Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

March 9, 2014

CU softball off to fast start, on the road

ATHENS — The pieces appear to be coming together for the Concord University softball team to have a banner year.

The Mountain Lions have gone into spring break week with a 10-5 record, including four shutout wins by scores of 10-0, 1-0, 12-0 and 18-0. Concord was 4-5 at this point last season.

Head coach Alisa Tasler said by phone on Saturday, “We had a big recruiting class last year and kind of put all the pieces of the puzzle together ... .”

All of the games so far have been on-the-road non-conference contests, and North Carolina has been one of their most productive destinations. The Concordians have won nine of 11 contests they’ve played in the Tar Heel State.

Their last shutout, on Feb. 22 in Raleigh, N.C., was the 18-0 decision over Bowie (Md.) State. Only once has a team scored in double digits on the Mountain Lions, a 10-5 decision in favor of Seton Hill on Feb. 23.

Concord split two games at Virginia Intermont in Bristol, and lost their last two dates, by 8-5 and 7-4 scores on Tuesday at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn. — games that were originally scheduled for Athens.

Friday’s “default” home opener was canceled due to field conditions, according to the university’s sports information department. Millersville (Pa.) University was to play Concord on Friday and Bluefield State on Saturday.

Concord has averaged 6.9 runs per game and allowed 3.5 runs on average.

The Mountain Lions have a composite batting average of .334 going into their off week. Leading the individual batting stats are freshman Lauren Lewis (.419), Lacey McDou-gall (.396) and Kristen Rose (.389).

The three are also perfect in stolen-base attempts, going 12 for 12. The team has been successful in base stealing on 21 of 23 attempts.

Lewis, from West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, “has done a fantastic job for us,” Tasler said. “She’s a universal kid, who can perform at the plate and in the field. She has stepped up to the plate and helped us considerably.

“Being a left-handed power hitter, with her stature, other teams are looking for her to be a slapper, but she surprises them with long, powerful cuts. She does a great job.”

Tasler said she attended a prep tournament when she first saw Lewis in action.

“Once I watched her play, I knew we wanted her on our team,” the coach said.

Tasler said that McDougall “had a really good freshman campaign, then dropped off in her sophomore year. Part of that was that we asked a lot of her in the (pitching) circle and she fell off (in production) at the plate.”

McDougall is still a leader of the pitching corps, with a 1.99 earned-run average and a 3-1 record, including two complete games. In 31 2/3 innings, she has struck out 28 batters and allowed just four extra-base hits. Opposing batters are a combined .246 against her.

Allie Reid (5-1) and Sarah Herndon (2-3) have come on to help with the pitching duties.

Reid has 31 strikeouts to her credit but has given up five of the nine home runs by the opposition this season. Herndon won twice on Feb. 22, going eight scoreless innings against St. Augustine’s College and Bowie State.

Tasler said, “We sat down at the very beginning of the year and said we’re going to pitch by committee this year. Once they get to you, we’re going to mix it up and give them different looks.

“That’s the beauty of our pitching corps. Each has her own distinctive style.”

“Thus far, that has helped all three of the pitchers.”

Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley has provided two of the three West Virginians on the 16-woman roster, junior pitcher-first baseman Brantlea Wood and sophomore outfielder Katie Allen.

Lewis, from Kearneysville, is the other Mountain State native.

The softball team is scheduled to return to action from spring break next weekend, playing five games in six days in a big invitational tournament in Salem, Va.

Tasler said about Concord’s upcoming opponents in Salem, “They’re good quality teams. ... We’re looking forward to it, definitely. I believe it will get us ready for going into conference play, and we can see where we measure up in the region.”

The Athens softball field is now projected to host its first game on March 18 when Lees-McRae College travels north from Banner Elk, N.C.

“We’re ready to come home,” Tasler said. “We were really hoping to get a homestand on Friday (March 8) but the weather didn’t let us do it. We’re excited to get home and let people kind of see what we are.”

Concord’s first softball game in the new Mountain East Conference will also take place in Athens when Fairmont State visits for a doubleheader on Mar. 22 and Shepherd arrives for two games the next day.

Those two conference foes start a string of 15 doubleheaders, 14 against Mountain East teams.

— Contact Tom Bone at

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