Ladies Need Wins in Crucial Mid-Con Series
Thursday, April 19, 2007


ROCHESTER, Mich.—The Centenary softball team heads into its weekend Mid-Continent Conference series with Oakland University with a sense of urgency and in need of a pair of wins. The Ladies sit in third place with only two weekends of play left and would like to solidify their place in the conference tournament, to be held in Shreveport May 11 and 12.


The Mid-Con race consists of five teams for four spots. IUPUI and UMKC have not been eliminated from contention, but would have to have a great run and some help to make the tournament as they have records of 1-5 and 0-7 respectively. Should Centenary suffer losses in two of the three games at Oakland this weekend, the Ladies would be sitting on the bubble for a conference tournament berth. However, if Centenary can take two of the three games against the Golden Grizzlies, it would be in fine shape with only one series remaining.


Centenary (19-21, 4-2 Mid-Con) coach Mark Montgomery is hoping his team will respond to the situation in a positive manner. The Ladies have dropped four consecutive games and are dealing with a host of unlucky circumstances including injuries and the loss of six Mid-Con games due to bad weather. With their backs against the wall in a make or break series, the Ladies will have to show the hard-nosed style of play that earned them back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2005.


Shortstop Emerald Doria continues to lead Centenary at the plate with a .343 batting average. The sophomore drove in three runs in Wednesday’s doubleheader with Northwestern State, which included a homerun. Fellow sophomore Allison McClain is also hitting .343 and freshman Allison Shepperd is batting .306 while leading the Ladies in homeruns, doubles, and triples.


Oakland (9-22, 3-3 Mid-Con) began conference play with just a 6-19 record, but has come on strong as of late. Playing two of the top contenders for the Mid-Con title to start league play, the Grizzlies took a game off of preseason favorite Western Illinois and won the series 2-1 at Southern Utah. The series with Centenary will be the first conference home games for Oakland.


The Grizzlies are hitting just .196 on the season as a team compared to .271 for the Ladies. Pitcher Jessica Granger has kept Oakland in many games with her strong arm, claiming eight of the team’s nine wins with a 3.06 earned run average.


Centenary and Oakland have split the all-time series between the two clubs at 6-6.


Friday’s single game will begin at 3 p.m. and the series will conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday at 12 p.m. (EST).