By: Austin Lockwood
The college softball team is in full swing heading into their final series of the regular season. They rocketed to a 28-11 (16-4 KJCCC) record thanks to three seven-game winning streaks since the start of conference play back in March.
Along with the impressive record, the Cavs also own one of the best defenses in the league. The team currently ranks tenth in their division and leads the Kansas Jayhawks Community College Conference in Earned Run Average (ERA) with a mere 1.90 runs allowed per game, which compliments the eight shutouts posted by the Cavs so far in the season, the twelfth most shutouts in the nation.
The pitching staff has been an essential part to the shutdown defense and is led by sophomore pitcher Kelsee Henry and her 9-2 record as a starter. Henry sports the ninth best ERA in the nation with just a 1.33 average. She has received plenty of support from freshman pitcher Halle Stills, who owns a 10-7 record as a starter with a 2.15 ERA.
While the pitching has been excellent, performing on the home plate has been about average for the season. The Cavaliers sit in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring and are actually near the bottom of the nation in batting average with .295. Things have certainly improved as the team has posted a .305 average during conference play, good for fifth in the league. Despite the low national ranking for hitting, the team still holds some notable stats such as how they are tied for third in the country in triples with 20.
Unfortunately, the stats don’t mean as much as the number in the win-column and even though the team is still aiming for a 30-win season, they need two things to happen if they want to win the KJCCC East Division. The first part is to simply sweep a struggling Coffeyville (11-43-1, 4-16 KJCCC) team and earn their fifth 30-win season in a row.
After that, it will all depend on the conference-leading Highland CC (34-8, 17-2) dropping their final three games. The teams the Cavaliers will be rooting for don’t offer much hope, with Fort Scott CC (19-30, 4-16) visiting for the first two games and Kansas City Kansas CC (21-18, 5-14) finishing the season with a single visit to Highland.
If Highland manages to win a single one of the final three games, they will hold the tiebreaker thanks to their two-game sweep of JCCC at the end of March. Regardless, the team will focus on sweeping Coffeyville since even if the Cavs fail to win the division, the next step will be the national tournament following the regular season finales. The series against Coffeyville will be a doubleheader with games at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on April 18.