The 2013 season was a very good one for the Wittenberg softball team, as the Tigers finished second in the conference and came within one run of a national tournament bid. This coming season will test whether or not the team can take the next step as a program and win a North Coast Athletic Conference championship.
The Tigers finished (23-13) overall last season and (10-6) in NCAC contests. The team lost 3-2 to Allegheny College in the Championship Game of the NCAC Tournament. It was a heartbreaking end to a great season and tournament run. But, luckily for the Tigers they return almost every single contributor from last season and also welcome in a promising freshmen class.
Seniors Laura Rose, Rachel Ross and Katie Harrison are the top returners and the unquestioned leaders of the team. Rose has been named First Team All-Conference twice and Second Team once. She broke the school record and led the conference with 32 stolen bases last season, along with leading the team with 31 runs scored. Ross is the team’s ace on the mound and has been named All-Conference Second Team and Honorable Mention in her career at Wittenberg. She has also thrown the only perfect game in Wittenberg history in 2011 and followed that up with a no-hitter last season. Ross won 17 games last season, the second most in program history. Harrison, coming off of a First Team All-Conference season in 2013, anchors first base for the Tigers. She was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2013, led the team with 25 runs batted in and was third in the NCAC in on-base percentage. Other returners include Shannon Lance, Ashlee Wright, Loren Combs, Kaela Hughes, and Shelby Knapp. Combs was named NCAC Newcomer of the Year for her excellent freshman season.
Coach Laura Matthews enters her second season leading the Tigers and has already had a profound impact on the program. The Tigers open the season with their annual Spring Break trip to Florida where the snow hopefully will not follow. The team’s first home doubleheader is March 22 against Thomas More.