Ladies Softball 2008 Season Wrap-Up
Monday, May 12, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary softball team ended its 2008 season last weekend in The Summit League Softball Championship in Cedar City, Utah, but the Ladies enjoyed a successful campaign overall. Senior Jennifer Martin and sophomore Allison Shepperd were named to the All-Tournament team for their exceptional play, and with a young team, the Maroon and White will look to make another exciting run next season.


Martin (Ft. Worth, Texas) went 3-for-8 in the tournament with three runs, two RBI, and two homeruns. Shepperd (Marshall, Texas) batted .625 (5-for-8) with a run and five RBI in the two games en route to be selected to the All-Tournament team.


Looking back at the season, the Ladies accomplished some impressive feats both as a team and individually. Centenary finished with a record of 34-26 and 17-7 in Summit League play. It was the fourth year with a winning record and 30-plus wins in the six seasons head coach Mark Montgomery has been at the helm. The 17 wins in conference play were the most ever and this season marked the first time the Ladies served as the top seed in the conference tournament.


Centenary played six schools this year that advanced to the NCAA Tournament (Houston, Arkansas, Purdue, Louisiana Tech, Stephen F. Austin, and Western Illinois) for a total of 13 games. The Ladies went 6-7 in those contests against top-notch opponents.


Centenary also enjoyed a school-record 14-game win streak that lasted almost a full month of play. Beginning with a win over Texas Wesleyan at the Oklahoma State Tournament on March 9th and lasting through a win against Stephen F. Austin on April 2nd, the Ladies were unbeatable. Until a doubleheader defeat at the hands of North Texas on April 9th, Centenary was a perfect 12-0 at home and ended the home portion of its schedule at 16-5 for the year.


The Ladies pitching staff was rewarded by earning six Pitcher of the Week citations from The Summit League office throughout the season. Ryan Thacker earned the honor three times, Stacy Whitmer was singled out twice, and Lauren Highsmith took home the award once.


Thacker and Whitmer were also named second team All-Summit League at the end of the conference season. In addition, Thacker was named Louisiana Sports Writers Association Pitcher of the Week on one occasion. As a staff, the Ladies set a school record for most team strikeouts with 334, surpassing the old mark set in 2004 by one.


Bonnie Matak and Lauren Flowers were also recognized by The Summit League office during the season for their fine play at the plate and in the field. Both were named Player of the Week.


Emerald Doria and Shepperd were tabbed first team All-Summit League at shortstop and third base respectively. Caitlin Cavarra was a second team selection at the designated player position.


Individually, several new marks for the Centenary softball program were set in 2008. Shepperd’s 65 hits, 18 doubles, and 43 RBI all rank as the highest single season totals ever. Her .365 batting average is third-best, while her 99 total bases and .556 slugging percentage rank third and fourth.


Doria, Flowers, Haley Bassett, Matak, and Thacker all entered the all-time lists this season as well. Doria set a new record for walks in a season with 32, despite missing 17 games due to injury. Flowers’ 30 walks are second and her 36 RBI rank fifth. Bassett’s 15 doubles and Matak’s 44 runs scored are good enough for third place, and Thacker’s 16 wins tie her for fifth.


The most telling statistic that will allude to the future of the Ladies program isn’t found on a stat sheet, rather on a birth certificate. Centenary accomplished all this in 2008 and loses only four players from the roster to graduation due to its young core of players. In addition, Centenary will have only three seniors on the squad next year.


Nine of the Ladies 16 players that began the season on the team were underclassmen, meaning sophomores or freshmen. The entire pitching staff is comprised of underclassmen and the entire infield will return with the exception of Flowers at second base.


The biggest area of adjustment for the Ladies will come in the outfield where Centenary loses its left and right fielders.


Every off-season has a little bit of transition and it is uncommon that the entire group of eligible returnees actually returns after the summer to start a new season. But, barring any major changes, the future looks bright for the Centenary Ladies softball team and this season could be just the beginning of what the Maroon and White can accomplish between the lines over the next few years.