Week 10 (4/3-9/2017)
Coker’s rise to the top.
Picked to finish 9th by us in our SAC preview and 10th in the preseason SAC poll, we can truly say that Coker has succeeded far greater than what anyone expected. Currently leading the SAC in the standings, in part to a sweep over Carson-Newman this past weekend, the Cobras have used a great offensive and defensive season to show everyone that they are for real. On the mound, sophomore Taylor Forehand has displayed her dominance going 10-1 on the season with a 1.84 ERA. This past week against Wingate and at the time undefeated in the conference Carson-Newman, Forehand threw 11.0 innings grabbing 2 wins, allowing 0 runs. In fact in her last 4 games she has given up only 1 earned run. In the batter’s box this past week a new face came up big, Augusta Jackson, who up until this past week only had 24 at bats. Jackson went 5-11 with a double and a homerun while scoring 2 runs and hitting in 2 RBI. Jackson also threw 11.0 innings for the Cobras on the mound allowing 0 runs on 7 hits while capturing 2 wins. Coker plays a series with Lenoir-Rhyne on Tuesday at home for the outright lead in the conference. After Lenoir-Rhyne, Coker has 3 more series in the season with Brevard, Newberry and Mars Hill.
Pfeiffer’s phenom freshman keeps fighting.
Pfeiffer keeps setting records this season. Climbing to the #3 spot in the rankings, and sitting at #7 in the power rankings, are firsts for the Falcons who keep building on last seasons success. While Pfeiffer has depended on the old standards of success from last season the bright new faces have really lit the fuse for the Falcons. Freshman, Makenzie Pennell should be tearing up the high school circuit this spring, but an early graduation has Pfeiffer happy that Pennell is standing in their batters box this season. Leading the team in 5 offensive categories, including a .398 batting average, Pennell sits at the top the Conference Carolinas with 49 RBI. This past week Pennell only had 5 at bats with 3 hits and 1 walk, however all 3 hits were homeruns. Knocking in 5 RBI while scoring 4 runs Pennell logged a .600 batting average, a .667 on base percentage and a staggering 2.400 slugging percentage in her two games. Pennell currently is on a 6 game hitting streak, during this time she has hit 5 homeruns which puts her at 3rd in the CC with 10 total. The Falcons have 4 series left in the conference and play a tough series with 3rd place North Greenville on Thursday of this week. Pfeiffer is currently tied for first with Limestone and both only have 1 loss in conference which was an early season split between the two teams. .
The quiet return of the North Georgia Nighthawks.
We knew North Georgia was good, beating quality teams in the beginning of the year and always being in striking distance of the top, but Armstrong State’s quick start made us forget the dominate Nighthawks, at least for a little bit. However with Armstrong going 3-3 in the past 3 conference series, North Georgia has jumped right back to be tied with Armstrong for the lead in the Peach Belt. Winning the last 8 games North Georgia is tied with the longest win streak in the southeast. This past week a sweep over a strong Young Harris squad punctuated North Georgia’s return to the top. Freshman Lexi Duncan has burst on the scene consistently hitting for the Nighthawks in the second half of the season. Sparsely playing in the first half of the season Duncan has been a consistent bat in the lineup since the UNC Pembroke series. Duncan is hitting a team high .429 and went .500 this past week. However, the Nighthawks are still led by Stephanie Hartness who boasts a .404 batting average with 24 multi-base hits including 7 homeruns. On the mound Kylee Smith still posts the PBC’s best ERA with a 1.06 and is second with 20 wins, 174 strikeouts and a 7.69 K/7. North Georgia has a non conference series with Union on Tuesday before playing Georgia Southwestern and Columbus State on Friday and Saturday respectively. The Nighthawks will finish the season with a makeup game against Montevallo on Tuesday, April 18.
Barton clinches most conference wins in past 10 years.
We can look back through the 2007 season and Barton has never won more than 9 conference games, this season Barton already has 10 with 1 series left. If Barton can at least split their last series with Mount Olive, it will be the first time in a long time the Bulldogs claim a .500 record in the conference. If Barton can sweep the series with Mount Olive it will be the first time they finish with an overall record over .500. In his first season at the helm, new head coach Junior Bailey has 4 bats hitting over .300. While the team only hits .274 as a team and the pitching staff has a 4.75 ERA the team has manufactured runs when needed and is 5-1 in games decided by 1 run and 9-4 in games decided by 2 runs or less. The Bulldogs are off this week but will take on Mount Olive next Tuesday in a series that could decided the 5th and 6th place in the conference. Barton has already clinched their second straight appearance in the Conference Carolinas tournament, Barton was the #8 seed last year.
Lenoir-Rhyne ignores the losses.
If I told you a Lenoir-Rhyne team was 37-8 you wouldn’t be surprised but 7 games ago we were really worried about this team. The Bears started off on a tear going 26-2 and found themselves in the top 10 of the NFCA rankings, but a 5-6 slide had them fall out of the rankings and fall as low as 4th in the conference. Splits with King and Newberry while being swept by Limestone and Wingate had us wondering where the real Lenoir-Rhyne was. However the last 7 games the Bears have gone undefeated including a sweep over at the time a conference favorite in Anderson. Lenoir-Rhyne will take on co-conference leader on Tuesday in Coker that could decide the leader of the conference. After the Coker series the Bears have 3 more series with Lincoln Memorial, Queens and 2nd place SAC team Carson-Newman in the season finale at home.
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
- Week 5 – Hannah Riddle; King University
- Week 6 – Allie Jones, Lincoln Memorial
- Week 7 – Jordan Deep, North Georgia
- Week 8 – Taylor Scott, Carson-Newman
- Week 9 – Jamie Johnson, UNC Pembroke
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
- Week 5 – Jane Trzaska; Armstrong State
- Week 6 – Ally Marcano, Flagler
- Week 7 – Darby Demarest, Columbus State
- Week 8 – Courtney Smith, Limestone
- Week 9 – Lacie Rinus, Carson-Newman