Softball wins HCAC regular season crown
Five wins in three days during a pressure-packed six-game road trip over the final weekend of the regular season made the difference for Transylvania as the Pioneers edged Bluffton College for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and the right to host the HCAC tournament.
The Pioneers began the weekend on a Friday with two wins over Defiance College, then picked up two more wins at Manchester College on Saturday. Then it was back to Ohio on Sunday for a showdown with Bluffton, where the
Pioneers pulled out a 3-2 win in the first game before losing the season finale. When the dust had settled, Transy’s 13-3 record won the regular season title over Bluffton’s 12-4 mark.
First-year catcher Kaitlynn Kallenborn was the hero in the win over Bluffton when she smacked a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore pitcher Kendra DeArk tossed a four-hitter against the Beavers.
That set the stage for the conference tournament on Hall Field in Lexington. Transy defeated Anderson University and Bluffton to reach the finals of the double-elimination event before losing 6-0 to Defiance in the title game.
The Pioneers ended the season with a 27-12 overall record.
Earlier in the season, Transy enjoyed a successful spring break trip to Kissimmee, Fla., to participate in the Rebel Spring Games. The Pioneers posted a 7-3 record against teams from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
DeArk finished as the Pioneers’ top pitcher with a record of 14-7 and a team-leading 1.17 earned run average. She was named Pitcher of the Year in the HCAC. Sophomore Olivia Wall was next with a 9-2 record and 1.92 ERA.
Kallenborn was voted the conference’s Freshman of the Year and finished with a team-high six home runs. She was joined on the All-HCAC team by senior infielder Jessica Broadhead, whose team-leading stats included a .385 batting average, 28 runs, and 22 runs batted in.
Head coach Michelle Manning, in her third season with Transy, was voted the Coach of the Year in the HCAC.