By Joshua Laska – Sports/Managing Editor
The 23rd ranked California Vulcan softball team captured two wins last week and won the PSAC West outright with those two wins. The Vulcans defeated Mercyhurst in a double header 14-5 and 11-5. They were scheduled to play a doubleheader with Slippery Rock, but due to rain in the area that doubleheader was cancelled. The Vulcans finish the regular season with a 32-6 record and a 12-2 record in the PSAC.
In the first victory over Mercyhurst, sophomore second basemen Natalie Wideman led the way going two for three, getting hit by two pitches, scoring twice and batting in three runs. Senior third basemen Jillian Russell added two hits including her 14th home run of the season. Russell also drove in one more run and scored one more time herself. Senior left fielder Kristen McKenzie collected three hits on four attempts for a .750 batting average, scored once herself and batted in one run as well. Sophomore first basemen Shelby Lia collected two hits, two runs and two runs batted in; while sophomore designated hitter Stephani Ellis collected her first career home run as a Vulcan and scored one more time herself as well as drove in two more runs. Senior catcher Alyson Johnson and freshman right fielder Shelby Heyd both collected two hits, with A.Johnson scoring once and batting in one run. Freshman shortstop Breanna Morris collected one hit and drove in two runs and scored once; freshman center fielder Katie Natter scored once for the Vulcans.
Lia led the defensive side, with 10 putouts followed closely by A.Johnson with eight. Heyd and Wideman added two and one putout, respectively. Sophomore pitcher Hope Spancake and Wideman both led with two assists, while Morris, Lia and Russell all added one assist each. Spancake picker up her team leading 17th win of the season, giving up only two earned runs in seven innings pitched. Spancake struck out eight of the 29 batters she faced and only aloud six hits.
Heyd led the way in the second game against Mercyhurst with three hits on four attempts, scoring three times and driving in one run. Ellis, Russell and Wideman all picked up two hits, with Wideman and Ellis both scoring once and Russell batting in one run. Morris and A. Johnson both collected two hits as well; with A.Johnson scoring once and batting in two runs. Morris batting in two runs and scoring twice. Lia picked up one hit, a three run home run, and drove in four runs. Natter scored once on one walk, while freshman pinch hitter Madison Yanek collected one hit on one attempt.
On the defensive side of the diamond, Lia again led with 13 putouts, followed by A. Johnson who added four. Morris, Russell, Natter and Wideman all added one putout each. Wideman led with six assists, while Russell and Morris added two and one, respectively. Sophomore pitcher Kaitlyn Schilling picked up her 13th win of the season giving up two earned runs on seven hits in seven innings pitched. Schilling also picked up four strikeouts of the 30 batters she faced.
With the regular season over the Vulcans look towards the PSAC Tournament, which began on Wednesday, April 25, but the first games ended to late, for press time. The Vulcans are scheduled to play the winner of the West Chester-IUP game. Should the Vulcans have won they will have moved on to have played on Thursday, April 26 at 1 p.m. Should the Vulcans have lost on Thursday, as long as they didn’t loss on Wednesday as well, or won on Thursday they will play today at either 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. Should they win today they will play tomorrow for the PSAC Championship. A recap of the PSAC Tournament, will be available in next weeks Cal Times.
If the Vulcans are selected they will play in the NCAA Tournament that begins next week sometime, May 5. The Vulcans currently are ranked 2nd in the region, so it is likely that they will be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Selection for the NCAA Tournament will be Monday, April 30 at 10 a.m. live on NCAA.com.