Ladies Open Mid-Con Play at Western Illinois
Thursday, March 22, 2007


MACOMB, Ill.—The Centenary softball team begins pursuit of its first Mid-Continent Conference regular season championship with a three-game series at Western Illinois beginning on Friday. The Ladies have finished second twice in their three seasons in the league, but have come up just short of the coveted crown. A championship run for Centenary will have to go through the Westerwinds, who were picked as the preseason favorite in a poll of Mid-Con coaches.


Centenary (13-15) enters the game having lost its last four games, three of which were to top 10 nationally ranked teams Oklahoma and LSU. The Ladies look to get back on track for the conference race this weekend where they have been 40-26 in three years in the Mid-Con.


Last season’s conference Newcomer of the Year Emerald Doria currently leads Centenary in batting average (.364), runs (21), hits (28), on-base percentage (.484), and stolen bases (5). The shortstop has not suffered through a sophomore slump in her second season wearing the Maroon and White.


Senior Micah Rhodes has been on a torrid hitting pace of late after struggling to start the season. The three-time All-Mid-Con selection is hitting .315 with a team-best 15 RBI. Junior Lin Virdell (.273 BA) and freshmen Allison Shepperd (.263 BA, 3 HR’s) and Haley Bassett (.247 BA, 13 RBI) are also contributing significant numbers to the Ladies offensive attack.


In the pitching circle, Centenary’s trio of freshmen hurlers hope they have learned enough from the tough non-conference schedule to provide solid innings for the Ladies down the stretch. Stacy Whitmer leads the staff with six wins (6-6, 5.07 ERA) while Kelsey Greeson (4-4, 3.96 ERA) and Ryan Thacker (3-5, 4.41 ERA) will also see a lot of action over the league schedule.


Western Illinois (7-16) is coming off of back-to-back losses to Iowa State. The Westerwinds are led at the plate by Jennifer Garcia’s .319 batting average and Nicole Green’s three homeruns. Green is also batting .310 on the year. Kamren Ferguson is the leader of the pitching staff with a 3-4 record and a 4.40 ERA.


The three-game series between Centenary and Western Illinois begins on Friday with a single contest at 3 p.m. The series will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 12 p.m.