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GREENWOOD, IN - The 2012 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference softball tournament will take place this weekend at Anderson University. The host Ravens earned the regular season championship after going 16-0, becoming the first team to finish the league schedule unbeaten since the Ravens accomplished the feat in 1999. Bluffton, Transylvania, and Manchester will join Anderson this weekend.
The host Ravens (27-10, 16-0 HCAC) will look to capture their second straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Anderson held a 6-0 record against the competition they will face this weekend. The Ravens offense has been solid this season, averaging .399 at the plate with 24 home runs and 106 runs scored in 16 conference tilts. The AU pitching staff has been one of the best in the HCAC this season, placing second in the league with a 1.70 earned run average, four shutouts, and 75 strikeouts. Anderson has won 12 of 13 games heading into tournament play.
The offense has been propelled by the efforts of junior Natalie Moorhouse (Albion, Ind./Central Noble). The junior shortstop currently ranks fourth in the conference with a .511 batting average and leads the HCAC, slugging 1.000 with 22 RBI, six home runs, and 47 total bases in league play. Senior pitcher Monica Crowe (Muncie, Ind./Wes-Deal) has led the pitching staff the entire season. The senior holds an overall record of 16-2 with a 2.14 ERA, while striking out 108 opponents in 114.2 innings of work.
Bluffton (25-15, 11-5 HCAC) placed second in the standings after a successful season. The Beavers posted a 1-5 record against the teams in the tournament field this season. Bluffton's offense has been one of the best in the HCAC this season, ranking second in batting (.338), runs scored (97), doubles (33), and home runs (9). BU's pitching staff has been the top staff in the HCAC this spring, posting a 1.40 ERA during league play. Freshman Megan Patton (Waynesfield, Ohio/Perry) leads the team with a 10-7 record, 1.82 ERA, seven complete games, 78 strikeouts, and 111.2 innings pitched during the 2012 season.
Transylvania (19-17-1, 10-6 HCAC) saw its three year run as league champion come to a close this season. The Pioneers enter the tourney with a 3-3 record against the competition. Junior Michelle Ladanyi (Winchester, Ky./Clark Co.) leads the team at the plate, batting .365 with 11 runs scored, six doubles, three triples, and 17 RBI during league play. Senior Emily McCarty (Hawesville, Ky./Owensboro Catholic) has provided some speed at the top of the lineup for TU, stealing nine bases with 16 runs scored this conference season. The Transy pitching staff has been paced by freshman Elizabeth Young (Louisville, Ky./N. Oldham). The freshman has posted a 10-4 record in the circle with a 2.29 ERA and 54 strike outs.
Manchester (19-21, 8-8 HCAC) will look to improve upon their 2-4 record against the HCAC tournament field when the tournament gets underway this weekend. The Spartans won five straight league games before dropping the season finale to Hanover Sunday afternoon. Senior Amy Hommema (Indianapolis, Ind./Southport) has led the offense during league play, batting .411 with nine runs scored, 10 doubles, four home runs, and 18 RBI. In the circle, freshman Maureen Lund (Huntington, Ind./North) has a 12-9 record with a 2.05 ERA, 19 complete games, and 131 strikeouts this spring.
Action will get underway from Anderson at 10:00 AM Friday morning as No. 2 seed Bluffton faces No. 3 seed Transylvania. Top seed Anderson and No. 4 Manchester will tangle at 12:00 PM in the second opening round game.
Friday, May 4
Game 1: #3 Transylvania vs. #2 Bluffton
Game 2: #4 Manchester vs. #1 Anderson
Game 3: Transylvania vs. Manchester
Game 4: Bluffton vs. Anderson
Saturday, May 5
Game 5: Manchester vs. Bluffton
Championship: Anderson vs. Manchester