Conference softball tourney concludes, team awaits national tournament announcement

With the conclusion of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Softball Tournament this past weekend, Guilford’s softball team’s season has arrived at its conclusion. This season was a historic campaign with the team finishing with the best record in school history (30-13). The team has much to build off for next season with a strong group of underclassmen and rising seniors.

Although the regular season was everything that they could have been hoped for, the ODAC tournament would prove to be a challenge for the team. They had a rough start in the with a first round loss against Roanoke College. This would then relegate the team to a consolation bracket, where they were able to overturn some of the misfortune of the first game, defeateding Eastern Mennonite University, 9-2, in the opening round of this bracket.

Progressing to the second round of the consolation bracket proved to be too much for the Quakers, who lost to Emory and Henry College in a tough game that finished 7-2.

“It’s natural to be disappointed with the tournament results,” said head coach Dennis Shores. “It’s that feeling that drives the team to be better.”

While the ODAC tournament did not end the way the team would have hoped, it did not diminish the spirits of the team.

“We were obviously not happy with the tournament results, but due to our (overall) season, we should still feel good about what we accomplished,” junior Darby Kozan responded.

The Quakers put a school-record five players on the All-ODAC team. Senior Caroline Barnette, first-year Kayli Blankenship, sophomores Makayla Carver and Sabrina Moreno earned first-team recognition. Guilford’s Shelby Helms was the second-team unit’s designated player.

“I’m very proud of myself and the girls I got to share this title with,” said Moreno. “Just knowing all the extra work I put in outside of practice, hitting three to five times a week, really paid off.”

Finishing the season on a particularly high note was Carver. She finished the ODAC tournament as a selection for the All-Tournament team. Carver finished her season with a .444 batting average and .500 on base percentage. The team as a whole finished with a batting average of .341, a on base percentage of .430, and with 26 home runs.

Kozan noted the feats were accomplished thanks to the work the team put in. Not only did she want the team to be recognized for the work they did during games, but also the time put in at practice.

“We met three times a week to have batting cage work,” said Kozan. “Everyone came excited and ready to do what was needed.”

The hard work that was completed can be seen in the records broke.

The team awaits the announcement of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament selections. where they have the opportunity to make the tournament with an at-large bid.

“I just know as much as coach Shores has informed me about,” said Moreno. “There’s a lot of team s competing for this bid that have so much talent.”

As for next season, the team is holding their head high. Shores spoke on how proud he was of his team and the bright future they have.

“We are losing important talent with graduating seniors,” said Shores. “They provided good character for the underclassmen to see. But we have a good core of players now and also freshman coming in.”