2017 SLIAC Softball Tournament Preview

[taken from SLIAC.org] … This weekend’s St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball Tournament will be all about newness. For the first time since 2012, the tournament will be played somewhere other than Elsah, Illinois. The tournament field will also include several “new” programs looking to leave their mark. Greenville, the reigning SLIAC Tournament Champion, still has memories of becoming the new champion last spring, ending a six-year reign by Fontbonne. Meanwhile, Fontbonne begins the tournament as something new to them, not being the top seed. That right goes to Westminster, who won the program’s first-ever outright regular season title this year. Webster also returns to the tournament for the first time since 2012.

Tournament Tidbits

  • Fontbonne first-year head coach Danni Glixman is the program’s career leader in batting average, hits, and runs batted in and ranks 3rd all-time in NCAA Division III in doubles.
  • Greenville’s Kate Joliff is just one home run away from holding the SLIAC Triple Crown. She leads the conference in batting average (.462) and runs batted in (43) while ranking second in home runs (7).
  • Webster has put together two separate winning streaks of at least eight games this season, including 10 straight to start the year; the program’s best start since 2000.
  • Westminster features a remarkable 14 freshmen on their roster, the youngest team in the tournament this year.

Fontbonne University ‘GRIFFINS’

The Griffins biggest game of the year came in the regular season’s final doubleheader. Needing a sweep to return to the tournament, the Griffins got it, snapping a ten game losing streak in the process. Fontbonne is hitting .288 as a team, averaging 4.9 runs per game this season. Despite ranking just sixth in the conference in team batting average the Griffins feature two of the top ten batting average leaders in the conference in Emelia Modglin (.402) and Courtney Kedroski (.391). That duo has combined for five of the team’s 14 home runs this year. Sam Brown and Maddie Cooksey are tied with Kedroski for the team lead in home runs with three. The graduation of last year’s SLIAC Pitcher of the Year, Madison Leonard, has left the Griffins with three young pitchers. Maddy Strickland, a sophomore, leads the team with over 100 innings pitched while sophomore Diamond Thomas has logged over 70 innings.

Greenville College ‘PANTHERS’

Greenville brings one of the league’s top offenses into the tournaments, hitting .320 as a team and tying for the league lead with 24 home runs. The Panthers average 6.1 runs per game while their pitching staff holds a 3.51 earned-run average. New head coach Buddy Foster has a strong middle of the order with three players hitting above .400 this season. The Panthers trio includes Kate Joliff who leads the team with a .462 batting average and 43 runs batted in while hitting seven home runs. Becca Oldham is hitting .417 with a team-high eight home runs, driving in 39 while Tiffany Samsoe is hitting .413 with four home runs and 38 runs batted in. Jordyn Wieland benefits from hitting in the two hole, surrounded by the trio, and is hitting .348 with 29 runs scored and a team-high 26 stolen bases. In the circle, the Panthers rely on Brianna Anderson. Anderson has worked almost half of the innings this spring, totaling 103 innings pitched, and holds a 2.51 earned-run average with 142 strikeouts.

Webster University ‘GORLOKS’

Webster has arguably the most explosive offense in the SLIAC, having scored double-digit runs in 11 games this season. The Gorloks averaged a conference-high 6.5 runs this season, hitting .320 as a team while tying for a league high 24 home runs. The Gorlok pitching staff has also shown the ability to limit opponents, recording six shutouts this year. The Gorlok lineup features six players that have driven in at least 20 runs this year, led by Kayla Day’s 34. Day is also leading the team with a .394 average and has hit five home runs. Abby Burroughs leads the team with six home runs, driving in 33 while hitting .382. Katlyn Garza adds to the team’s power, hitting .387 with five home runs and 25 RBI. The Gorloks abide by pitching staff by committee, with three pitchers totaling between 77 and 91 innings pitched this season. Alexis Spriggs has made the most starts, 17, and holds a 4.93 earned-run average. Morgan Mansur has been key out of the pen, leading the team with 10 wins and a 2.99 earned-run average. Chelsea Thornley completes the trio, recording nine wins this springs.

Westminster College ‘BLUE JAYS’

Westminster has won ten straight games as they enter the SLIAC Tournament, the longest active winning streak in the conference. The Blue Jays are hitting a conference-high .341 as a team, averaging 7.1 runs per game. Westminster rolls out a deep lineup that knows how to put runners on, holding a .412 team on-base percentage. Last year’s SLIAC Player of the Year Erica Burney is in the middle of the Blue Jays lineup. Burney is hitting .429 with three home runs and 26 runs batted in. A pair of freshman, Josie Cotter and Aubrie Vaughn, have made immediate impacts with their bats. Cotter is hitting .382 with five home runs and 39 runs batted while Vaughn is hitting .368 with four home runs and 26 runs batted in. Amber Tepen adds to the depth, hitting .367 with 29 runs batted in, and is the program’s career leader in doubles and RBI. Senior infielder Brittany Hodge, who missed time recently due to an injury, anchors a Blue Jay defense that ranks fourth in the conference in team fielding percentage. The Blue Jays will turn the ball over to the duo of Alyson Hahn and Katie Price. Hahn, a senior, provides the leadership in the circle and has a team-best 2.34 earned-run average while Price, a freshman, has thrown a team-high 87 innings this season.

Overall Record: 13-21

SLIAC Record: 11-7

Tournament Trips: 18

Tournament Titles: 9

Last Champ.: 2015

Overall Record: 21-15

SLIAC Record: 14-4

Tournament Trips: 13

Tournament Titles: 2

Last Champ.: 2016

Overall Record: 26-13

SLIAC Record: 13-5

Tournament Trips: 12

Tournament Titles: 4

Last Champ.: 2009

Overall Record: 23-11

SLIAC Record: 16-2

Tournament Trips: 14

Tournament Titles: 3

Last Champ.: 1998

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