SALEM, Va. – The Bridgewater College softball team will begin their first ODAC postseason tournament in five years tomorrow, with a modified schedule.
Due to rain, Bridgewater's opener tomorrow vs. Randolph-Macon has been pushed back to 6 p.m. Instead of playing two tomorrow in the double-elimination format, BC's second game will be Saturday, either at 1:30 p.m. if the Eagles win, or 11:30 a.m. if they lose. All games take place at Salem, Va.'s James Moyer Sports Complex.
Bridgewater (23-15, 10-10 ODAC) earned the fifth seed in the tournament and will face fourth-seeded Randolph-Macon- a 2015, 2017 and 2018 NCAA qualifier- in the first round. The Eagles split their regular season doubleheader with the Yellow Jackets on Fulk Field, taking Game 1 by a score of 7-1 after a grand slam by freshman Torie Shifflett.
The Eagles went 7-7 in the regular season against ODAC playoff opponents, splitting with everyone except for a sweep of Ferrum and a two losses vs. two-time defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan.
"It all starts with the upperclassman leadership," said head coach Lis Schulz. "It starts with them understanding what it feels like to continue to push every single year to be a better team."
"Now, a lot of that had to do with talent that we've gotten in," she continued, "and the upperclassmen worked with them to create this team culture where we can succeed as one unit."
That young talent includes sophomore transfer Katrina Martin (.379, 6 HRs, 32 RBIs), freshman Kaitlyn Tirona (.333, 2 HR, 13 RBIs) and freshman Sarah Wimer (.314, 3 HR, 23 RBIs).
Returners have spearheaded the pitching staff, especially Brooke Louden- who has had a breakout season going 10-4 on the mound with a 1.73 ERA, along with a .283 batting average. Senior Carolyn Campbell is 8-6 with a 3.44 ERA.
"We play in a very competitive conference and we see some big hitters," said Schulz. "These pitchers have a lot to do out there, whether it's physical or even just mental, but they've matured a lot on the mound. It's really cool to see that all that hard work finally pay off."
Schulz expects a small-ball approach from Randolph-Macon (23-12, 12-8) in the opener, a team that ranks second in the ODAC with 94 stolen bases while laying down 43 sacrifice bunts in 35 games. Leading the offense will be seniors Brittany Laprade (.485, 17 RBIs) and Savannah Wood (.417, 32 RBIs, 24 SBs).
If BC can win their first game, a second round matchup with the national champion Marlins and two-time National Player of the Year Hanna Hull (a career mark of 94-6 with 1005 K's) will likely await them. The revamped schedule is:
Friday, April 26
Game 1: #1 Virginia Wesleyan vs. #8 Shenandoah - Field 1 - 6:00 p.m.
Game 2: #4 Randolph-Macon vs. #5 Bridgewater - Field 3 - 6:00 p.m.
Game 3: #2 Emory & Henry vs. #7 Ferrum - Field 1 - 8:00 p.m.
Game 4: #3 Lynchburg vs. #6 Guilford - Field 3 - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27
Game 5: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 - Field 1 - 11:30 a.m.
Game 6: Loser G3 vs. Loser G4 - Field 3 - 11:30 a.m.
Game 7: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 - Field 1 - 1:30 p.m.
Game 8: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4 - Field 3 - 1:30 p.m.
Game 9: Winner G5 vs. Loser G8 - Field 1 - 3:30 p.m.
Game 10: Winner G6 vs. Loser G7 - Field 3 - 3:30 p.m.
Game 11: Winner G7 vs. Winner G8 - Field 1 - 5:30 p.m.
Game 12: Winner G9 vs. Winner G10 - Field 1 - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 28
Game 13: Winner G12 vs. Loser G11 - Field 1 - 1:00 p.m.
Game 14: Championship Game 1 - Field 1 - 4:00 p.m.
Monday, April 29
Game 15: Championship Game 2 - Field 1 - 10:00 a.m.