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MSC Softball Tournament continues with quartet of games Thurs

By Joel Snyder

The road to the NAIA National Tournament goes through Columbia this weekend. Two automatic bids to the season-ending tournament await, as well as the right to named Mid-South Conference Tournament champions. The eleven-team field was cut in half last week thanks to the madness that was the opening round. Now, the final six teams prepare to enter the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

Five-time conference tournament champion and top-seeded Campbellsville (KY) enters the weekend with a week-and-a-half of rest under its belt. Despite sharing the regular-season crown with Lindsey Wilson, the Tigers (37-11, 27-5 MSC) garnered the number one seed behind a better record against a common opponent.

Campbellsville will take to the field at 4pmCT where they will open their tournament play against the winner of the day's first game between fourth-seeded Bethel (TN) and fifth-seeded Georgetown (KY).

Columbia's own Lindsey Wilson (37-7, 27-5 MSC) continues its tournament title defense after sweeping Pikeville (KY) during last week's opening round.

The Blue Raiders sport the Mid-South's third-highest batting average (0.317) and second-highest slugging percentage (0.483). The productivity at the plate is paced by Makea-Al Kaluau, whose individual slugging percentage of 0.788 ranks number 21 in the NAIA. Furthermore, the junior leads the conference in total home runs (15) and total runs batted in (51).

The locals also boast one of the hottest pitching rotations in all of Division I, highlighted by Annabelle Ramirez. The senior ace ranks number three in the country in opponent's batting average (0.118) and hits allowed per nine innings (2.8). Both of those marks are paced by Ramirez's conference-leading 12.8 strikeouts per game. As a team, Lindsey Wilson stands atop the Mid-South in total batters struck out, with 362.

The Blue Raiders will compete in the final edition of Thursday's action at 6:30 p.m. CT. Their opponent will be either the third-seeded Lions of Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) or the ninth-seeded Martin Methodist (Tenn.).

Martin Methodist (11-28, 7-25 MSC) has turned more than a few heads since the beginning the April, starting with a series split against the then-unbeaten Blue Raiders. Though they would proceed to lose their subsequent ten games, the Redhawks opened conference tournament play with a series win at national-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.).

Freed-Hardeman (37-9, 23-7 MSC) on the other hand, has latched onto the back of its commanding rotation in the circle. The Lions poses three of the Mid-South's top four earned run averages, led by Chloe Winters (0.84). Then, there is Brittany Adair, whose opponent's batting average of 0.115 leads the conference. As a team, Freed-Hardeman is the only Mid-South school that has not allowed more than 200 total hits.

During the regular-season, Lindsey Wilson went a combined 5-3 against its two possible tournament foes.

Thursday's quadruple-header begins at 11amCT with Georgetown taking on Bethel.

Each of the four losers from Thursday will venture up Highway 55 to Campbellsville on Friday for a pair of elimination games. Other than that, all of the remaining tournament games will be played at Sparks Park, continuing on Friday at 4 p.m. CT.

This story was posted on 2021-05-06 15:18:53
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