Joplin, Mo. - The Missouri Southern Lions softball team will be back in action this weekend as they travel to St. Joseph, Mo. to participate in the 2014 Missouri Western Softball Invitational at Heritage Park playing six games in three days.
The Lions will take on five NSIC opponents along with MIAA foe Central Missouri as they look to improve upon their 8-16 start to the season. Through 24 games, the Lions are hitting .278 as a team with five players hitting over .275 with senior first baseman Dawn Grass leading the charge hitting .378 from the plate as she leads the club in hits (28), RBI's (13), total bases (45) and slugging percentage (.608). Sophomore shortstop Michala Wood continues to be solid from the plate as she leads the team in at-bats with 76 collecting 22 hits and scoring nine runs.
One player who has been especially hot for the Lions over the past eight games is senior third baseman Brooklyn Farrell who is hitting .333 collecting six hits and driving in three runs. Senior right fielder Shelby Romines continues to improve at the plate as she has collected six hits as well in the last eight games scoring four runs and driving in a pair. In the circle, sophomore Haley Kinnison has been stellar over the past eight games making four starts pitching three complete games while striking out 14 and limiting opponents to a .267 batting average to lower her ERA on the year to 3.71.
#5 Augustana: The Lions open up play on Friday at noon against the fifth-ranked Vikings of Augustana (S.D.) out of the NSIC. Led by eighth-year head coach Gretta Melsted, Augustana enters this weekend with a 13-2 record and are led at the plate by junior outfielder Mackenzie Alstott who is hitting .543 with 19 hits in 35 at-bats. She also leads the club with a .600 slugging percentage and .579 on-base percentage. Junior pitcher Jenelle Trautmann is the ace in the circle for the Vikings as she sports a 9-1 record with a 1.89 ERA and 44 strikeouts.
Minnesota State- Mankato (Live Stats): The second game of Friday pits the Lions against the Mavericks of Minnesota State-Mankato. MSU-M enters this weekend with a 10-6 overall record and are coming off a 8-2 showing at last week's Rebel Springs Games down in Winter Haven, Fla. In her 30th year at the helm of the Mavericks program, Lori Meyer has an experienced group this year that currently has three regulars batting over .375. Senior shortstop Samantha Holien leads the way from the dish as she hitting .491 (28-57) scoring 19 runs and driving in 17. Coley Ries has a team-low 2.14 ERA with a 4-2 record and 40 strikeouts on the year.
Central Missouri (Live Stats): Saturday's action starts with a matchup with MIAA foe Central Missouri at noon. The Jennies come into this weekend with a 12-8 overall record, winners of seven of their last eight games. UCM is led at the plate by junior pitcher/designated player Jakki Prater who leads the team in hitting at .394 (28-71), runs (21), home runs (12), RBI's (29) and slugging percentage (.972). In the circle, Prater also leads the team as has a 8-3 mark with a 3.92 ERA.
Concordia St. Paul (Live Stats): Saturday wraps up with a matchup with NSIC opponent Concordia St. Paul. The Golden Bears, led by 10th-year head coach Bob Bartel, enter this weekend with a 3-11 overall record. Junior centerfiedler Alicia Meiser leads CU from the plate hitting .324 (12-37) scoring four runs and two doubles. Junior pitcher Stephanie Kappes leads the team in the circle with seven complete games and 26 strikeouts.
Wayne State (Neb.) (Live Stats): The final day of action on Sunday gets started with a showdown with the Wayne State Wildcats out of the NSIC. The Wildcats enter tournament action with a 11-5 overall mark after sweeping MIAA opponent Nebraska-Kearney at home on Wednesday. WSU is led at the plate by junior first baseman Kati Williams who is hitting .478 (22-46) and has scored 10 runs. Junior Kelcie Bormann is the ace in the circle as she has a 5-1 record with a 1.18 ERA holding opponents to a .229 batting average and has 46 strikouts.
St. Cloud State: The final game of the Invitational pits the Lions against the St. Cloud State Huskies out of the NSIC. The Huskies are led by 17th-year head coach Paula U'Ren and were 28-26 in 2013. At the plate, senior second baseman Breanna Canova is hitting .412 (14-34) with four doubles, nine RBI's and has a team-high .618 slugging percentage. Junior Kelly Franks holds a 2.13 ERA in the circle as the pitcher has thrown two complete games and struck out 48 while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.
After this weekend's action, the Lions return to MIAA play on Saturday, March 29 at Northwest Missouri for a doubleheader with the Bearcats starting at 2 p.m. at Bearcat Field.