Softball Readies for ACC Tournament
May 3, 2012
In only its ninth year of existence, NC State softball has fought through many tough games during the 2012 season, a year in which the program as a whole has seen many records fall and many new ones set, both through individuals and as a team.
"Our record doesn't indicate the success our team this year," says head coach Lisa Navas. "We have faced many obstacles this season and have a lot of talent. When we play well, we are one of the toughest teams around to beat."
The Wolfpack has played in an amazing number of close games--15 one-run and nine two-run contests in 53 regular season games. In the team's 30 losses, the average margin of defeat was a mere 3.3 runs. However, in State's 23 victories, the Pack defeated opponents by an average of 4.8 runs per game. Over the course of the season, when the Wolfpack scored six or more runs in a contest, the team held an impressive 16-2 record. Similarly, State held a lead going into the sixth inning of 19 contests, and of those 19 games, the Pack won 16.
As a team, the 2012 squad stacks up well against former NC State softball teams in the program's nine year history. The Pack's collective .263 batting average this season stands as the third-best team mark in the last nine years. Similarly, State's on-base percentage and slugging percentage rank as the second-highest in NC State history, and the squad owns the second-lowest strikeout total over the last nine seasons. Heading into the ACC Tournament, the Wolfpack offense has slugged nine triples, which currently stands one away from the best mark in program history.
"We have gotten on base a lot this season," says Navas. "The number of runners we have left on base is high, though. We have lacked a few clutch hits here and there over the course of the year. It always seems as though we get home runs and nice extra base hits when there is no one on base."
Perhaps the most impressive team mark is one that must be taken within the proper perspective. Through 53 games this season, State has plated 204 RBI as a team, which sits as the fourth-highest total in program history. However, the three seasons that sit above this year's team in the rankings were able, due to NCAA rules changes, to play up to 20 more games within a regular season. For example, the 2006 squad, which owns the record with 257 RBI, competed in 71 contests en route to the ACC Championship, but still only notched 53 more RBI than the 2012 team.
In addition to the myriad of team records, the 2012 Wolfpack softball team has made its mark in the individual fields as well.
Freshman Renada Davis has made an compelling case for ACC Freshman of the Year so far this season. In her first year at State, Davis has already cemented herself in the record books, something that Navas hopes will remain the case throughout her time in Raleigh.
"Our future is very bright with Renada leading the way," says Navas. "She has put together an incredible year, and we are excited to see her grow and continue to get better. I want her to keep breaking her own records."
Davis shattered former Wolfpack catcher Alyssa Allbritten's record for highest single-season batting average this year--replacing Allbritten's .348 mark with a new high, .365. In addition, Davis set a new mark for single season on-base percentage (.455), and is near the top in multiple other categories. Heading into the ACC Tournament, her batting average is the third-best in the league, as is her number of hits. Over the course of the season, Davis posted a .700 batting average for a week's play twice, including an .856 mark against Boston College, where she was only retired one time in the entire three-game series.
Redshirt junior Bethaney Wells has also put together an impressive 2012 campaign. She has consistently lead the conference in home runs, slugging percentage, RBI and total bases throughout the season. Her 11 home runs this year sits as the fourth highest total in program history, and all those above her in RBI played 15-20 additional games. She posted a standout week during April against ECU and Boston College, blasting four home runs and plating eight RBI in four games, including two bombs in one contest against the Eagles.
Caitlin Dent has also drawn 33 walks in the regular season, which gives her the second highest total of all-time in Wolfpack program history.
"I'll say it again, our wins and losses do not accurately reflect the talent level and success of this team," says Navas. "We have been one big hit away from breaking our entire season open all year. We have defeated some quality teams, like No. 9 Georgia and Kentucky, and have fought hard all season."
"We feel like we are continuing to get better and are looking forward to making a run in the ACC Tournament next week."
The Pack will open up the postseason on Thursday, May 10 for the 2012 ACC Softball Championships in Chapel Hill, N.C. State's game time and opponent will be determined at the conclusion of the regular season this weekend, so stay tuned to GoPack.com, @PackSoftball Twitter page and the NC State Softball Facebook page for more updates.