HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State’s third-ranked softball team has won 56 games, 11 in a row and 34 of 36 as the Lady Lions begin postseason play Friday in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 tournament at Veteran’s Park in Alabaster.
Four more victories separate top-seeded Wallace State from earning its ninth conference championship and another trip to the NJCAA Division I national tournament in St. George, Utah, where the Lady Lions won the program’s second national championship in 2013.
Wallace State, which has a first-round bye, opens the tournament at noon Friday against the Calhoun-Alabama Southern winner.
“Our sophomores are hungry to get down to Alabaster and come back with different results than we did last year. This group of sophomores doesn’t want to be the first group in more than 10 years to leave here without winning a conference title. They are hungry after not making it to the national tournament last season. They know we could have played better last season (in Alabaster) and know the little things it takes to get it done,” said Wallace State coach Jayne Clem, who surpassed the 800-win plateau on March 28. “I’m nervous, but excited about our chances to win. You have to be a little nervous if you are truly invested in it. I think we are where we need to be at this point, but the great thing is I still don’t think we’ve played our best. We believe the only thing that can stop us from winning is ourselves.”
After winning the 2013 national title, Wallace State made a rare early exit in last season’s conference tournament, losing in the semifinals. It was only the third time since 2003 the Lady Lions left Alabaster without winning the title.
Wallace State (56-11) is once again a top seed after finishing 23-1 in the conference. The final two ACCC series against Central Alabama and Southern Union were postposed last weekend because of inclement weather. Therefore, Wallace State scheduled a doubleheader at Montevallo on Tuesday and swept the twinbill from the Lady Falcons, winning 10-0 and 6-3.
Rachel Ragland and Amanda Medders, both 20-game winners, make up Wallace State’s dynamic sophomore pitching duo. They anchor a pitching staff that has a cumulative 1.65 ERA, by far the best in the conference. Calhoun is second with a 2.11 ERA.
Ragland, who has won 12 straight starts, finished the regular season with a 23-7 record and a miniscule and conference-best 1.12 ERA. The Pleasant Grove native has recorded 190 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings and also leads the league with seven saves.
After earning first-team All-ACCC/Region 22 recognition as a freshman, Medders has been even more dominant during her sophomore campaign. She is 27-3 with a 1.76 ERA in 186 2/3 innings. She leads the conference in wins.
“Rachel and Amanda keep us in every ballgame. They’ve matured so much over the last year. They didn’t know what to expect as freshmen and got rattled at times when the defense let them down. They know they can rely on their defense much more this season and wait for our offense to get a big hit,” Clem said.
Wallace State has been carried offensively by multiple players throughout the season.
Freshman Katie Parr is hitting .394 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs. Sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Hill carries a .352 average into the tournament with a pair of homers and 45 RBIs. She leads Wallace State in hits (81) and runs (56) out of the leadoff spot.
Sam Riley has seven homers and 35 RBIs for Wallace State, while Olivia Royals has swiped a team-best 37 stolen bases.
Wallace State earned the North Division’s top seed for the 10th consecutive season. Chattahoochee Valley is the South’s top seed.
The three-day tournament concludes Sunday with the championship game set for 1 p.m. The winner advances to the NJCAA Division I softball championship at St. George, Utah from May 13-16.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu
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Wallace State Community College
801 Main Street NW | Hanceville, AL 35077
Office: 256.352.8118 | Cell: 256.339.2519 | Toll Free: 866.350.9722
Be One of Us. Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu.