The University of Findlay softball team has earned the seventh-seed in the 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament and will play second-seeded Grand Valley State University in the first round on April 29 at 12 p.m. The Oilers will host the tournament, which will run from April 29 until May 1, at the Marathon Diamonds.
(#7) Findlay Oilers
2016 Record: 29-19
2016 GLIAC Record: 15-11
The Oilers, who have made the GLIAC tournament in each of the last four seasons, ended the regular season with a 29-19 record and need just one win to reach the 30-win plateau for the first time since 1987. They are 5-9 this season against the other GLIAC tournament qualifiers. Since joining the conference, Findlay has reached tournament play four times and have posted a 3-7 record with their best finish coming in 2013 when they reached the semifinal round.
Sophomore Chelsea McManaway is a major piece of the Oilers' success this season as she has compiled a record of 15-6 this year with 129.2 innings pitched. In those innings, she has compiled a GLIAC leading and UF single-season record 201 strikeouts while posting a miniscule ERA of 0.76, which is on pace to break the school record of 1.18 which was set in 1993 by Judy Post. She has thrown six complete-game shutouts this season including a no-hitter on March 25 vs. Northwood and a perfect game on April 17 vs. Saginaw Valley State.
Offensively, the Oilers will rely heavily on the bats of junior Lauren Trumpler and senior Brooke Scherger. Trumpler leads the team with a batting average of .338 and has smacked 45 hits including four home runs. She has a team-leading 36 runs batted in and has 14 runs scored. Her RBI total is good for 6th in the GLIAC.
Scherger will enter the tournament hitting .336 and a team-leading 30 runs scored. She is second in the conference with six triples and is sixth with 16 stolen bases. The Oilers' senior leads the team with 49 hits.
2016 Record: 42-7
2016 GLIAC Record: 21-3
The Warriors have won five of the last six GLIAC tournaments including the previous four in a row. This season, WSU enters the tournament as the #13 team in the country and have a record of 3-0 against teams in the top-25.
Most of their success can be attributed to the play of two-time GLIAC Pitcher of the Year, junior Lyndsay Butler, who has had another dominant year on the mound. She currently leads the GLIAC in multiple categories including: wins (24), shutouts (8), and earned run average (0.73). She has 195 strikeouts and 20 complete games, both of which are second in the conference. In her career, Butler has an ERA of 0.96, a record of 71-22, 795 strikeouts, and a batting average against of just .168.
Her offense is also an ever-improving part of her game as she is now leading the GLIAC with a batting average of .509. She is also atop the GLIAC in runs (52), hits (84), doubles (15), triples (7), RBI (39), total bases (140), on-base percentage (.544), and slugging percentage (.848). Her nine home runs are good for second in the conference.
Along with Butler, there are seven other Warriors' hitters with a batting average over. 300, including senior Jade McGarr and sophomore Kristen Lucas who are each hitting .430. The Warriors team batting average of .356 is best in the GLIAC by more than 40 points.
2016 Record: 36-8
2016 GLIAC Record: 21-5
The Lakers last won a GLIAC tournament in 2006 but were regular season champions in 2012 and 2013. GVSU is currently ranked fourth in the Midwest region.
Junior Ellie Balbach leads the offense for the Lakers with a batting average of .369. She has knocked in 33 RBI, has scored ten runs, and is tied for the GLIAC lead with 15 doubles. Sophomore Kaylie Rhynard, junior Jenna Lenza, junior Janae Lands, and senior McKenze Supernaw are all hitting over .300 for the Blue and White.
Freshman Allison Lipovsky has led the way on the mound for GVSU and has burst onto the scene compiling a 10-1 record with an ERA of 0.85. She has 75 strikeouts in 82.2 innings and has limited opponents to a batting average of .171.
2016 Record: 24-10
2016 GLIAC Record: 19-7
Hillsdale College will enter the tournament with arguably the youngest lineup in the league as just two of their top eight hitters are seniors and four of those top eight are either freshman or sophomores. The Chargers, who were last named GLIAC regular season champions in 1991, have had a big year in 2016 and enter the tournament as the third seed. This season, Hillsdale's longest win streak was a nine-game stretch that ran from April 5-April 16. In games away from Hillsdale, Michigan, the Chargers have posted a record of 16-6.
Junior Bekah Kasting owns the fourth-best batting average in the league with a team-leading .427 in 110 at-bats. She has scored 30 runs, has nine doubles, and four home runs, each of which are tops at HC this season.
Freshman Amanda Marra, senior Ainsley Ellison, freshman Katie Kish, senior Sarah Grunert, sophomore Kesley Gockman, and sophomore Haley Lawrence are all hitting over .300 for the Chargers.
Grunert and senior Sarah Klopfer are the two arms on the mound for Hillsdale and have each compiled a record of 12-5 and have combined for a 2.15 ERA and 92 strikeouts.
2016 Record: 34-16
2016 GLIAC Record: 19-7
The Bulldogs enter tournament play as the hottest team in the league as they have won nine-straight contests. Ferris State last won a tournament title in 2005. They also won a share of the regular season championship that season. FSU has been absent from the GLIAC tournament since 2013 when they lost to Findlay in the quarterfinal round.
Junior Bailey Darwin is leading the offense with a batting average of .413, good for fifth in the conference. She has hit six home runs and has scored 28 runs for the Bulldogs while sophomore Alexx Astorga leads the team with 36 runs scored and is second on the squad with a batting average of .383.
Sophomore Emily Smith, sophomore Emily Reed, junior Casey Bias, junior Megan Jean, and senior Alyssa Smith are all hitting over the .300 mark. Bias holds the team lead with seven home runs while Reed is second on the team with 31 RBI.
Efforts on the mound are led by senior Stacy Thompson who has picked up 13 wins this season with an ERA of 2.21. She leads the team with 47 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched.
2016 Record: 25-21-1
2016 GLIAC Record: 15-10-1
Coming in as the five seed, Ashland enters the GLIAC tournament with the worst winning percentage (.543) and the least amount of wins (25) of any team in the field. The last time the Eagles won a GLIAC tournament was in 2002, the same year they last were named regular season champions.
Senior Jen Moore leads the team with a batting average of .366 while senior Shelbie Prince has an average of .345. Moore has smashed five homeruns for the Eagles while junior Alexis Van Horn, who is hitting just .245, has the team lead with six long balls.
On the hill, senior Sarah Alley has 15 wins to lead the Purple and Gold and has struck out 104 batters.
2016 Record: 31-15
2016 GLIAC Record: 15-11
The Cardinals were the #3 seed in last season's GLIAC tournament and forced a winner-take-all championship game vs. Wayne State. SVSU held a 9-2 lead early in the game and a 9-7 lead with just three outs to get to claim the title, however, WSU would score three runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim its fourth straight tournament championship. The last tournament title for SVSU came in 2009 when they also won the regular season title.
Sophomore Danielle Hamilton is hitting .378 to lead the Cardinals while sophomore Madison Burgess is hitting .377. Senior Shelby Weeks' average of .351 is the only other above the .350 mark. Weeks has drilled ten home runs, the most in the conference this season.
Senior Sarah Appold has 125 strikeouts in 107.1 innings this season to lead the team. She has an ERA of 2.35 and has picked up nine wins in 18 starts.
2016 Record: 27-17-1
2016 GLIAC Record: 12-10-1
Coming in as the eight seed, the Dragons face the tough task of playing Wayne State in the first round of the tournament. Tiffin did make the tournament a year ago, but their last championship came in 2011 when they also earned the GLIAC regular season title.
With a team average of just .289, the second-lowest in the tournament, pitching has been the strength of the Dragons this season. Freshman Tiffany Snell is leading the team with an ERA of 1.21, the fourth best in the GLIAC. She has 52 strikeouts in 75.1 innings pitched. The Dragons have four pitchers with 50+ strikeouts, the team-leader being sophomore Kimmy Reynolds with 71.