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LWC Softball prepares to host NAIA Opening Round

By Brady Budke

Postseason play continues on for the Lindsey Wilson softball team, who is set to compete in the 2021 NAIA Softball Opening Round beginning on Monday, May 17 at Marilyn D. Sparks Park, Lindsey Wilson Sports Complex, 928 Russell Road, Columbia, KY.

The Blue Raiders secured the No. 1 seed in the Columbia (KY) Bracket and will be joined by No. 2 seed Saint Xavier (IL), No. 3 seed Madonna (MI), and No. 4 seed Brenau (GA). The Opening Round is in double-elimination format with the winner advancing on to compete in the 40th Annual NAIA Softball World Series in Columbus, Georgia from May 27-June 2.

Action is set to begin on Monday with Lindsey Wilson taking on Brenau at NoonCT. Saint Xavier and Madonna will finish the day with a 3pmCT first pitch. Matchups on Tuesday are slated for NoonCT, 3pmCT, and 6pmCT. Wednesday will be the final day of competition with a game at NoonCT and a potential "if necessary" game at 3pmCT.

Excluding last year (tournament canceled due to COVID-19), this marks the eighth season in a row Lindsey Wilson will serve as a host for the Opening Round.

Lindsey Wilson enters Opening Round play after earning an at-large bid thanks to a 38-9 overall record. The Blue Raiders will feature Annabelle Ramirez in the circle, who leads the NAIA in batters struck out per game (12.4). She also holds a team-low 1.07 ERA through 164 innings pitched. On offense, LWC is averaging 5.8 runs per game on 8.6 hits per game. Makea-Al Kaluau has produced a team-leading 64 hits and 54 RBIs.

Saint Xavier has garnered a strong 33-2 overall record and notched a spot in the Opening Round after claiming the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. The Cougars bring a consistent pitching staff which is led by Allison Golic, who has accumulated just a 1.05 ERA through 146 2/3 innings. Golic is averaging 10.3 K's per game and has notched double-digit strikeouts in nine outings this year. Offensively, SXU ranks fourth in the NAIA at 10.4 hits per game.

Madonna has produced a 30-8 overall mark and was the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament runner-up, earning an automatic berth into the Opening Round. The Crusaders are guided on offense by Kattie Popko, who is one of the top hitters in the NAIA. Popko has played and started in all 38 of her team's games while accumulating a team-best .508 batting average (third best mark in the NAIA), 60 hits, and 36 RBIs. From the circle, Madisen Henry has managed a team-high 84 strikeouts while Maeson Schlaud is sitting with a team-low 0.56 ERA through 62 innings pitched.

Brenau won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Championship to punch its ticket to the Opening Round with a 23-15 overall record. The bats have been strong this season for the Golden Tigers, who rank third in the NAIA at 10.5 hits per game. Faith Grooms has accumulated a team-leading 64 hits and 41 RBIs. The pitching for BU is guided by Cameron Dillard, who has thrown a team-high 141 2/3 innings alongside 76 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA.

Live video of all the games will be available at the Lindsey Wilson Sports Network. Viewing packages are available for $7 per game and $20 for the entire tournament. Live stats will be available for free on DakStats. Click Here for the Columbia (Ky.) Bracket Opening Round tournament page.

This story was posted on 2021-05-16 20:36:52
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