The Southwestern College softball team will spend its spring break in sunny Tucson, Ariz., and will play six games as part of the annual Tucson Invitational Games Tuesday and Wednesday. The Lady Builders are scheduled to play Valley City State, University of British Columbia, and Mayville State on Tuesday, before facing Oklahoma Baptist, Avila and Dickinson State Wednesday.
Tucson Invitational Games (Website)
Tuesday, March 18
9:00 a.m. – Valley City State
1:30 p.m. – British Columbia
3:30 p.m. – Mayville State
Wednesday, March 19
9:00 a.m. – Oklahoma Baptist
1:30 p.m. – Avila
3:30 p.m. – Dickinson State
Southwestern College Lady Builders (2-5)
Southwestern is 2-5 after its first seven games of the season. The Lady Builders bested Bacone for a 6-5 victory in its season opener, then dropped five straight before exacting revenge on Bacone with a 15-3 win Thursday in Muskogee, Okla. Three of the first four series of the season were postponed due to weather, but the Lady Builders have played five-straight games without being impacted by weather.
Audrey Vorderlandwehr and Alejandra Palacios are leading the Lady Builders at the plate this season, and are batting an even .500 on the year. Vorderlandwehr is 12-for-24 at the plate with two home runs, six runs scored and 10 runs batted in, while Palacios is 8-for-16 at the dish with three home runs, seven runs scored and six more batted in. Palacios hit three bombs in last week's trip to Bacone, and boosted her slugging percentage to 1.063 for the season. Megan Walentynowicz was also batting .500 on the season before suffering a season-ending injury in Southwestern's first game of the Friends Invitational.
Junior Rachel Baker is Southwestern's ace in the circle this season. Baker is 1-1 on the year with an ERA of 3.19. The Barton Community College transfer has allowed 16 runs (12 earned) on 33 hits with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 26.1 innings of work this season. Opposing batters are hitting .292 against her.
Valley City State Vikings (6-9)
Location: Valley City, N.D. -- Enrollment: 1,285
Valley City State is 6-9 on the season, and will be playing its 13th game in Tucson when it takes the court opposite the Lady Builders on Tuesday. As of Monday morning, the Vikings are 4-5 in Tucson, and have won three-straight after defeating Huntington (10-9) and Mount Marty (4-2) Sunday morning. VCSU is scheduled to play Doane and Tabor Monday.
Rochelle Schulze and Katie Cameron lead the Vikings at the plate this season. Schulze is batting .417 this season with 10 hits in 24 at bats, and has scored seven runs while batting in nine more. Cameron, meanwhile, is hitting .400 for the year with 12 hits on 30 at bats, and has scored five runs.
Valley City runs a four-starter rotation in the circle, and all four own earned run averages of 3.50 or lower. Samantha Nalley and Lindsey White have started four games each as of Monday morning. Nalley is 2-3 on the year with a 3.34 ERA after allowing 23 runs (17 earned) on 43 hits with 29 strikeouts and four walks in 35.2 innins of work, while White is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA after allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on 13 hits with 18 strikeouts and three walks in 14 innings in the circle.
VCSU is batting .302 as a team, and scores an average of 4.1 runs per game. Viking pitching allows 4.9 runs per contest.
British Columbia Thunderbirds (8-13)
Location: Vancouver, B.C. -- Enrollment: 49,896
British Columbia is 8-13 on the season after dropping its first six games of the Tucson Invitational Games. UBC fell to Dickinson State (8-7) and Olivet Nazarene (10-2) on Saturday, then fell to Doane (4-3), Presentation (6-5) and Dickinson State (7-5) on Sunday. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to play Mayville State and Huntington Monday afternoon.
Lindsey Ogilvie is UBC's offensive leader this season, and is .421 at the plate with 16 hits on 38 at bats. Ogilvie has scored nine runs with 9 RBI. Carlyn Shimizu has proven to be a force at the plate as well, and owns a .377 batting average (20-53), and has scored 12 runs on the season.
Alana Westerhof and Leigh Della Siega form UBC's starting core of starting pitchers. Westerhof is 5-5 on the season with a 2.69 ERA, and has allowed 45 runs (31 earned) on 45 hits with 51 strikeouts and 24 walks in 52 innings. Della Siega, meanwhile, is 2-3 on the season with a 5.12 ERA after allowing 28 runs (19 earned) on 22 hits with 27 strikeouts and 32 walks in 26 innings of work.
British Columbia is hitting .291 as a team with 11 home runs. The Thunderbirds allow an average of 5.4 runs per game, while allowing 5.4 runs per contest, and have played in four games that have been decided by one run.
Mayville State Comets (1-1)
Location: Mayville, N.D. -- Enrollment: 970
The Comets are 1-1 on the season after opening their season with a pair of games at the Tucson Invitational Games Sunday. Mayville State fell to Huntington in an 8-0 decision in the opener, then defeated Mount Marty, 7-1, in its final game Sunday. The Comets were scheduled to face British Columbia and Doane on Monday.
Statistics for Mayville State had not been updated as of Monday afternoon.
Oklahoma Baptist Bison (11-7)
Location: Shawnee, Okla. -- Enrollment: 1,979
The Bison are ranked No. 15 in the most recent NAIA Softball top 25 poll, and will be playing their first game in Tucson when they take the field opposite the Lady Builders in Wednesday morning's contest. Oklahoma Baptist has won three of its last five games after splitting with USAO Thursday in Chickasha, Okla.
Shalee Cordell is OBU's batting leader this season, and is the only Bison with a batting average higher than .400. Cordell is hitting .443 on the season with 27 runs in 61 at bats. She has scored 13 runs and hit 18 more runs in, and is tied for the team lead with three home runs. Sammy Leisinger is OBU's leading run scorer and has crossed the plate 18 times.
McKenzie Jones, Noelle McDowell and Hannah Wilbur form the OBU pitching rotation, and each has started at least five games this season. Jones is 4-2 on the season with a team-best 2.44 ERA after allowing 21 runs (15 earned) on 44 hits with 29 strikeouts and 15 walks in 43 innings of work. McDowell, meanwhile, owns a 2.48 ERA, and has allowed 18 runs (11 earned) on 28 hits with 27 strikeouts and 13 walks in her 31 innings in the circle. Wilbur is the third member of the rotation, and has a 3.02 ERA after allowing 28 runs (18 earned) on 49 hits with a team-best 44 strikeouts and 16 walks in 41.2 innings.
OBU is batting .328 as a team, and has slugged 19 home runs. The Bison score 6.3 runs per game, while allowing 3.7 runs per outing.
Avila Eagles (2-12)
Location: Kansas City, Mo. -- Enrollment: 1,876
Avila will bring a 2-12 record into the Tucson Invitational Games, and will enter the event as losers in 11 of their last 12 contests. The Eagles' only win during that time was a 4-2 win over AIB College of Business on March 9. Avila has dropped its last four contests, and is scheduled to face Huntington and Doane Tuesday in Tucson.
Sheyanna Thompson and Samantha Dexter are Avila's offensive leaders this season. Thompson is hitting .417 with 10 hits in 24 at bats, and has scored two runs in 10 games played this season, while Dexter owns a .405 batting average thanks to 15 hits in 37 at bats, and has scored 11 of Avila's 42 runs this season, and has hit both of the Eagles' home runs.
Jennifer Hammonds and Lexie Worden are Avila's starting pitchers this season. Hammonds is 1-6 on the season with a 3.61 ERA, and has allowed 30 runs (21 earned) on 38 hits with 17 strikeouts and six walks in 40.2 innings of work. Worden, meanwhile, is 0-4 on the year, and has allowed 36 runs (28 earned) on 49 hits with 17 strikeouts and 12 walks in her 32 innings in the circle.
Avila scores an average of 3.0 runs per game, and allows 6.3 runs per contest.
Dickinson State Blue Hawks (6-5)
Location: Dickinson, N.D. -- Enrollment: 2,572
The Dickinson State Blue Hawks will present the final challenge for the Lady Builders in the Tucson Invitational Games. DSU is 6-5 after its opening contest of the TIG, which resulted in a 2-1 win over Tabor. The Blue Hawks have won seven of their last eight contests, and are 6-1 in Tucson thus far.
Janelle Laront is DSU's offensive catalyst this season. Laront is hitting .441 on the season and has scored 13 of DSU's 47 runs. Laront is joined in the .400 batting club by Justeena Gutierrez, who hits .414 with two runs scored and four more batted in, and Monique Yslas, who is hitting .400 with eight runs scored and four RBI. Brianna Grayson (.467) and Regan Lawrence (.429) are also in the .400 club, but have played in just eight games while making five starts.
Lawrence and Laront also form the starting pitching core for the Blue Hawks. Lawrence is 3-2 on the season with a 2.51 ERA after allowing 16 runs (11 earned) on 32 hits with 20 strikeouts and 11 walks, while Laront is 1-2 on the year with a 3.56 ERA after surrendering 19 runs (10 earned) on 30 hits with 11 strikeouts and eight walks in 19.2 innings.
DSU scores 4.7 runs per game, but allows 5.5 runs per contest.
Next up for the Lady Builders…
Southwestern will open KCAC play March 25, hosting the McPherson College Bulldogs. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Broadway Recreation Complex.