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Hatter Classic to Kick Off Spring Break Swing

March 6, 2008  Deland, Fla.  RSS
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Dana Wheeler and the Lady Flames begin their anuual Spring Break trip at this weekend's Hatter Classic, hosted by Stetson.

Dana Wheeler and the Lady Flames begin their anuual Spring Break trip at this weekend's Hatter Classic, hosted by Stetson.

The Lady Flames softball team will open up its annual Spring Break trip this weekend, at the Hatter Classic, hosted by Stetson at Patricia Wilson Field. Liberty is one of three teams in the tournament field, along with host Stetson and future Big South foe Presbyterian.

Liberty (1-7-1) is coming off a tough showing at last weekend's Pirate Clash, finishing the weekend-long event winless over five games. The Lady Flames capped off the three days in Greenville, N.C., with a 4-0 loss to arch rival Radford, Sunday morning, giving Liberty an early-season look at one of the Big South's top-rated teams.

Early in the year, the Lady Flames are being led by first baseman Beth Bennett. The junior is batting .417 (10-of-24), with two runs scored, a home run and five RBIs. The Powhatan, Va., native has hit safely in six out of nine games, including three contests with multiple hits.

Newcomer Cassie Hendrix follows Bennett on the offensive charts, having posted a .321 batting average (9-of-28). The second baseman has also scored twice and leads the squad with two stolen bases.

Senior Shannon McKain is coming off a solid offensive showing at the Pirate Clash, last weekend, which included clocking two home runs in back-to-back games. The pair of round-trippers gave the outfielder 21 for her career, making her one of six players in program history to eclipse the 20-career home run mark.

Leading the Lady Flames inside the circle is sophomore Dana Wheeler. The Buckeye State native has posted a 1-1 record to go along with a 0.95 ERA, while striking out 23 and walking one during 14 2/3 innings of work.

Liberty's two remaining pitchers, Sarah Ellis and Tiffani Smith, are hoping the warmer weather in the Sunshine State helps them pick up their first victories of the year, as both hurlers have posted a 0-3 record to date.

Liberty will face Presbyterian and Stetson on both Friday and Saturday, with a final game against its future conference opponent scheduled for Sunday at 10 a.m. Friday's action pits Liberty against Presbyterian at 1:30 p.m., and the host Hatters at 4 p.m.

Due to uncontrollable scheduling conflicts, will not be providing LIVE in-game statistics for any of the games played at the Hatter Classic. However, the web site will resume normal in-game live stat coverage with Liberty's doubleheader against Stetson on Tuesday.

Scouting the Hatter Classic Field

Stetson (14-8)
Stetson, who will be hosting its fourth tournament of the year and an event for the third-straight weekend, is coming off a 1-0 victory over Albany, last Sunday, to give the Hatters the title at the Stetson Invitational.

Stetson's pitching staff dominated the event, allowing two total runs during the last four games, which included a 6-0 shutout over Western Michigan and the aforementioned blanking of Albany in the title game.

Junior Andrea Migliori shined brightest for the Hatters during the tournament, batting .455 with two home runs and 10 RBIs, helping her garner Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week honors. On the year, the first baseman leads the squad with a .370 batting average (27-of-73), eight home runs, 26 RBIs and 18 runs scored.

Speedster Amy Joyce follows Migliori among Stetson's offensive leaders, batting .300 on the year (21-of-70) with 17 runs scored. The outfielder has swiped 14 of Stetson's 27 stolen bases on the year, going 14-for-15 in stolen base attempts.

Stetson has evenly split up its starts between two hurlers on the year. Junior Amanda Lindsey leads the pair with a 1.33 ERA and a 7-6 record. The righty has fanned 77 batters during 78 2/3 innings of work, while holding opponents to a .187 batting average.

Fellow third-year player Erica Demers ranks just behind Lindsey with a 2.05 ERA and a 7-2 record. She also is holding opponents under the .200 mark from the plate (.197), to go along with 66 strikeouts during 65 innings of work.

Presbyterian (7-10)
Following seven-straight home games, Presbyterian has ventured away from Clinton, S.C., this week for a swing through the states of Georgia and Floirda.

The Blue Hose started the road trip with a doubleheader at Georgia Southern on Wednesday, dropping both contests, 3-0 and 3-2., The Eagles held Presbyterian to just three hits during the opener, while Georgia Southern was able to halt a seventh-inning rally to hang on for the one-run victory to complete the twinbill sweep.

During the previously mentioned homestand, the Blue Hose posted a 6-1 mark, allowing them to claim six of their seven victories on the year. Presbyterian swept North Greenville and Western Carolina, while taking single games from Oakland and Mississippi Valley State.

The Blue Hose boast a quartet of players with a batting average above the .300 mark, led by first baseman Rachel Parker. The sophomore is batting an impressive .444 on the year (20-of-45), with a team-high five home runs to go along with 12 RBIs.

No. 2 hitter Amanda Miller follows behind Parker, batting .375 (18-of-48), with a team-best 10 runs scored and four doubles to go along with 10 RBIs. Presbyterian's other two .300 hitters are leadoff batter Laura Tate (.327/16-of-49, with nine runs and eight stolen bases) and Kayla Handy (.313/5-of-16, with six runs scored).

The Blue Hose, who will become a full-time softball member in the Big South during the 2010 season, like to play in offensively minded games. During its first 17 games of the year, Presbyterian and its opponents have combined to score an average of more than nine runs a game (3.51 average runs per game by Presbyterian, while surrendering an average of 5.82 runs per game).

Sophomore Mary Gordon is the ace on the Blue Hose's pitching staff, with a 3.54 ERA and a 5-4 record. The righty has gone the distance in all nine games she has started, striking out 41 over 59 1/3 innings of work.

Junior Paige Cassady ranks second on the squad with a 2-2 record and a 7.76 ERA, recording an even 32 walks and 32 strikeouts during 30 2/3 innings inside the circle.