Softball Team Uses Total Team Effort for First Winning Season in Ten Years

BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College Lady Bobcats women's softball team finished with a 22-20 record for program's first winning season in ten years, capping off the season with two wins in the Conference Carolinas Tournament.

The team finished conference play with an 8-10 record, which placed them seventh in the conference standings, despite being picked to finish last. Their 22-20 overall record was the first winning season in ten years and two more wins than last season. The future is bright for the Lady Bobcats with no seniors and only three juniors.

Amanda Dodson earned the team's only postseason award with 1st Team All-Conference Carolinas honors. Dodson also took home two Conference Carolinas Player of the Week honors. She received the Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Week Award once and Conference Carolinas Player of the Week once.

Of the teams 42 games, 15 of them were one-run games and and seven games went into extra innings. They were 7-8 in the one-run games and 2-5 in extra inning games.

The team traveled to the CoCo Expo Tournament where they went 4-0. In the tournament, they outscored opponents 21-4.

The team's anchor this season was a pitching staff that finished third in the conference with a 2.40 team ERA. Amanda Dodson improved on her ERA last season with a 1.27 ERA this season. Magen West also dropped her ERA to 3.06 ERA this season, and freshman pitcher Katie Alexander finished her first collegiate season with a 3.09 ERA. West was the first Lady Bobcat to record two complete game conference wins in a season. West threw two complete games against Coker on April 5th to earn a 5-4 win and a 4-1 win. Dodson picked up two conference wins against Anderson University on March 5th. She earned her first win, 5-4, in relief and had a 4-3 complete game effort in game two of the doubleheader.

Offensively, Dodson batted .386 to lead the team. She also led the team with 24 runs scored, 39 hits, six doubles, seven homeruns and 21 RBI. Paige Coleman was the only other Lady Bobcat to finish the season with a batting average over .300 for the season; she finished with a .319 average. In conference play, Meagen Knowles sported a .306 batting average. Veronica Ollier stole 19 of her 21 bases attempted during the season and had six doubles. As a team the Bobcats batted .253 on the season.

Defensively, the team finished with a .952 field percentage. Paige Coleman had a .989 fielding percentage to lead the team overall and 1.000 in conference. Paula Fryar threw out four of the nine runners that attempted a stolen base on her from behind the plate and finished with .971 fielding percentage at third and catcher. Nicole Baxter sported an perfect fielding in the outfield during conference play despite battling through a back injury. Kim Coley led the team by throwing three runners out at home plate, and Ashley Benfield led the outfield with a .964 feilding percentage during the entire season. Anna Carter improved on her field percentage from a season ago by finishing with a .980 during the 2009 season.

"Overall I am very happy with the way these ladies played at the conference tournament, and how we finished with a winning season," head coach Julie Kennedy said. "There were so many individual improvements throughout the course of the year, and we were much closer in a lot of games than we have been in the past. Team chemistry and work ethic were our strengths this year, and we plan to keep our focus in those areas as well as increase expectations for the following year."

"We'd like to thank God for His protection and provision, Ried Estus (Lees-McRae Athletic Director), our administrators for their guidance, Bradley Huff (women's softball ATC), and the others on the athletic training staff for their special care with treating our athletes. We would also like to say thank you to all the softball helpers and fans that made our season so special."

Pictured: Magen West