May 3, 2013

OAC Softball Tournament Championship Preview

The number three seed Mount Union softball team will play for the 2013 Ohio Athletic Conference Softball Tournament title Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Clowson Field in Columbus, Ohio. 

The winner of the tomorrow's game between John Carroll and Capital will face Mount Union in the title game. 

The Purple Raiders advanced to the championship game by defeating the number two seed John Carroll (5-0) in their first game and the number one seed Capital (9-5) in their second game. 

Mount Union (24-11) will be making its 12th appearance all-time in the OAC championship game and the first since the 2009 season. The Raiders won their only title in 2008. 

The OAC Tournament champion receives the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Division III Softball Championship.  The 62-team field is made up of 41 conference champions, two spots are reserved for independents while the final 19 spots are national at-large bids.  Teams will be sent to eight different regionals next week.  The NCAA Central Regional, the region the Purple Raiders are in, will be held at Trine University in Angola, Indiana.

NCAA Central Region Ranking (as of May 2)

1. Trine (Ind.)

2. Capital

3. John Carroll

4. Alma (Mich.)

5. Mount Union

6. Case Western Reserve

7. Ohio Northern

8. Muskingum

Scouting Mount Union

The Raiders are batting .287 as a team and feature the OAC's number one ranked pitching staff with an ERA of 2.18. 

Kristen Gromes (Navarre/Fairless) leads the Raiders with 48 hits, eight doubles, four triples, 26 RBI and is tied for the team lead in home runs (5) with Leigh Siedlak (Westerville/Westerville South). 

Rachel McAninch (West Jefferson/West Jefferson) leads the Raiders pitching efforts with a record of 15-8 and ranks second in the conference with a 1.90 ERA and 164 strikeouts. Her 15 wins and 164 strikeouts are career-highs in a season for McAninch. 

Scouting John Carroll

John Carroll (26-10) has a 1-1 record in this year's OAC Tournament. The Blue Streaks lost 5-0 to Mount Union in their first game defeated Marietta 9-3 in the second game. 

The Blue Streaks feature the conference's third best batting average (.336) and the number four ERA (2.82). 

Mackenzie Griffin leads the conference with a .584 batting average and is third with 41 RBI. 

Rachel Byrnes leads the conference with 18 wins on the season and is third with a 2.03 ERA and 137 strikeouts. 

John Carroll won last year's OAC Tournament as well as in 2010.

Scouting Capital

Capital (33-9) has a 1-1 record in this year's tournament .The Crusaders defeated Marietta 3-2 in their first game of this year's tournament and fell to Mount Union 9-5 in the second game.

The Crusaders feature the conference's best batting average of .352 and the number two ranked pitching staff with an ERA of 2.76. 

Devan Boggs is first in the conference with 11 home runs and 48 RBI and is third in the conference with a .476 batting average. 

Alyssa Patznick is tied for first in the conference with 18 wins and is fifth with 115 strikeouts. Brooke Billings has 15 wins on the year and leads the Crusaders with a 2.41 ERA. 

Capital has won the OAC tournament in 1997 and 1991.

OAC Tournament History vs. the Field

Mount Union is 2-3 against John Carroll in OAC Tournament games. John Carroll defeated Mount Union in 2012 and 2010 and split in 2009. Mount Union defeated John Carroll in 2013.  

Mount Union is 4-2 against Capital in OAC Tournament games. Mount Union defeated Capital in 1998 and 2013 and twice in 2005. Capital defeated Mount Union in 2002 and 1991. 

2013 OAC Tournament

Friday, May 3

Game #1 - Mount Union 5, John Carroll 0

Game #2 - Capital 3, Marietta 2 

Game #3 - Mount Union 9, Capital 5 

Game #4 - John Carroll 9, Marietta 3 (Marietta eliminated)

Saturday, May 4

Game #5 - Capital vs. John Carroll, 11 a.m.

Game #6 - Winner #5 vs. Mount Union, 1 p.m.

Sunday, May 5 (if necessary)

Game 7 - Winner #6 vs. Loser #6, Noon

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