Top 16 teams in Guilford history: 2009 Softball Team #4
February 17, 2011
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Head softball coach Dennis Shore’s first season with the Quakers in 2007 yielded 10 wins. This was an improvement considering he inherited a team with just nine wins the previous year. However, Shore had his master plan working. This past season, the Quakers had 28 wins which is a school record.
Shore is quietly building the Quakers as an Old Dominion Athletic Conference powerhouse that is putting the program into the history books. This week at number four on the countdown is the 2009 women’s softball team.
The leaders and driving force of the team were two seniors, All-ODAC first baseman Kelly Hale ’09 as well as shortstop Amber Stapler ‘09.
At the end of the season, Hale had broken nine school records. She had 20 home runs, 104 RBI’s, a .598 slugging percentage, and a .971 fielding percentage in her career as a Quaker. In 2009 alone, she hit .352 and drove in 29 runs, which ranked second on the team in both categories.
Stapler was more of a defensive presence. She helped the team achieve the 11th highest team fielding percentage in Division III in 2009. Stapler also hit a respectable .292 average and drove in 20 runs on the season, making her career average .326.
This is not to say that the seniors had all the success.
Then-junior Julie Langseth, originally a first baseman, made the transition to starting at second base because of her outstanding hitting abilities. Langseth set the mark on the team with the highest batting average (.378), runs batted in (30), doubles (10), and stolen bases (11).
Even then-junior Jessica Burcham got into the mix on the mound. The standout junior was the ace of the staff. Against Emory and Henry she completed a rare no-hitter, the first in Guilford’s softball history. During that game, she almost tied her personal strikeout record in a single game by sitting down 12 batters. Not to mention that the win kept the team’s winning streak alive at six games.
That season Burcham had an amazing 1.67 earned run average which stood fourth in the ODAC. She also had 12 wins, five shutouts, three saves, and 172 strikeouts which ranked second in the conference. All these prolific numbers shattered the previous school records.
Along the way to a record-setting 26 wins, the team beat 23rd ranked Lynchburg College and won their last four games in a row to reach the ODAC tournament. There, they beat Randolph College in the first game. This was the first ever win at the tournament for the Quakers.
The next game, the team held Bridgewater to five runs only to come up short and go into the loser’s bracket. From there, the team lost a thriller to Virginia Wesleyan in extra innings. These losses ended the team’s stay at the ODAC tournament, but the team held their heads high, there was a lot to be proud of.
This team deserves to be number four on the countdown because the team set the school records for victories in a season, the highest postseason seed, broke over 40 softball school records during the course of the season, and notched the first-ever women’s softball victory in the ODAC tournament.