and will look to do damage against Chaney again.
No. 2 Randolph-Macon vs. No. 7 Eastern Mennonite
Randolph-Macon (31-7/14-6) will draw Eastern Mennonite (22-14/9-11) after sweeping the Royals in the regular season by scores of 8-0 and 6-3.
Candace Whittemore (19-3, 1.40 ERA) should see a majority of the innings in the circle this tournament. Combined with the rest of the staff, Randolph-Macon owns a 1.54 team ERA. That will determine how far the Yellow Jackets can advance.
Lauren Seale (8-7, 2.82 ERA) is likely to draw the start on Friday, but Sydney Reath (11-5, 2.89 ERA) should expect to see some time as well. EMU has six hitters that bat over .340, making the Royals a tough offensive unit.
No. 3 Guilford vs. No. 6 Roanoke
Guilford College (29-11/14-6) receives the third seed after falling in a head-to-head tiebreaker to Randolph-Macon, and will face Roanoke College (23-15/11-9) in the first round.
Guilford swept the Maroons in the regular season, 3-1 and 8-3. Look for Makayla Carver (9-3, 2.01 ERA) to see innings in the circle. Where the Quakers really thrive is at the plate as Guilford is one of the top hitting squads in the ODAC. GC has an impressive .386 team batting average and has connected for 26 home runs, scoring 315 runs in 40 games (7.88 runs per game).
Roanoke could use any number of pitchers throughout the tournament, with five starting at least four games. Teresa Wagner (8-5, 0.62 ERA) will draw the first assignment, recently holding Randolph-Macon to just one run in a 1-0 loss.
No. 4 Emory & Henry vs. No. 5 Lynchburg
Emory & Henry (29-11/13-7) enters the ODAC tournament as the No. 4 seed after winning a program record, 13 league contests. The Wasps most recently split a series with Lynchburg (27-13/12-8) on Tuesday. E&H won the first game, 4-3, before dropping the second game, 6-4.
Emily Kendrick (16-7, 1.58 ERA) should draw the start after holding the Hornets to just three runs in seven innings to earn the game-one victory Tuesday.
Lynchburg will need Skylar Dickens (.437, 32 R, 11 SB) to set the table against Kendrick to spring the upset and avoid the elimination bracket. Connor English (8-9, 2.87 ERA) has been the main pitcher for the Hornets, starting 17 games in the circle.