The LadyStorm softballers are down to the last two weekends of the regular season.
Coach Ron Faubion’s young ladies will need to shake off last weekend’s Northwestern migraine and settle down to business quickly because Southwestern’s Lady Bulldogs could salvage something from a bad season with just one win here Friday or Saturday.
On paper, this weekend is simply no contest.
The next game played on paper will be the first game played on paper.
The Lady Bulldogs will come to town with an overall record of 11-33 and a Great American Conference mark of 7-25.
The LadyStorm are 29-13 and 22-9.
Southwestern is dead last in the GAC standings and Southeastern is still in first by the slimmest of margins. NW is second in the standings at 33-13 and 21-9.
It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to see that the LadyStorm absolutely need to sweep the Lady Bulldogs.
Southeastern and Southwestern, long-time opponents back to the days of the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference, will start at 2 p.m. Friday.
The first pitch is slated for 12 noon for Saturday’s doubleheader.
THE LATEST GAC standings show the Storm still on top with Northwestern half a breath away.
Henderson State (the final conference doubleheader foe on April 25-26) is third at 26-17 and 22-10. Southern Arkansas is fourth at 25-21 and 19-13, East Central is fifth at 25-20 and 17-15,Harding is sixth at 27-22 and 19-17 to close out the teams with winning conference records.
Arkansas-Monticello is 25-23 and 16-19, Arkansas Tech is 22-24 and 12-20, Southern Nazarene is 17-26 and 11-19, Ouachita Baptist is 16-30 and 11-21, followed by Southwestern.
Going into this weekend, SE and Henderson State each have eight games remaining, all in league play.
Northwestern has a dozen on the schedule, GAC games at East Central and Arkansas-Monticello, plus doubleheaders with Newman (Kansas) and Rogers State (Oklahoma).
Henderson State is at Arkansas Tech this weekend before the season finale next week at Southeastern.
NW visits EC this weekend, plays Newman, goes to Monticello, then hosts Rogers State.
If Southeastern and Henderson State take care of business this weekend, the regular-season championship will be determined next weekend at LadyStorm field on N. 1st avenue.
Might just mark your calendars.
THE LADYSTORM will square off against the Lady Bulldogs with a .301 team batting average and three players hitting above the magical .400 mark.
Sydney Kramer is batting .408 to lead the way. She has team highs in at-bats (142), hits (58) and doubles (14). She is tied for the lead in runs batted in with 37.
Laramie Beal checks in at .402 with eight home runs and tied with Kramer at 37 RBIs. She also has the top slugging mark at .680.
Jessica Simmons is also hitting .402 and leading the team with 40 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 32 attempts.
Haley Strawn averages .362 with seven doubles, five homers and 31 runs batted in. The team earned run average is now 3.68 with Mindy McElroy at 16-6 and 2.37 in 136 innings. She is holding opponents to a .263 batting average.
Shayna Milam is 5-2 with a 3.52 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 55.2 innings. She holds opponents to a .289 batting average.
Jacee Bennett is 8-5 with a 5.34 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. She holds opponents to a .310 average.
NORTHWESTERN has a .281 team batting average and a 4.76 team ERA.
Adrienne Martinez, a 5-3 junior first baseman, is the leading hitter at .404. She also leads in hits (57), doubles (18), home runs (5) and runs batted in (34).
Ashley Dunigan, a 5-1 junior second baseman/shortstop is batting .346 a team-high 39 runs scored, eight doubles, three triples and 27 stolen bases in 29 attempts.
Nikki Brandt, a 5-9 junior outfielder, is hitting .333 with five doubles, two triples, three homers and 28 RBIs. She is also six for seven in stolen bases.
Courtney Miller, a 5-5 sophomore outfielder, is batting .303 and is also six for seven on the bases.
Julianne Martinez, a 5-5 senior pitcher, is 6-16 in the circle with a 4.23 ERA in 144 innings. She has struck out 99 and walked 76.