By Sports Information Intern Tyler Jester
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Dominican softball team finished the regular season strong, and has been rewarded with the number one seed in the GLIAC tournament this weekend. The Panthers finished the regular season with a 25-25 overall record, but their 21-5 GLIAC record won their first regular season conference title since joining the NCAA Division II. The last regular season conference title for the Panthers since 2008 when they were a member of the American Mideast Conference.
All games will be played at the Marathon Diamonds in Findlay, Ohio starting Friday, May 2.
#1 Ohio Dominican University (25-25, 21-5)
ODU is led offensively by junior Taylor Thomas (Bellville, OH). Thomas is batting .404 on the season and ranks in the top five in the conference in RBI with 34, and home runs with nine. She has also added 14 doubles and 29 runs scored.
Senior shortstop Caitlin Jividen (Wheeling, WV) has also had a nice season. Jividen is batting .395 and leads the team with 34 runs scored and 10 steals. She has also added 21 RBI and nine doubles on the season.
The Panther pitching staff is led by senior Rachael Stanzel (Angleton, TX) who is tied for the most wins in the conference with a record of 18-13. Stanzel also ranks in the top five in the GLIAC with 107 strikeouts and has a 2.36 ERA on the season.
The Panthers lead the conference in RBI as a team with 210, and also rank in the top five with a .308 batting average, and 28 home runs.
#8 University of Findlay (22-17, 13-13)
Findlay comes into the tournament winning three of their last five games, and received the final playoff spot over Hillsdale, which they won the season series against in late March. In the two games against the Panthers this year, UF lost both games 4-2.
The pitching staff for Findlay is led by Tawna Whited who comes into the tournament with a 15-8 mark and a 1.86 ERA. She ranks fifth in the GLIAC in both wins and ERA. Whited started the first game against the Panthers earlier this season where she gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in a complete game loss.
#2 Wayne State University (37-9, 17-5)
The Warriors will come into the tournament streaking, as they have won their last 12 contests, including shutting out the opponent in eight of the 12 games. The Panthers won both games against the Warriors by the score of 3-0 in the regular season contests in Columbus.
The Warriors have a very strong pitching staff. They have the top two pitchers in the GLIAC based off ERA. Brianna Lee is 18-2 on the season and has a 0.96 ERA. Lee pitched in the first game against the Panthers this season giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits in six innings. Lyndsay Butler is 18-4 on the season with four saves and an ERA of 0.65.
The Warriors will play Ashland in the first round on Friday at 12:00p.m.
#3 Saginaw Valley State University (26-9, 18-6)
SVSU went into the final week of the regular season leading the conference standings but lost three of their final four games to drop to the third position. The Cardinals lost both games at home against ODU early in the season by the scores of 12-2 and 6-1.
SVSU is led by sophomore Shelly Weeks who ranks in the top five in the four major batting categories in the GLIAC. Weeks leads the conference with a .430 batting average and has 34 RBI, seven home runs, and 16 stolen bases.
The Cardinals also have a nice starting rotation led by Sarah Appold. Appold is 9-2 with a 2.71 ERA on the season. Appold pitched just 0.1 innings against ODU and gave up three runs on zero hits, but walked three batters.
SVSU will play Walsh at 12:00 p.m. on Friday in their first game.
#4 Grand Valley State University
The Lakers come in winning four of six games last week to gain the fourth position in the tournament. GVSU was swept at home by the Panthers two weeks ago by the scores of 7-2 and 1-0.
The Laker offense is led by two seniors in Briauna Taylor and Miranda Cleary. Both Taylor and Cleary are the top two in the conference in RBI and home runs. Taylor is batting .418 and has 53 RBI and 10 home runs. Cleary is batting .413 with 50 RBI and 10 home runs. The Lakers have five batters with a batting average above .300.
The Lakers will play Northwood at 10:00a.m. in the first round on Friday.
#5 Northwood (26-14, 17-7)
Northwood has won four of their last six games, but lost their last two games of the season to Wayne State. The Timberwolves and Panthers split the season series with Northwood winning the first game 7-6, and ODU winning the second game 7-6.
The Wolves offense has six batters with a .300 average or better. Jessica Tostrud is batting .407 and has 22 RBI and 20 runs scored on the season.
In the pitching circle, Maddison Sebald holds a 12-5 record with a 2.14 ERA. Sebald got the victory for Northwood in the first game against ODU pitching 4.0 innings giving up four runs on five hits.
Northwood will play Grand Valley State at 10:00a.m. on Friday.
#6 Walsh University (28-17, 15-9)
Walsh is coming off two wins over Lake Erie to end their regular season. Walsh and ODU split the season series in Columbus with ODU winning 6-0, and Walsh winning the second game 7-5.
Senior Chelsy Testa is batting .344 and leads the team in hits (52), runs (26), doubles (15), and walks (15). Testa went 3-3 in the first game against the Panthers before going 0-3 in the second game.
Pitcher Casi Rohr is 16-11 and has a 1.67 ERA on the season. Rohr took the loss in game one against ODU giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits in six innings of work.
Walsh will play Saginaw Valley at 12:00p.m. on Friday.
#7 Ashland (25-16, 14-10)
Ashland has won four their last six games including a two game split against ODU this past week. Ashland won the first game 7-5 in eight innings, but then the Panthers won game two 8-2.
The Eagles come into the tournament batting .317 as a team. Taylor Menhart leads the way for the Ashland bats. Menhart is batting .421 with 33 runs, 21 RBI, and 13 doubles.
Sarah Alley has recorded a 10-8 record with a 2.39 ERA on the season and took the win in relief against the Panthers in game one and took the loss as a starter in game two.
Ashland opens up tournament play against Wayne State at 12:00p.m. on Friday.
Contact: Sarah Twiggs