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Wilkes University will play host to the 2007 Freedom Conference Softball Championship on Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, at the Ralston Complex.
The double-elimination event will begin on Friday at 11:00 a.m. when top-seeded King’s College takes on fourth-seeded Delaware Valley College. The 1:00 p.m. game features second-seeded Wilkes and number-three seed FDU-Florham. The winner of the first two games will meet on Friday at 3:00 p.m. in the winner’s bracket final.
Games will continue on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m. The championship game is slated to start at 1:00 p.m., with an if-necessary game slated for 3:00 p.m. The winner of the Freedom Conference championship will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship.
Single day tickets for the tournament are priced at $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for senior citizens and $3.00 for students. A two-day pass will be available for $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for senior citizens and $4.00 for students.
King’s is the top-seed after going 28-6 overall and 13-1 in the conference. The Lady Monarchs, who have won six of the last seven Freedom Conference crowns, are hitting at a .340 clip with a .462 slugging percentage. Abbey Knoblauch has two doubles, two triples and 20 RBI’s and is hitting a team-leading .412. Mari Valonis has a .406 average with nine doubles, two triples, five homeruns and 27 runs batted in. Becky Loring ranks third on the squad among the regulars with a .387 average that includes five doubles, four triples, two homeruns and 32 runs batted in, while Leanne Harvey is at .369 with eight doubles, three triples, one homer and 34 runs batted in.
Kelsey Shreaves is the top pitcher for the Lady Monarchs. Shreaves is 12-2 with a 1.33 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 84 innings. Amanda Rizner and Lindsay Hoerner have identical 8-2 records on the mound. Rizner has a 1.57 ERA, while Hoerner’s ERA is 2.45.
Wilkes is the defending Freedom Conference champion and claimed the number-two seed after posting a 21-11 record overall and 10-4 mark in the conference. Laurie Agresti is among the Division III leaders in earned run average and strikeouts per game. She is 14-2 on the mound this spring with an earned run average of 0.72. Agresti is averaging 12.5 strikeouts per game after fanning 209 hitters in 117 innings, and enters the tournament needing only 11 strikeouts to become the fifth pitcher in Division III history to reach the 1,000 strikeout plateau. Samantha Evanich is 7-7 with a 2.50 earned run average. Evanich has struck out 67 batters in 86.2 innings.
Wilkes, which is hitting .257 as a team, is led by Evanich at the plate. Evainich is hitting .329 with one doubles, one homerun and 11 RBI’s. Gina Stefanelli is next with a .327 average that includes five doubles, five homeruns and 23 runs batted in. Erin Plank ranks third on the starting unit with a .313 average at the plate. She has five doubles, one homerun and 13 runs batted in to her credit. Melisa Bracone has a .310 batting average with six doubles, two homeruns and 10 runs batted in.
Third-seeded FDU-Florham is in the conference tournament for the third consecutive year. The Devils finished the regular season with an 20-15 overall record and a 9-5 mark in the conference. FDU-Florham is hitting .312 as a unit and is led by Christine Heyl. Heyl has a .418 average at the plate with 11 doubles, eight homeruns and 28 runs batted in. Amy Beideman hit .390 during the regular season with seven doubles, four homers and 35 runs batted in. Kelly Nover has a .328 batting average and has cracked seven doubles, one triple and eight homers, while driving in 27 runs.
The FDU-Florham pitching staff is led by Katelyn Smith. Smith has an 11-5 record and a 2.13 earned run average. She has struck out 133 hitters in 105 innings on the mound. Julie Hartnett has a 9-7 record with an earned run average of 2.73. Hartnett has been credited with 52 strikeouts in 82 innings of work.
Delaware Valley is making its first playoff appearance in 20 years. The Aggies are the number-four seed after closing out the regular season with an overall record of 16-12 and a conference record of 8-6. Kelly Andrews is the team’s leading hitter with a .382 average that includes six doubles, four homeruns and 17 RBI’s. Bethany Pavlik is next on the list with a .344 average. She has contributed six doubles, one triple, five homeruns and 16 runs batted in. Nancy Kauffman has five doubles, three homeruns and 13 runs batted in and is hitting at a .339 pace. Nicole Dorney has contributed a .312 average for the Aggies, who are hitting .294 as a unit. She has four doubles, two homeruns and 16 RBI’s.
Kirstyn Ruhling and Jennifer Bummer are the top hurlers for Delaware Valley. Ruhling is 6-5 with a 2.03 earned run average, while Bummer has a 7-5 mark and an ERA of 3.12. Ruhling has fanned 32 hitters in 79.1 innings, and Bummer has 62 strikeouts in 74 innings of work.