BC softball squad carrying number two seed into HCAC tournamentBy Tim Stried, SID
April 29, 2002
With a 9-4-1 record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Bluffton College softball squad will travel to Manchester College this weekend with the number two seed in the 2002 HCAC tournament.
Bluffton won their final six league games in a row two weeks ago to cement their place among the HCAC's elite squads. The Beavers will now attempt to bring the HCAC tournament back to Bluffton, where it rested following the 1999 season when BC captured the first ever HCAC tournament.
The winner of the tournament will take the HCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA regional tournament.
Bluffton met Alma, Ohio Northern and Kalamazoo in three non-conference double-headers last week and came away with one victory. BC knocked off Kalamazoo 3-1 in the first game Saturday as junior Missy Neal turned in a 3-for-3 day at the plate with two doubles and senior Emily Kurtz won her seventh game of the season, striking out five batters.
Last week sophomore Stephanie Rush batted .526 (10-for-19) in six games and extended her current hitting streak to nine games in the process. Against Alma on Tuesday Rush was a combined 5-for-6 with a double and two RBIs, then on Thursday she was a combined 3-for-6 at Ohio Northern. On Saturday she was a combined 2-for-7 with an RBI and a double-header at Kalamazoo.
Rush leads Bluffton in batting average (.303), doubles (7), RBIs (15) and slugging percentage (.404). Other offensive leaders include freshman Janeen Arps (.297), sophomore Amber Fitzwater (.295, 5 2b, 9 rbi, .343 ob%), Neal (.268, 8 rbi), sophomore Amanda DeVaul (.255), freshman Michelle Pleiman (.250), sophomore Paula Fry (.247) and freshman Allison Lange (.233, 4 2b).
Kurtz leads the pitching staff with a 7-9 record and a 1.78 ERA with 69 strikeouts, while Arps is 4-6 with a 2.92 ERA.
Special to: The Bluffton News