SEASON REVIEW: Youthful Royals Step Up To The Plate

(photo by Scott Eyre)
(photo by Scott Eyre)

The EMU softball women had to step up to the plate with a talented youthful team. This young group of Royals saw 70% of the team's total at-bats taken by underclassmen. With a 16-20 overall and 5-15 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, EMU came short of advancing to the ODAC Tournament which broke an impressive 13-year streak.

Record in 2019: 16-20 (5-15 ODAC)
Coach: J.D. McCurdy (329-243-1 overall, 142-140-1 ODAC in 16 seasons) 

Coach McCurdy Comments:
"Going into our season we knew we had some challenges to face losing senior's Sydney Reath pitcher and centerfielder Tiffani Shaheen to season ending injuries before the season's first pitch. We were a young team with some sizable shoes to fill. Our freshmen and sophomores gained valuable experience and stepped up some big games, especially with Guilford and in the season finale at Roanoke College."

Awards:
Skylar Hedgepeth - EMU Female Freshman of the Year
Beck Hoskins - CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, Royals Athlete of the Week (April 8-14, 2019)
Sierra Lantz- All-ODAC Second Team
Alia Miller - Royals Athlete of the Week (March 11-17, 2019)
Nicole Mongold - All-ODAC Third Team 

Statistical Leaders:
- Sophomore Danielle Brenneman was No. 5 in the ODAC in doubles with 13.
- Infielder Nicole Mongold finished No. 7 in the ODAC in overall doubles with 12 and No. 10 in the ODAC in hits with 25 in conference only games while tied for the team lead with 41 overall.
- Pitcher Kelsi Martin finished with the fourth most innings pitched in ODAC play with 66.0 innings and No. 10 in strikeouts with 26.
- Freshman Sierra Lantz led the team with 3 home runs overall while posting a .375 batting average in ODAC play. 

Season Highlights:
- Won five of first six games to begin the season at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
- Kelsi Martin retired 18 of 19 batters in a no-hit performance victory against Cedar Crest on March 3.
- Scored 13 runs in the first inning combined of both games in the doubleheader sweep of Southern Virginia (March 18).
- Won game one against Bridgewater 7-1 at home as part of the StrikeOut Cancer Game. 
- Won final home game of the home doubleheader against Randolph on Senior Recognition and Softball Alumni Day.
- Beat Roanoke in the last game of the regular season. 

Career Highlights:
- Senior Sydney Reath finishes her career as the EMU softball program's leader in doubles with 43. 

Athlete Comments:
"One of my most memorable meets was during the Shenandoah game. It was our first ODAC game of the season and it was very cold. It was a tight game and I tracked down a fly ball hit to right center. I was overwhelmed with the support and encouragement from my team. Another memorable moment came at the end of our season. We knew we could not make the tournament but that it was our last time playing together and a chance to knock Roanoke out of the tournament. We played with passion for the game and our bats got hot. I was happy to end my career with a win." – Senior Outfielder Beck Hoskins