HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State’s baseball and softball teams each open conference play on the road Thursday.
Wallace State’s baseball team made its first appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I rankings on Tuesday, coming in at No. 8 in the country after a 20-4 start to the season.
The Lions have won seven of their last 10 games as they travel to Snead State for a doubleheader on Thursday. They also put together a 13-game winning streak in February.
During its impressive work over the last month and a half, Wallace State boasts a collective team batting average of .317 and a staff ERA of 2.50.
“I’ve been impressed with our will to win. Each and every player on the roster wants the team to have success and that’s important,” said Wallace State baseball coach Randy Putman. “Even though we’ve won 20 games, I don’t think we’ve put complete games together yet. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
On the mound, freshman right-hander Blake Rivera is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in 23 2/3 innings pitched for Wallace State, while sophomore Jesse Scott is 2-0 with a 2.88 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 25 innings. Also posting ERA’s under 3.00 with 15 or more innings pitched are Seth McWaters (2.29), Braxton Light (2.76) and Blake Schilleci (2.93).
“Our pitching staff competes with each other in a good team way. One guy has a good outing and the next guy wants do the same. They’ve all had success at some point,” Putman said.
At the plate, freshman Dalton Sinquefield is hitting a robust .394 with three homers and 27 RBIs. Cole Collins is hitting .321 with three homers and 15 RBIs, Kolby Robinson sports a .370 average with eight RBIs and Kevin Bryant, Palmer Ford, Maison Goodwin, Conner Daniel, Heath Haskins and Austin Triplett each have at least 10 RBIs.
With the sizzling start to the 2017 campaign, Putman now sits only seven wins away from 1,000 career victories at Wallace State.
Wallace State wraps up its series with Snead State at home on Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m.
Wallace State softball
Meanwhile, after navigating through a fierce non-conference schedule, Wallace State softball (14-11) opens league play at Calhoun on Thursday under first-year coach A.J. Daugherty.
The Lions, the defending and 10-time Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) champion, have also won seven of their last 10 games.
“I’m upbeat about starting conference play and excited to see if we can repeat as conference champions. We’ve played some stiff competition all season long, and I feel it’s helped us continue to grow and learn a lot about each other,” Daugherty said.
Sophomore Taylor Beshears has clubbed a season-high nine homers for Wallace State along with hitting .419 and compiling 19 RBIs. As a freshman with the Lions, she was a 3rd-team NJCAA All-American and the ACCC North Division Player of the Year after setting multiple single-season school records.
Freshman Charlee West is batting .402 with five homers and 17 RBIs for the Lions, while Amber Hammonds is hitting .333 with six bombs, 14 RBIs and eight stolen bases. Brittany Ledbetter leads the team with 22 RBIs.
Wallace State has cranked 24 homers as a club, good for 2nd-best in the conference.
“We’ve hit the ball well. I’ve been impressed with how we’ve squared up the bats against some stiff pitching,” Daugherty added.
On the mound, Ledbetter is 6-4 with a 1.58 ERA in 66 1/3 innings. Savannah Bolton has a 5-1 record with a 4.11 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.
Wallace State’s home conference opener is Saturday vs. Snead State.
Wallace State tennis
Wallace State’s tennis teams host conference foe Faulkner State at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Wallace State’s women’s tennis team recently earned its first victory of the season, edging East Central Mississippi, 5-4.
Kelsi Wilson, Tempie Ennis and Molly Whitlock prevailed in singles action. In doubles, Wilson and Emily Graves and Ennis and Nikki Rakestraw picked up wins.
The men’s team fell, 5-4.
For the men, Cade Pressnell and Donny Camp notched wins in singles play. Camp and Clint Watson and Pressnell and Damon Calvert were victorious in doubles.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu.
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