The Lady Lions are not just getting attention on campus. Ranked ninth in the country as of March 21, the highest the softball team has ever been ranked in the school’s history, they currently hold a dominating record of 26-1. This outstanding performance so far has gained the attention of both NCAA.com, as well as the Tampa Bay Times.
The record is not the only impressive information coming from the team. They also boast a team earned run average of 0.28, which is the best in the country. The Lady Lions also have a team batting average of .365, which is the third highest in the nation. On an individual performance level, the team has three pitchers in the top four for ERA in the country. Sophomore Samantha Tyler leads the nation with a 0.18 ERA, directly followed by Senior Alana Tabel, with an ERA of 0.24. Junior Stephanie Adkins currently holds the fourth lowest ERA in Division Two, at 0.38.
Head Coach Erin Kinberger is understandably proud of her team’s pitching staff.
“Our pitching staff is phenomenal. We are fortunate to have in my opinion three No. 1s. They work together and have each other’s backs. We have a lot of minds working together during the games starting with our catcher Sommer Pollard who knows each pitcher like the back of her hand,” Head Coach Kinberger told NCAA.com.
Tabel is also excited about the pitching performance.
“The pitching staff we have this year is the best pitching staff I have been a part of in my life. As a battery, we look at each other as a team within a team. We all work together in the bullpens and encourage each other to improve every day. When one of us has trouble with something, one of us steps in and tries to help and says what personally helps us in those situations. It makes me so happy that we have 3 “number ones” on this team, because if I ever get a jam, there is not one pitcher I would prefer over the other one to come in for me, I know both of them would get the job done. We all have one common goal on this team, it is to win and win a national championship. None of us care how it takes to get there,” Tabel told NCAA.com.
These solid performances have come from the offense as well. Freshman Brooke Samios-Uy leads the team with 28 runs batted in, and even though they only have four home runs as a team, the Lady Lions make up for it with their efficient and effective speed, stealing 68 bases on 73 attempts, good for a 93 percent steal rate, good for 13th in the country.
In recognition of the team’s performances, the Sunshine State Conference has given players on the team nine players of the week awards this year, with Tabel earning her second of the season on March 21.
With only 17 games remaining, the Lady Lions are approaching the end of the season on an historic pace. If they keep this up, a deep run in the NCAA Division Two Softball National Championship Tournament is well within the realm of possibility for this dominant team.