Last updated: March 13. 2014 4:13PM - 562 Views
By HAROLD HARMON Sports Writer

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Coach Ron Faubion’s LadyStorm softballers will take a 5-game winning streak into Friday’s Great American Conference when Southern Nazarene comes to town.

Southeastern is 14-7 overall and 9-3 in conference competition. Southern Nazarene is 9-10 and 4-6.

Doubleheaders will begin at 1 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

The LadyStorm will spend the first day of Spring Break hosting the University of Minnesota-Duluth in a 1 p.m. twinbill on Monday, March 17.

The Storm rode outstanding defensive play in a hard-to-come-by four-game sweep over Arkansas Tech last weekend in Russellville.

COACH FAUBION said, “It was really fun to watch the games. Our kids hooked up and played great defense and that’s what it takes in this league. “

The pitching may be a bit less than sharp, the hitting a bit less than desired. Those games will come along during the season.

Great defensive play is absolutely demoralizing to opponents and seems to boost the offense as well.

Third-baseman Lacie Cook (16) and shortstop Haley Strawn (13) combined for 29 assists in the four games at Tech.

Strawn also gobbled up a ground ball, stepped on the bag at second and threw out a runner at first for a double-play.

Center-fielder Sydney Kramer twice stole doubles, running down drives on the warning track and making the catches going away.

Kramer also went into left field to glove a shot, then threw out a runner at third base.

Right-fielder Laramie Beal fielded what would have bee a base hit in the outfield and threw out the runner at first.

A ground sizzler bounced off Cook’s shoulder at third and shortstop Strawn nailed the runner at first.

“Our pitching is coming around,” Faubion said. “We’re also starting to get the bat on the ball. Combine that with our defense and we can be pretty hard to beat.”

Overall, the Storm hit at close to a .300 clip against Tech and Mindy McElroy, who started the season in San Antonio with a spot of illness, won two games with a .50 earned-run average.

McElroy was named the GAC Pitcher of the Week for her effort in Russellville, which included two complete games, only five hits and one earned run.

She held the Golden Suns to an anemic .109 batting average. She also threw Southeastern’s first shutout of the season in a 2-0 win on Friday.

SOUTHERN NAZARENE is blessed with excellent team speed.

The Crimson Storm has stolen 26 bases in 31 attempts with leading hitter Kylie Lang (sophomore outfielder/pitcher, .422) a perfect seven for seven.

Sophomore infielder Megan Blevens is seven of eight in steals and is batting .370, with senior infielder Lindy Fluman hitting .344 with six steals in eight tries.

On the flip side, SoNaz has allowed opponents 37 steals in 40 tries.

Sophomore Kayla Wyatt is the top pitcher at 5-3 with a 3.58 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 24 walks in 58.2 innings.

SOUTHEASTERN LEADS the conference standings with a 9-3 mark.

Actually, Northwestern (13-3) has a better percentage at 5-1, but the Lady Rangers are not eligible for regular-season or conference championships this year.

Harding (14-9) and Henderson State (11-12) are tied at 7-5. Arkansas-Monticello (13-10), East Central (14-11) and Southern Arkansas (11-11) are knotted at 6-6.

Ouachita Baptist (8-14) is 4-8, Arkansas Tech (7-9) and Southwestern (5-13) are 2-6 each.

THE LADYSTORM have a .306 team batting average and a 2.76 ERA.

McElroy is 7-3 and 2.09 with four complete games in 57 innings.

Jacee Bennett, who also won two games at Arkansas Tech,

is 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 40.1 innings. Shayna Milam is 3-2 and 3.44 in 36.2 innings.

Kramer paces the Storm with a .485 batting average, 18 runs scored, eight doubles, 33 hits and six stolen bases in six tries.

Jessica Simmons is hitting .426 with 17 runs scored, six doubles and 13 for 19 in steals.

Laramie Beal is batting .424 with five doubles, four home runs, 18 runs batted in and 10 walks, including several of the intentional variety.

Arianna Jones is hitting .333 with three home runs and Strawn is nudging the .300 mark at .288 with two home runs.

First pitches will be thrown both Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Southeastern softball field.

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