PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

April 11, 2014

Seahawks softball set for stretch run

PORT ARTHUR — The Seahawks of Lamar State College-Port Arthur will need some “magic” if they are to make the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament next month.

 The Hawks begin the final two weeks of the regular softball season chasing the program’s first-ever playoff berth when they host Alvin College Saturday (April 12) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Martin Field.

 Now 16-24 overall, they go into the last eight Region XIV games in fifth place in the South Zone standings with a record of 6-10. The top four teams qualify for the regional tournament being held in Lufkin the first week of May.

 “We’re predicting the magic number is 11 or 12,” wins to qualify for the tournament, Seahawk coach Vance Edwards said. “We’ve got to take care of business against Coastal Bend and Alvin, and if we can at least split with Blinn and San Jacinto, we’ll be all right.”

 Galveston College leads the South Zone with a 15-3 record, Angelina College is second at 10-4, Blinn College is third at 8-6 and San Jacinto College is fourth at 10-8.

 The Seahawks’ remaining schedule includes league doubleheaders April 16 at Coastal Bend in Beeville, April 18 at Blinn College in Brenham and April 22 at home against San Jac. The April 12 and 22 doubleheaders at LSC-PA’s Martin Field begin at 1 p.m.

 The Seahawks are led by the hitting of freshman Lani Woods, a corner infielder from Haughton, La. She has a .388 batting average but is sizzling in conference play with a .478 average and a .536 on-base percentage. Three of her team-leading six home runs have come in conference play, along with 11 of her 21 runs batted in.

 Utility player Ashley Bunner, a Vidor freshman, is hitting .347 for the season and .321 in conference. Shortstop Ricki Gilbert, a freshman from Port Neches, is hitting .320 for the season with 19 runs scored; she’s at .375 in conference games with a .407 OBP.

 Another player swinging a hot stick is second sacker Jordan Spivey, a sophomore from Warren, who is batting .344 in conference with a .364 OBP. Pitcher-infielder Taylor Harvill, a Lumberton freshman, leads the team with 24 RBIs for the season and is second with five homers. Harvill and Marci West, a freshman from Anacoco, La., have done most of the pitching.

 The Seahawks won seven of eight games, sweeping a doubleheader against third-place Blinn and winning the opener of a twin-bill against league-leader Galveston. At that point, the Hawks were 6-5 in conference.  Since then, they have fallen on hard times, dropping six of the last seven games, including four straight to Angelina.

 In the second game of a March 29 doubleheader, LSC-PA was within one strike of a sweep over Galveston College but ended up losing 5-3 in 12 innings.

 “It really comes down to us taking care of business,” Edwards said. “When we started this program in 2005, everybody wanted to play us. Teams are finding out now we’re not the same team. They have to bring their ‘A’ games.”

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