COLUMBUS, Ohio — The race for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference regular season championship and top seed in the conference tournament comes down to the final week of the regular season, as Ohio Dominican's softball team prepares for contests against Ohio Valley, Hillsdale and Findlay in a big week around the G-MAC.
Winners of 19 of their last 20, the Panthers (29-16, 15-3 G-MAC) are one of the hottest teams in NCAA Division II and currently sit in third place in the Great Midwest. The best percentage of overall Great Midwest games won and lost determines the conference standings, and ODU boasts an .833 win percentage in the G-MAC, trailing just Findlay (.875) and Cedarville (.850). Tiebreakers in the standings are determined first by head-to-head results before going to record against conference opponents in descending order of standings.
First, Ohio Dominican will take on Ohio Valley in a doubleheader on Wednesday starting at 3 p.m. at Panther Field. This weekend, ODU is set to finish the regular season with twin ball against Hillsdale on Saturday and Findlay on Sunday. All games will be played at Panther Field.
Despite falling in a closely-contested, 1-0 decision to Lake Erie in game two Sunday, the Panthers have been lights out in the month of April, boasting a 17-1 record that's included two victories over a ranked opponent, part of the team's 19-game win streak that ended up as the longest in NCAA Division II.
In its last 20 games, Ohio Dominican has outscored its opponents 134-26 and notched six shutouts. The team hasn't allowed more than four runs in a game since March 19, with pitchers Abby Lamping (Cleves, Ohio) and Cameron Barber (Powell, Ohio) powering the Panthers in the circle. Lamping is third in the conference with a 1.81 ERA, leads the G-MAC in complete games (15), wins (13) and ranks second in innings pitched (131.2). Barber is fifth in the conference in strikeouts (83), eighth in ERA (2.31), tied for first in wins (13) and tied for second in complete games (14).
Four Panthers are batting .348 or above, with senior Liz Sutter (Mansfield, Ohio) leading the way with a .385 average. Ranking in a tie for second in the conference and first on the team in RBIs is sophomore Taylor Farmer (Mt. Blanchard, Ohio), who's picked up G-MAC player and pitcher of the week honors this year en route to boasting 36 RBIs, a .348 batting average and slugging percentage of .580. Barber is second on the squad in batting average at .367, while senior Taylor Kline (Bellville, Ohio) leads the Great Midwest in stolen bases (34) while also batting .362.
Wednesday's doubleheader against Ohio Valley will begin at 3 p.m. for the Panthers. On Saturday, Hillsdale and ODU will face off at 1 p.m., then Findlay makes the trip to Sunbury Road for twin ball on Sunday at 12 p.m.
Contact: Aaron McPherson