For the second consecutive year, the Maryville College softball team has brought home the USA South Western Division Championship. In 2018, the MC softball team went 31-14 (12-2) and claimed their highest ever finish within the NCAA tournament under fifth-year head coach Leah Kelley—a 2011 Maryville College graduate.
Last year eight Scots received All-Conference honors. It was only fair that all eyes were on them coming into this season. Every year Coach Kelley has her seniors come up with a team motto to keep the team focused on their goal throughout the long and grueling season. This year the seniors selected the motto to be “raise the standard x2.”
“This season we knew we were going to have a target on our backs, so we decided that we needed to do more. This year we wanted to raise the standard and do double that of everything we did last year,” said senior pitcher Morgan Corland.
The Scots (25-9) won eight of their first fourteen games before going 15-0 in conference play until they encountered a 5-3 setback on Senior Day. Despite their hot start, the Scots came across some early struggles. In addition to experiencing hitting slumps, they were just simply not playing their best ball as a team. Fortunately, the Scots were able to turn everything around due in part to the leadership of the team’s six seniors.
“We have a strong sense of leadership on this team. We are also older and experienced, so the pressure from big games isn’t something new to us,” Corland continued. The Scots blew by Piedmont College, going 8-3, in order to capture the Western Division Championship.
According to mcscots.com, the Scots were able to achieve victory behind a 3-for-4 effort and three scored runs from senior catcher Alexus Murray. Sophomore infielder Taylor Campbell went 2-for-3 with an RBI (run batted in) and a run, while junior infielder Reid Ballard went 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
Senior infielder Christen Torres went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, and junior infielder Essence Strambler went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Junior fielders Morgan Brewer and Grace Gordon were able to round out the game for the Scots with a hit and a run.
A division championship was not the only regular season accolade that was awarded to the 2019 Scots softball team. Katlyn Smith was named USA South Conference Pitcher of the Year. The Sophomore had a 16-3 record with 135 strikeouts while only giving up a 1.43 earned run average in 112.2 innings.
Smith, Campbell, Murray, and Ballard were named First Team All-Conference. Campbell finished the regular season with an impressive .515 batting average with 7 home runs, while Murray finished with 23 stolen bases and 31 runs scored. Ballard hit .347 with 22 RBI, 6 doubles, and 2 home runs. First baseman Sarah Gordon fielded .987 with 13 RBIs and 5 doubles, and outfielder Ashton Hayden, fielded 1.000 and scored 23 runs.
The Scots were named to the Second Team Western Division All-Conference team. The firepower that this team has is unfathomable. They have peaked at just the right time with the conference tournament coming up. Going into the conference tournament, the team expects their opponent’s best shot every time they step onto the diamond.
“When our whole team is on, we’re unstoppable,” Corland continued. “We have to continue to play clean ball and minimize the other team’s scoring chances, especially since the teams will be tougher. I expect us to stay hot and continue to have fun because that is when we play our best.”