CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Franklin College softball team begins the defense of their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament championship on Thursday (May 2) afternoon, when the third-seeded Grizzlies meet second-seeded Transylvania in both team's opening game of the 2019 conference tournament.
How We Got Here
Franklin went 18-16 in the regular season and 10-6 in league play to lock up the third overall seed. This will be the third straight year the Grizzlies have reached the HCAC post-season field, winning their first league championship a year ago after finishing as the runner-up for the first time in 2017.
Leading the Way
Sophomore catcher Natalie Weber has been a dominant force for the Grizzlies all year long, leading the team with a .444 average, 30 RBI, 28 runs, 48 hits, 14 walks drawn, eight doubles, three triples and a .685 slugging percentage. The Shelbyville, Ind.-native tied for the team lead with four home runs and reached base at a staggering percentage of .508.
Senior Justice Carmichael matched Weber's home run total with four long balls and 13 runs driven in on the year. Seven different Franklin regulars batted north of .300: Weber, Abby Hickson (.429), Lexi Gaffney (.398), Danielle Wyse (.330), Monica Collins (.323), Sydney Logsdon (.317) and Carmichael (.302). Gaffney was the team's top base-stealer with 21 on the year.
In the circle, junior Kayla Selzer sits 9-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 100.2 innings, walking just 15 while striking out 46. Sophomore Alisha Burch finished the regular season with a 7-6 record and a 3.39 ERA in 99 innings pitched. Wyse totaled 22.1 innings, finishing with a 2.19 ERA.
About the Pioneers
Head coach Shawn Hendrickson and the Pioneers enter the tournament with a 25-11 record, going 14-2 in league play to finish a half-game behind conference regular season champion Mount St. Joseph. The Pioneers are in search of their fourth HCAC Tournament title, having last claimed the crown in 2017.
Senior shortstop Brittany Mumford leads the Pioneers in most major offensive categories, including home runs (four), RBI (24), runs (42), doubles (11) triples (four), stolen bases (19) and batting average (.419). She is joined by six other teammates that hit over .300 this year, matching the number in Franklin's lineup.
In the circle, Kameron Bowling topped the pitching staff with a 15-6 record and 1.43 ERA in 25 appearances. As a team, the Pioneers rank second in the HCAC with a 2.36 ERA.
The Rest of the Field
Thursday's opening contest will feature fourth-seeded Defiance meeting fifth-seeded Anderson with the winner moving on to face top-seeded Mount St. Joseph later in the day. The Yellow Jackets are four-time HCAC Tournament champions while the Ravens are in search of their eighth conference tournament championship.
The winner of the Grizzlies-Pioneers meeting will move on to Friday to meet the winner of MSJ and either Defiance or Anderson. The loser of the Franklin-Transy game will play the lose of the opening game in the first elimination game of the tournament on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
How to Watch
Links to live video and live stats can be found at the top of the page, on our home page and at the conference championship page.