Week 5 (2/27-3/5/2017)
1. Don’t Count out Armstrong State just yet.
So Armstrong State started the season with all the aspirations in the world of a repeat performance of last year, but after spending the whole first part of the season in Florida they stumbled into conference play with an adequate record of 10-5 and having fallen out of the rankings. But just when we thought the Armstrong team may not be as strong as we predicted, they answered us. First by sweeping undefeated Young Harris (receiving votes in NFCA poll) squad by a combined score of 13-4 in two games including a shutout and then on teh next day splitting with the #4 team in the nation North Georgia. Oh yeah both games were on the road and back to back. Senior pitcher Jane Trzaska hit her stride this past weekend throwing 2 complete games and picking up 2 wins while allowing 0 earned runs (North Georgia scored 1 unearned run against Trzaska). In the 15.0 innings of work she only allowed six hits and logged a shutout 1 hit game against Young Harris to complete the sweep. Trzaska currently leads the Pirate pitching staff with 1.38 ERA and 42 strikeouts. If the start of conference play is any indication of how good this Armstrong State team can be they showed they are up for the challenge by beating the two hottest teams in the Peach Belt. Watch out PBC the Armstrong State Pirates may have figured it out.
2. King Tornadoes swept up competition this week.
After picking King to finish 6th in our preseason predictions we have seen an insurgence of offensive power after their 0-6 start. Since that time the Tornadoes have outscored their opponents 84-29 including this past week where King went 4-0 and outscored teams 52-8. A large part of this offensive power surge is from junior college transfer, junior Hannah Riddle who leads the team with a .475 batting average and a .831 slugging percentage. This past week Riddle padded those stats going 13 for 17 for a .765 batting average. Riddle also had 4 doubles, a triple and a home run giving her an insane 1.235 slugging percentage on the week. Scoring 7 runs on the week she also hit in 9 RBI including a 7 RBI game against West Virginia Tech. If King can keep up the hits heading into conference play they are going to pick up some big wins in a tight Conference Carolinas race behind Pfeiffer and Limestone.
3. Georgia College is storming back after a rough start.
So we aren’t gonna lie, we may have written off Georgia College on our teams to watch this season. While having historically always been a strong team we felt like there was a lot of questions of this group especially after they started out 3-7. However, after beating a very strong Anderson 3-2 in their second game for a split, the Bobcats have started to get it together and are showing what Georgia softball is all about. Quietly under the radar Georgia College has posted a 10-2 record in their last 12 games and are currently on a 7 game win streak, which is the longest in the PBC right now. During this time the Bobcats have split with a strong Carson Newman and Auburn-Montgomery teams while sweeping Augusta in their PBC opening series and then a sweep over SAC power Wingate the following day. Part of their resurgence is thanks to senior Faith Flanders whose bat has come alive in a 10 game hitting streak. This past week Flanders logged 13 hits in 24 at bats for a .542 batting average and has 1 homerun and 4 doubles giving her a .833 slugging percentage. Flanders also logged a stolen base, her first of the season and had only 1 strikeout, which was also her first of the season. Flanders has also been helping on the rubber throwing 14.0 innings and only giving up 2 earned runs while striking out 7. The Bobcats may still have some questions before we put them up with the big dogs in the PBC, but this team is ready to make some noise and ruin some teams days in the PBC this season.
4. Limestone #Legit
Maybe you have heard of the Saints in Limestone the team who has been winning like it is their job the past couple of seasons. Well if you have been like us and ready to crown Pfeiffer already, watch out for this group in South Carolina. Since being swept by USC Aiken the Saints have reeled off a 13-1 record in their last 14 games. This includes sweeps on UNC Pembroke, Carson Newman and Tusculum. They have also logged wins against Flagler and Augusta while taking 2 of 3 against Catawba. Limestone is currently being led by junior pitcher Josie Weber who in the past week tossed two games giving up only 1 run and logging 14 strikeouts while only giving up 7 hits in her 14.0 innings of work. In the box the team is led by junior Sydney Turner who is hitting a team best .373 batting average and .661 slugging percentage. Fellow junior Emma Swearingen has a team best 4 home runs, 5 doubles and 19 RBI. The Saints have a slow week this week playing Lees-McRae on Sunday, but the following week will be the test as Limestone will face #10 Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday (3/15) and then the tough conference match-up against Pfeiffer on Sunday (3/19).
5. Coker Softball is here.
Coker started off the season 10-1 and we thought, ok they might be good, however their schedule was not the most difficult to start the year. Coker then played PBC member Lander in 3 straight games and lost 2 out of the 3 game and again we thought, ok they are not quite there. However, since the Lander games Coker has come back with a 6-1 record with their only loss to a very good Auburn-Montgomery team in extra innings. Currently Coker sits with a 18-4 record which is only second to Lenoir-Rhyne in the SAC. During this time Coker posts quality wins against Charleston (WV) and Lander, then sweeps over PBC members Augusta and Columbus State. This past weekend the Cobras swept Barry a good team who defeated Spring Hill earlier in the season, who by the way beat #4 North Georgia. The Cobras, who are hitting a team batting average of .323, and are led by senior Tayler Barcomb who is hitting a team best .419 with 14 extra base hits including 2 homeruns while grabbing 8 stolen bases. Sophomore Maria Williamson leads the team with 5 homeruns and a .730 slugging percentage. Coker will have a 2 game series this Wednesday (3/8) against Lees-McRae before they get back to a tough schedule with North Greenville on Thursday (3/9) and then a match-up with #15 Pfeiffer on Saturday (3/11). We look forward to the Pfeiffer series to really see how far Coker has come this season.
Previous Down South Players of the Week:
- Week 1 – Hannah Reppert; Armstrong State
- Week 2 – Abbey Walters, UNC Pembroke
- Week 3 – Shayna Finley, North Greenville
- Week 4 – Sam Chiudina, Francis Marion
Previous Down South Pitchers of the Week:
- Week 1 – Sierra Hearp; Barton College
- Week 2 – Christine Carver, Coker
- Week 3 – Brandi Parks, Lenoir-Rhyne
- Week 4 – Kylee Smith, North Georgia