DePauw softball to host North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament


Ranked number one in the North Coast Athletic Conference, a 13-3 record, the DePauw Tigers softball team will be hosting the NCAC Tournament seeded in the number one title spot this weekend. This season marks the first NCAC softball title for the DePauw Tigers who lead with a three game margin, marking the first in the history of the NCAC.
The Tigers will face three teams: Wittenberg University, ranked second; Kenyon College, ranked third and Allegheny seated in fourth. Friday at noon, DePauw will face off to Allegheny to begin their battle to hopefully becoming the 2013 NCAC champions.
Wednesday evening the team faced Manchester College in their last game before facing the competition in the tournament. Senior Kate Hendrickson said the team's two pitchers are similar to Allegheny's giving the team more practice to prepare for their game on Friday.
"We hit really well [against Manchester] and are expecting to carry it over into the next game [against Allegheny," Hendrickson said.
The team is turning to past games played against the teams to look towards success over the weekend.
"We are going to be facing three teams that have three totally different styles of play," head coach Erica Hanrahan said. "We've seen these teams, so we know what we're up against but the challenge is that they're very different in what their strengths are. We're going to focus on all of their strengths in practices."
It is one thing to train to play to one team's strengths, but the key to this weekend will be focusing on combating all three teams.
Against Allegheny the Tigers are up against a dominant pitcher, Wittenberg has the top stolen bases in the league and Kenyon has an excellent offense. DePauw will have to defend all three very different styles these teams are bringing to the plate.
The tournament will be a double elimination with Friday morning's winners playing at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, while the losers play at 4 p.m. to determine the standings for Saturday's play. The winner from Friday's 4 p.m. game will face the loser of Friday's third game on Saturday morning to determine the final slot in the championship round. The championship round will conclude Saturday afternoon.
This year four teams went 10-6 in their season, Wittenberg, Kenyon, Denison and Allegheny, with DePauw leading the conference by three games. This is the first time in conference history that a team has held a three game margin.
After winning the title last year, and a total of six since 2001, Denison did not make the cut to compete in this year's tournament.
Having a home field advantage will be key in the Tigers' excelling throughout the weekend.
"If we can use our field and the ins and outs of the infield bounces and the outfield rolls this will give us a little bit more of what we need," Hanrahan said.
The team will be up against tough opponents and just because DePauw is the number one seed doesn't mean they have won just yet. It's still anyone's tournament, Hanrahan said. "The teams in this tournament are well coached. We'll have to put our best softball in."