Last updated: March 19. 2014 10:33AM - 544 Views
By HAROLD HARMON



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There are good breaks and bad breaks.


Southeastern’s LadyStorm softballers will waste little time discovering into which category the 2014 spring break falls.


It’s time for Storm fans to mark their calendars for Tuesday, March 25.


That’s the first action following the break and it will be Great American Conference play against East Central at the Southeastern softball field on N. 1st Avenue.


East Central will bring a crowd. Storm fans should come early.


Southeastern has just vaulted into the top spot in the GAC standings with an overall record of 20-7 and a conference mark of 13-3.


East Central is now sixth at 14-11 and 6-6.


Coach Ron Faubion’s young ladies have won 11 in a row and 14 of the last 15.


If you think that’s not a red flag waving in the eyes of the Lady Tigers, think again.


Like every other sport in which the two schools compete, neither Southeastern nor East Central likes to lose. This happens to be softball. It wouldn’t matter if it was bowling or crocheting. The competition will be fierce.


That’s the law of this jungle. Always has been, always will be.


SOUTHEASTERN boasts three players hitting .400 or higher.


Sydney Kramer, a hit left, throw right sophomore center fielder leads the way with a .466 batting average. She paces the Storm with 88 at-bats, 41 hits, 11 doubles and 24 runs batted in. She blisters the ball, specializes in did-you-see-that? catches and is six for six in stolen bases.


Jessica Simmons, another hit left, throw right sophomore second baseman is the reigning GAC Player of the Week after a weekend series against Southern Nazarene in which she went six for nine with four walks for a .769 on-base percentage. She also stole seven bases, scored eight runs and drove in four out of the leadoff spot in the batting order.


Simmons also blasted an opposite-field, walk-off homer to seal a comeback win against SNU. It happened to be the first time she has ever hit a homer over the fence. She’s had several, but all of the inside-the-park variety. She is hitting .440 and leads the team with 27 runs scored, the lone triple of the season and 22 stolen bases in 28 tries.


Laramie Beal, another hit left, throw right sophomore outfielder checks in at .408 with a team-high six home runs, the latest a walk-off shot on the first pitch she saw as she led off the eighth to lock up a 3-2 victory over Minnesota-Duluth.


The team batting average is .304 with 213 hits, 136 runs, 21 home runs and 125 runs batted in.


Mindy McElroy is 10-3 in the circle with a 1.74 earned-run average. She has pitched a team-high 76.1 innings with 25 strikeouts, 10 walks and is holding opponents to a .251 batting average.


Jacee Bennett is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 60 innings. She has struck out 53, walked 14 and is holding opponents to a .261 average. She leads the team in appearances with 18 and has logged five saves.


Bennett led the nation a year ago with eight saves.


Shayna Milam is 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 39.2 innings. She has struck out 28, walked 14 and is holding opponents to a .281 average.


THE LATEST GAC standings show the LadyStorm in first place, followed by Northwestern.


Northwestern is second at 16-6 and 8-2, Henderson State third at 15-12 and 11-5, Southern Arkansas fourth at 15-11 and 10-6 and Arkansas Monticello fifth at 16-11 and 9-7.


East Central is sixth, followed by Harding at 15-14 and 7-9, Ouachita Baptist at 9-19 and 5-11, Southern Nazarene at 10-15 and 4-10, Arkansas Tech at 8-12 and 3-9 and Southwestern at 5-17 and 2-10.


Northwestern and Southern Nazarene are not eligible for the championship due to provisional membership in the GAC.


STORM FANS, don’t forget to mark those calendars.


It’s always tough coming off a break, especially when a team is playing well. Southeastern was definitely playing well going into the break.


It won’t take long to figure which team comes out smoking and which team gets smoked.


A big and loud home crowd can have a lot to do with the outcome on March 25.

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