GSC softball tournament returns to Meridian
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
May 3, 2002
The Gulf South Conference Women's Fast-pitch Tournament makes its return to Meridian this weekend. Festivities start with the area-wide youth fast-pitch clinic at Northeast Park tonight at 7 p.m.
The eight-team tournament begins bright and early on Saturday at 10 a.m. with three games.
The Lady Chargers of the University of Alabama at Huntsville will be seeking a record fourth straight GSC title. UAH has won the last three post-season tournaments including the two played here at Northeast Park. The Lady Chargers (39-17) open play at noon against Southern Arkansas.
Delta State University will be the lone Mississippi team in the field. The Lady Statesmen (39-13) of head coach David Kuhn face a tough draw having to go against No. 3 seed Valdosta State (39-17).
A win would pit DSU against the winner between East No. 1 seed West Florida (46-15) and Central Arkansas (26-29). The other first round match-ups have West No. 1 in Arkansas-Monticello (35-13) taking on West Georgia (20-26).
Play will continue through Saturday night with the last game of day beginning at 8 p.m. Play resumes on Sunday with the championship round starting at noon, with the final game, if necessary set for 2 p.m.
Delta State head coach David Kuhn says his team needs at least a top two finish in order to land a berth in the NCAA Division II Women's Softball Tournament.
The last time DSU faced Valdosta State, the Lady Blazers hung a 13-1 decision on Kuhn's team.
Valdosta is led by pitcher Lindsey Ellingsworth. She is 14-4 on the season with a 0.88 earned run average with 124 strike outs in 127.1 innings pitched.
At the plate, she is batting .368 with 25 RBI. Ryann Ellingsworth is batting .424 with 32 RBI.
Tammie Momberg is the Lady Blazers' power hitter with nine home runs and 35 RBIs.
Delta State will try to counter behind the national leader in wins in senior pitcher Niki Genre. Genre is 32-5 with an 0.89 ERA. She has walked only 15 in 229.1 innings pitched.
The Lady Statesmen's offense is led by Leslie Pourciau who is batting .375 with 40 runs scored and 34 stolen bases. Meggan Lee is batting .333 with 33 runs and 22 RBI.
Joy Long has knocked in a team high 34 runs off a .292 average. Stephanie Fletcher (.297, 27 RBI) and Casey Bourgoyne (.292, 15 RBI) round out the top DSU hitters.
West Florida is ranked 20th in the nation, but last year the Argonauts were sent home on the first day of the tournament. They rank second in the league in pitching and third in batting.
Senior Krissy Styrna has a 0.94 ERA and junior Tanya Teague has 20 wins and 144 strike outs.
West Florida will play Central Arkansas who is paced by 16-game winner in junior Brooke Boatman. Freshman Leslie Clothier bats .406 to lead the Sugar Bear offense.
Defending champ Huntsville is ranked No. 17 in the nation. They are led by freshman Katie Tillman who bats. 425. Melanie Carter leads the GSC in runs (52) and is tied for second in RBI (52) and home runs (9). Sophomore Erica Miller ranks fifth in ERA (1.12).
Southern Arkansas is paced by sophomore outfielder Lyndsey Knight who has 28 stolen bases. Freshman Sarah Cotaya tops the squad in batting average (.295).
Arkansas-Monticello leads the GSC in batting (.316) and pitching (1.30 ERA). Senior outfielder Heidi Martin is first in average (.476) and hits (80), while senior shortstop.
The Cotton Blossom's pitching is paced by sophomore Lindsey Kight who has thrown two perfect games this season and is a four-time Pitcher of the Week. She is second in the GSC in strikeouts (225) and shutouts (10) and third in ERA (0.93) and wins (19).