HARRISONBURG, Va., May 6, 2013 – After completing the Colonial Athletic Association regular season with a sweep over Georgia State last weekend, the James Madison softball team travels to Hempstead, N.Y., this week to play in the 2013 CAA Championship.
Second-seeded JMU plays third-seeded Delaware in the tournament’s opening round at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Top-seeded and tournament host Hofstra takes on fourth-seeded Towson in other opening round game on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The tournament is a double elimination format with two elimination games scheduled for Thursday and the championship round set to be played on Friday at the Hofstra Softball Stadium.
Madison has a 12-14 all-time record at the CAA Championship, including going 1-2 a year ago. It is one of three teams to ever win the league championship, going 3-0 in 2009 on its way to making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. In addition to 2009, the Dukes advanced to the championship round in 2008, but lost an 11-inning thriller to Hofstra before being bounced in the if-necessary game.
JMU went 7-3 this season against the other teams in the tournament. Madison went 4-0 against Towson, including a sweep of the Tigers in the opening series of league play. The Dukes also went to Delaware and took three games from the Blue Hens in April before dropping three games at Hofstra in late April.
This season, the Dukes brought 30 different team and individual records during the regular season, including setting team highs for total wins (39), CAA wins (18), home runs (44), steals (133) and complete games (34).
Sophomore utility player Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) set records for home runs (15) and RBIs (62). She became the second player in the CAA since 2006 to win the Triple Crown, joining former UNCW catcher Carly Hughes. Mooney led the CAA in batting average (.414), home runs and RBIs while also finishing in the top five in the league in hits (65), runs (40), stolen bases (15) and total bases (119).
JMU completed the season ranked second in the league in offense, second in pitching and fourth in fielding percentage. The Dukes hit .314 as a team, finishing five points shy of Hofstra while completing the year with a 1.79 ERA, again just four points shy of the Pride. They led league in stolen bases with 133 while the other three teams in this weekend’s CAA Championship finished with 149 stolen bases combined.
Senior outfielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) enters the week just three steals shy of 100 for her career. She has 40 thefts this year in 46 opportunities, smashing the previous school record of 22 stolen bases. Her 47 runs scored are a career-high and is just three shy of tying the school record set by Katie George (2004-07) in 2007. The fourth-year center fielder is also three games shy of tying the school record for games played and games started, again only trailing George in the record book.
SCOUTING #3 DELAWARE
The Blue Hens finished the year 35-20 and 12-9 in CAA play. Every one of their conference series was a sweep as UD picked up wins over Drexel, UNCW, George Mason and Towson while being swept by JMU, Georgia State and Hofstra. Last weekend they took three games from UNCW at home to hold off late charging Towson for the conference’s third seed.
As a team, the Blue Hens are batting .288 with five starters hitting .290 or better. Lead-off hitter Jessica Grisler leads the Blue Hens with a .374 batting average, 39 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Third baseman Lara Andrews is Delaware’s top slugger, hitting .314 with four home runs and 28 RBIs. Shortstop Lisa Stacevicz is hitting .319 with team-highs in doubles (13) and RBIs (28).
In the circle, Delaware boasts a deep staff of right-handers who have split the starting duties this season. Senior Chenxi Jiao leads the staff with 34 appearances, posting a 13-7 record and a 2.21 ERA in 136 innings. In 25 appearances, freshman Kiersten Coffman is 9-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 96 1/3 innings. Senior Amanda Stacevicz is 7-4 with a 2.75 ERA and freshman Taylor Curran holds a 3.35 ERA with three complete games in 12 starts.
Jaime Wohlbach is in the midst of her first winning season at Delaware in her third year as head coach. In three years with the Blue Hens, Wohlbach holds a 71-95-1 record.
SCOUTING #1 HOFSTRA
The Pride went 40-11 overall and 19-2 in CAA play to capture the CAA regular season championship and the right to host the conference tournament for the seventh straight year. They’ve won 10 straight games and 22 of their last 23, including winning 13 straight at home.
The Pride leads the conference in several major offensive categories, including batting average (.319), home runs (50) and RBIs (264). Freshman Caryn Bailey leads the Pride with a .386 batting average and 59 hits while adding eight home runs and 38 RBIs. Outfielder Tessa Ziemba is the team’s leading slugger with 12 home runs. She is batting .338 and adds a team-best 42 runs scored. Shortstop Becca Bigler is hitting .307 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs.
In the circle, Hofstra is led by All-America pitcher Olivia Galati. The three-time CAA Pitcher of the Year has pitched 287 of Hofstra’s 331 1/3 innings this season, recording a 1.46 ERA and .181 opponent’s batting average. The senior leads the conference in wins (34), complete games (41), shutouts (18) and strikeouts (352).
The Pride is coached by Hall of Famer Bill Edwards, who in 24 seasons with the program owns an 888-402-3 career record.
SCOUTING #4 TOWSON
The Tigers went 29-26-1 overall and 11-10 in the league to claim the tournament’s final bid. Last weekend, the Tigers dropped three games at Hofstra, including a 1-0, nine-inning affair in the season finale.
The Tigers offensive attack is led by junior Delanie Dunham and senior Bina Abbott. Dunham leads the Tigers lineup in hitting (.327), runs scored (34), RBIs (41) and steals (19). Abbott added six home runs, 23 RBIs and 23 runs scored while freshman Macie McGeehan led the team with 10 doubles.
In the circle, the Tigers feature a trio of right-handers, led by senior Katie Lingmai. Lingmai’s holds a 17-14 record with a 2.95 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 201 2/3 innings of work. Freshman Ambar Hickman has made 24 appearances this year, including 13 starts and owns a 4.88 ERA in 90 1/3 innings pitched. Sophomore Missy McCormick is 5-7 with a 4.49 ERA and a .285 batting average against.
The Tigers are led by long-time head coach Lisa Costello. In her 30th season with Towson, Costello holds a 527-465-3 record.
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