Softball playing hardball

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Heading into their last five games of the season, the Lancers softball team is currently ranked No. 1 both in the Golden State Athletic Conference and in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The California Baptist University softball team was ranked No. 1 in NAIA to begin the 2010-2011 season and has held that ranking ever since. They boast a 50-2 overall record and a 13-1 conference record.

CBU is currently the only team ranked in the top 25 of the NAIA with over 40 games won and only two losses. William Carey University is the only other team in the nation with over 40 games played and as few as two losses. They boast a record of 39-2.

CBU’s first loss of the season came by just one run against California State University, San Marcos. CSUSM was ranked number eight in NAIA at that time. The Lady Lancers are currently 10-0 against all other ranked opponents.

With three conference games remaining on the schedule before tournament play begins, CBU looks to extend its regular and post-season success by reaching the national tournament for the eighth straight year. After tying for seventh place in 2004, the Lancers softball team has finished fourth or higher six straight years, including a National Championship run in 2009.

With wins in 98 percent of the games, expectations are high for a deep playoff run.

Emma Holden, CBU’s ace pitcher, is enjoying another impressive statistical season with a win-loss record of 25-1, an Earned Run Average of just 0.80 and 232 strikeouts.

“I try not to look that much into stats. I know how great of a legacy the pitchers before me left here at CBU and I’m just honored to follow behind them,” Holden said.

Tory Ferreira, also a starting pitcher for the Lancers, is having a remarkable season as well, posting an undefeated record of 15-1, an ERA of 1.04 and 102 strikeouts.

Holden is also chasing history as she is currently 15 strikeouts away from tying the CBU all-time single season record of 247, held by Jamie Beaty since 2002. Holden had 206 strikeouts last season.

“As of right now that record means nothing to me,” Holden said. “I just like to pitch the way I know how and try to get an out. I would take a three pitch inning over a three strikeout inning any day.”

Other team members within reach of all-time school records include Kendall Gorham and Starr White.

Gorham, who currently has 56 RBIs is 14 shy of tying the all-time single season record of 70, set in 2007 by Chantal Millard.

Starr, who currently holds a batting average of .462, needs to raise her average by .009 points in order to finish the season tied with the all-time record of .471, set by Tami Trujillo in 2006.

With three guaranteed games left on the schedule and many more expected in the postseason, these individuals, and the softball organization as a whole, have high hopes to accomplish continued success.

This season, the Lancers softball team is outscoring their opponents 421-47. That is an average single-game score of roughly 8 to 0.08 in favor of CBU.

The Lancers are also outhitting their opponents in dominating fashion, with a hit ratio of 493-169.

“Our coach has given us everything to be successful,” Holden said. “I don’t think people realize how hard we work and how hard our coaches work. They want the national championship just as bad as we do.”