ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Harper College softball program is ready to make some noise in postseason play. The No. 3 seed Hawks (11-13) take on No. 2 DuPage (27-12) to open NJCAA Region 4 Tournament play at 10 AM Friday morning.
The Hawks come in as a greatly-improved team in 2014 under head coach Cray Allen after winning just four games in 2013. They finished the regular season 9-8 in N4C play after going just 4-14 in conference play last season. The entire tournament will be played on the campus of Rock Valley College.
The two teams played back-to-back doubleheaders April 26-27. DuPage, the fifth-ranked team in NJCAA Div. III softball, beat Harper 3-2 in eight innings and 10-2 on April 26. At DuPage on April 27, the Hawks captured game one, 3-2, before losing in game two, 6-2.
Key Players for Harper
Left fielder and leadoff hitter Lindsay Cannon (McHenry, Ill./McHenry West) (.338 average, .440 OBP) and second baseman Beth Petrunich (McHenry, Ill./McHenry East) (.338 average, 12 RBIs, .434 OBP) will be counted on to set the table for the middle of the order. Raegan Fingerman (Fox River Grove, Ill./Barrington) (.469 average, four homers, 37 RBIs) and Sam Cummings (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) (.344 average, four homers, 24 RBIs) form a formidable duo in the heart of the Hawks' lineup.
In the circle, Tori Liewergen (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) (8-10, 4.45 ERA) and Jaz Skor (3-3, 6.54 ERA) must contain a DuPage lineup that scores 6.8 runs a game.
Key Players for DuPage
Karen Caithamer (.472 average, six homers, 45 RBIs) is DuPage's biggest threat at the plate and has also gone 5-3 with a 2.73 ERA in the circle. Freshman Amanda Manton (.356 average, one homer, 21 RBIs) also poses a major threat.
In the circle, freshman Jessica Cannon (13-3, 3.40 ERA, 127 strikeouts) will likely do the pitching.
Key Player on Rock Valley and Madison
The nation's No. 4 team, Rock Valley (35-8) features five batters who have 28 or more RBIs this spring, led by star shortstop Danielle Walker. Walker is hitting .493 with 10 homers and a nation-best 74 RBIs.
Madison (21-21) first baseman/pitcher Paige Giese is the team's best hitter with a .338 average, two homers and 32 RBIs. The freshman has also found success pitching with a 6-5 record and 2.90 ERA in 77 1/3 innings.