Ladies Begin Run Towards NCAA Tourney Berth
Thursday, May 8, 2008

CEDAR CITY, Utah—The Centenary softball team begins its two-day battle to gain entry into the NCAA Tournament on Friday morning as it faces Western Illinois in The Summit League Softball Championships. The top-seeded Ladies will take on the fourth-seeded Westerwinds at 11 a.m. central on the campus of Southern Utah.


Centenary (34-24, 17-7 Summit) swept Western Illinois (10-31, 9-10 Summit) in a three-game set earlier this season in Shreveport. However, two of the games were close with one of those games being decided by a walk-off grand slam in extra innings by senior Amy Wiedeman.


Sophomore Allison Shepperd leads the Ladies offense with a .353 batting average and 38 RBI. Her batting average is fourth-best in Centenary single season history and her runs batted in rank second. She set a new school mark with 18 doubles this year and she also places in the top five all-time for total bases (94), slugging percentage (.553), and hits (60) in a season.


Freshman Bonnie Matak’s 41 runs scored are third-best in Centenary softball history and sophomore Haley Bassett’s 14 doubles also rank third. Sophomore Pitcher Ryan Thacker’s 16 wins are fifth-best and freshman Lauren Highsmith’s six saves are the second highest total ever.


The Ladies as a team recorded their fourth winning season and their fourth 30-win season in Coach Mark Montgomery’s six years at the helm. They are just two wins shy of tying the school record for most wins in a season (36 set in 2004 & 1991) and could accomplish the feat this weekend. Centenary also set a school record with its 14-game win streak this season and went a perfect 10-0 against Louisiana schools in 2008.


The Maroon and White have won The Summit League Tournament twice in the first four seasons Centenary has been in the conference. The Ladies defeated Valparaiso in 2004 for the title and took down Western Illinois on its own field in 2005 to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Centenary has not had as much luck in the last two trips to the conference tournament, going 0-4.


For the first time the Ladies will enter the tournament as the top seed this year. Centenary served as the second seed three times and the fourth seed once in previous seasons. The Ladies are 6-4 all-time in the tournament and went 7-2 this season against the other teams they could face this weekend (2-1 against Southern Utah, 2-1 against IPFW, 3-0 against Western Illinois).


All games the Ladies play in the tournament can be heard via live audio through Centenary’s official athletics website, www.GoCentenary.com.