Week 2 (2/6-2/12/2017)
1. Abbey Walters is GOOD, is an understatement.
When we told you that Abbey Walters for UNC Pembroke was a senior to watch this season even we didn’t expect her to start off the season like this. Currently Walter leads the Peach Belt in RBI (17), and homeruns (5), while sitting at 2nd in slugging percentage (1.182), 3rd in stolen bases (8) and 4th in batting average (.545). Walters has been a stud from the box but her performance in the circle is just as dominate. Currently Walters is 2nd in Wins (4) in the PBC while posting a 1.24 ERA. While posting these season stats this last week has helped bump her up. This past week Walters logged 13 hits in 17 at bats for a .765 batting average. Nine of the 13 hits were extra base hits including a 3 homerun game against Queens giving her a slugging percentage of 1.647 on the week. Walters also had 12 runs, 10 RBI, 2 walks, 5 stolen bases and only 1 strikeout. That is a stat line for a week for anyone but don’t forget her pitching were she threw her second career no-hitter against Barton.
2. Watch out for the Coker Cobras, hissssss.
After finishing last in the SAC in 2016 we knew Coker was going to be good, but even we didn’t expect this start. Currently, Coker sits at 7-1, and their bats have outscored opponents 80-13, while the team is hitting a .377 batting average, and throwing a team ERA of 1.62. This past week Coker swept the SAC awards winning pitcher and player of the week and the week before a Cobra won player of the week so in the last 2 weeks Coker has 3 of the 4 weekly honors. While the start has been great the big upside for the Cobras is finding a dominate arm in freshman Christine Carver who has thrown a team high 15.0 innings. During this time she has only given up 1 run on the season for a 0.47 ERA while posting a 3-0 record. However the biggest compliment to Carver is her control posting 22 strikeouts to 0 walks a ratio any pitcher would kill for. As Carver gets more confident Coker can be a threat in the SAC that does not seem to have a dominate pitcher past Webster at Carson-Newman.
3. Phenomenal Pfeiffer Freshman.
So when we started this season we knew Pfeiffer was going to be good but the biggest surprise has been the emergence of freshman Makenzie Pennell. Pennell skipped her senior season in high school to attend Pfeiffer this spring and it already looks like she made the right choice. After going 1-3 in her first collegiate game she caught fire getting 8 hits in her next 12 at bats including 2 doubles and 2 homeruns. Currently Pennell leads the CC in batting average .600 and slugging percentage with a 1.133. She also has posted 7 runs, 6 RBI and 2 stolen bases in her first 4 games. Pretty good for someone who should be dominating the high school circuit this spring.
4. North Georgia is first southeast team to 10 wins.
The loss of Courtney Poole in the circle for North Georgia showed up starting the season at 1-2, but after those 2 losses the Nighthawks have returned to usual form going 9-0 to be first to 10 wins. North Georgia was able to dominate the Steak and Shake Classic they hosted this last weekend outscoring opponents 41-8. Stephanie Hartness continues to lead the pack with the highest batting average, but it is a freshman that has started to turn heads. Kylee Smith has quietly recorded at 6-0 record to start the season. This past weekend Smith threw in 3 games including two complete games where she only allowed 1 run in each game. Against Mars Hill Smith logged 12 strikeouts for a total of 24 K’s in her 17 innings pitched while only giving up 4 runs. Smith leads the team in innings pitched, wins, appearances, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts and posts the lowest opponents batting average. While we may not say she has replaced Poole yet it looks like the Nighthawks have a chance for another phenom pitcher over the next four years.
5. The incoming talent is solid in the Southeast.
While the Southeast has started to gain more recognition the recruiting talent has been getting better and better. This years group of newcomers are already making names in the Southeast region. We have already talked about Carver at Coker, Pennell at Pfeiffer and Smith with North Georgia but here are a few more newcomers you should be paying attention to. Anderson has two in Junior College transfer, sophomore Breanna Hagerty and freshman Meghan Majeski. Hagerty and Majeski sit a 1 and 2 in the SAC for batting average with Hagerty hitting .643 and Majeski posting a .571, Majeski also leads the SAC in stolen bases with 9. Mary Hart with Limestone has also made an impact leading the CC in homeruns with 3 and runs batted in at 12 after transferring in from junior college. Carson-Newman has had freshman Abby Fiessinger step up to lead the team with a .500 batting average while hitting 4 homeruns which is tied for first in the SAC. Fiessinger also leads the SAC with a 1.045 slugging percentage and has 12 RBI (3rd in SAC), 11 runs (2nd in SAC) and 6 walks (2nd in SAC).