SEWANEE, Tenn. - The 2018 softball team's future looks bright, as the program completed its 20th year of varsity competition.
Despite a 4-32 record, the Tigers are continuing to show promise with the program under head coach Merritt Yackey, who wrapped up his third season at the helm of the Sewanee softball program.
The team earned wins over Wesleyan (Ga.), Centre, Blackburn (Ill.) and Farmingdale State (N.Y.).
Rachel Hoffman became the first Sewanee player in the SAA era to garner First Team All-Conference. After a .226 batting average a year ago, the Easton, Pa. native recorded a .317 batting average (32-for-101) in the regular season with 16 runs batted in.
The junior tallied four doubles, and in 111 career plate appearances, she struck out just 16 times.
In her three-year career with the Tigers, Hoffman has posted splits of .304/.372/.401, which comprises her batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Another offensive threat with the Tigers in 2018 was freshman Jackie O'Reilly, who recorded a .635 slugging percentage thanks to 10 doubles and seven homers. The Peachtree Corners, Ga. native recorded a .323 average at the plate with 17 RBI and 25 runs scored.
In the circle, O'Reilly tallied 10 complete games and fired 57 strikeouts for the Tigers.
Memorable Game | Sewanee vs. Centre, March 9
In the Tigers home opener, the teams played a doubleheader on Friday due to impending rains over the weekend. In game one of the twinbill, the Colonels opened the series with a 15-5 victory thanks to a nine-run seventh.
Game two was a different story that not many saw coming. The Tigers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with an RBI double by Jackie O'Reilly.
After the visitors tacked three runs in the second, the Purple and Gold responded with a three-run inning of their own in the bottom half. After Katie Roth made it 3-2 via an RBI groundout, Jackie O'Reilly, who already went deep earlier in the day, went in to launch mode again for a two-run shot to give Sewanee the 4-3 advantage.
Not going away quietly, the Colonels evened the scored at four runs apiece in the top of the third.
After the teams went scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, Centre attempted to break the tie in the top half of the seventh. After a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt, the Sewanee defense forced two groundouts to send the contest into the bottom half of the seventh.
With the daylight slipping away, O'Reilly led off the bottom half of the seventh with a single. After a sacrifice bunt, Rachel Hoffman singled to put the winning run at third base. Caroline Sweetin, the next batter, loaded the bases on a free pass.
With two strikes, Taylor Wagner found grass on the right side and to bring home the winning run, O'Reilly.
Southern Athletic Association
Player of the Week
March 12 - Jackie O'Reilly
Rachel Hoffman - First Team
SAA Sportsmanship Team