Softball fighting for ODAC Tournament spot

Junior+catcher+Makayla+Crawford+swings+during+the+game+against+Eastern+Mennonite+University+on+Monday%2C+April+16%2C+2018.+The+Quakers+trailed+4-3+until+Crawford+hit+a+grand+slam+to+put+Guilford+ahead+for+good.+%2F%2F+Photo+by+Fernando+Jim%C3%A9nez%2FThe+Guilfordian%0A

Fernando Jiménez

Junior catcher Makayla Crawford swings during the game against Eastern Mennonite University on Monday, April 16, 2018. The Quakers trailed 4-3 until Crawford hit a grand slam to put Guilford ahead for good. // Photo by Fernando Jiménez/The Guilfordian

After a strong start in the season, Guilford College softball has struggled in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference play.

The team has a 16-16 overall record, but is 5-10 in conference play with three conference games left to go and five total games.

“We should’ve won some games we didn’t,” said head coach Dennis Shores. “Everyone’s getting used to each other, (we’ve) got three positions that we have (first-years) playing.”

Guilford struggled at the beginning of April before winning three of the last four. Guilford lost two games to Lynchburg College, Virginia Wesleyan University and Emory and Henry College each. Virginia Wesleyan is the defending national champions, have not lost a game this season and are ranked number one in Division III.

“The ODACs are so competitive, we’ve got three teams in the top 25 in the nation,” said Shores. “It’s a battle every time you go out there.”

The Quakers stand in eighth place in the conference, in the final spot for the ODAC Tournament on April 27-29. The double-elimination tournament pits the eighth seed against the top seed in the first round.

Junior outfielder and pitcher Makayla Carver is hitting .519 with six homeruns and 13 doubles. Carver also has 24 RBIs and has stolen 12 bases. Junior catcher Makayla Crawford leads the team with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs on a .427 batting average. Junior third basemen Anna Wolfe has hit 6 home runs and has 26 RBIs while only striking out five times and walking 16 times this season. The team is hitting .317 as a team with 30 home runs with five games left.

“It’s a team effort, a lot of girls are doing well. We just come out on the short end of the stick sometimes,” said Shores.

The pitching staff has been anchored by senior Courtney Lackey with a 3.24 ERA in 86.1 innings. Sophomore Julie Gough has made nine starts and has a 3.85 ERA and has a 5-3 record. As a staff, they have a 3.74 ERA, striking out 95 in 206 innings.

The Quakers’ final three ODAC games are against Randolph College and Randolph-Macon College. Earlier in the season, Guilford beat Randolph ,6-4, and on the season, Randolph is 5-8 in conference play.  Randolph-Macon is 9-1 on the season and has not played Guilford this season.

Guilford ends the season going to Randolph-Macon on April 22 in a rescheduled game from early April. The Quakers’ Senior Day is April 21 when they face non-conference Meredith College.

“They practice all spring and it’s slowly coming to an end,” said Shores. “Everybody has to be focused.”