Softball Headed To Ithaca For NCAA's

May 9, 2011

The Middlebury College softball team will makes its first NCAA Tournament appearance this week when they travel to Ithaca, N.Y. to take part in an NCAA Regional from May 12-15, hosted by Ithaca College. The Panthers earned an automatic bid into the tournament, winning their first NESCAC Championship. Middlebury will begin the eight-team, double-elimination regional with an opening game against Keuka College at 2:30 p.m. on May 12.

The Panthers are in the midst of their most successful season, setting numerous individual and team records, including a 29-6 overall mark. In its 14th season, dating back to 1998, this is the program’s first ever venture into national post-season play.

Middlebury, which entered the NESCAC playoffs as the top seed of the West Division with a school-record 11-1 mark in conference action, went 3-0 in the NESCAC tourney. The Panthers picked up their three victories by topping Trinity 2-1 in the opening round, then beating host Tufts 2-0 in a two-day, rain-delayed second-round game. The Panthers faced Tufts again in the championship game, ousting the hosts 7-4 for the NESCAC crown. Megan Margel led the Panthers with a .556 average, earning NESCAC Player of the Week honors, while hurler Elizabeth Morris was tabbed for conference honors as NESCAC Pitcher of the Week. Morris was exceptional in the circle, earning a win and a save in two appearances, scattering three singles without allowing a run. For the series, three Middlebury pitchers went 21 innings, posting a 0.86 ERA with 19 strikeouts, while not allowing an extra-base hit over the three-game tournament.

Head Coach Kelly Bevere is in her fifth year at the helm of the program, with a career record of 99-65. One win shy of 100, she already eclipsed the school mark for career victories in 2010. Her team is hitting at a .337 clip, besting the school-mark of .321 set in 2007, while collecting a school-record in hits (326) in the process. The squad re-wrote the Middlebury record book on offense, setting new season-highs in several categories including: runs (219), team BA (.337), RBI (189), and doubles (70), all tops in the NESCAC. Additionally, the Panthers led the NESCAC in on-base percentage (.401), slugging (.476) and triples (16).

Inside the circle Middlebury was equally impressive, leading the NESCAC in numerous pitching categories, including: ERA (1.11), wins (29), saves (8), hits (158), runs (54), earned runs (36), walks (47), and strikeouts (238). The Panthers set additional school-records in wins (29), winning percentage (.829), longest winning streak (17) and most games played in a season (35). As of May 1, Middlebury was ranked second in the NCAA in team ERA at 0.98.

Morris, a first-year pitcher, led the conference with a sparkling 11-1 record, adding four saves to go along with her NESCAC-best 0.78 ERA. She tied a school-record for strikeouts with 84, set by her teammate Geena Constantin in 2010. Constantin, a senior, was second in the NESCAC in ERA (0.95), posting a 7-2 mark with a pair of saves and 82 punch-outs. Ali McAnaney is another veteran pitching option for Coach Bevere, as the senior was sixth in the conference in ERA (1.44), garnering a 9-1 record in 13 starts, tossing three complete games. The trio accounted for all the pitching in the NESCAC Championship series.

At the plate, Margel has set a new standard for Middlebury with 170 hits in 130 career games played. The senior holds a career .397 average, hitting a nearly identical .398 this season, good for fifth in the NESCAC. She collected 24 RBI this year, upping her school-record total from 2010 to 93 for her career.

Sophomore Jessa Hoffman tops the NESCAC in triples (7) and is the school-leader with 13 three-baggers. She is third in the conference in doubles (12) and has a pair of home runs. The 21 extra-base hits are good for second place in the NESCAC. Currently the leadoff hitter holds a .377 BA, a .474 on-base percentage, and an impressive .658 slugging percentage. Hoffman also set a NESCAC-leading and school-record 40 runs scored.

Jessica Poracky led the conference with 14 doubles, setting a season-record for the Panthers, as the sophomore is one double from tying the school career mark at 21. Poracky is fifth in the NESCAC in slugging at .606, with 36 hits, including two triples and a pair of home runs to go along with her 14 doubles.

The winner of the regional will travel to Salem, Virginia to take part in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship later this month.

2011 NCAA Ithaca Regional – Ithaca, N.Y.
All Games Scheduled to be played at Ithaca College’s Kostrinsky Field

Thursday, May 12
Game 1:  10:00 am:     #1 Messiah vs. #8 Muhlenberg
Game 2:  12:00 pm:     #4 Western Connecticut State vs. #5 St. John Fisher
Game 3:  2:30 pm:       #3 Middlebury vs. #6 Keuka
Game 4:  4:30 pm:       #2 Ithaca vs. #7 Centenary

Friday, May 13
Game 5:  10:00 am:     Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 6:  12:00 pm:     Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7:  2:30 pm:       Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 8:  4:30 pm:       Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Saturday, May 14
Game 9:  10:00 am:     Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7
Game 10:12:00 pm:     Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 8
Game 11: 2:30 pm:      Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8
Game 12: 4:30 pm       Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10

Sunday, May 15
Game 13: 12:00 pm:    Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 11
Game 14: 2:30 pm:      Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Game 13

Monday, May 16
Game 15:  10:00 am    If necessary game – If the Winner of Game 13 defeats the Winner of Game 11 in Game 14, the two teams will play again