After coming in second in the conference last season, the Tartan Pride softball team is off to a promising start this year with 11 straight wins. This has also snuck Sinclair into the national rankings, now at number 13.
According to head coach Steve Beachler, this success can be attributed to a few different things.
“I think we’ve had very good pitching for most of the games,” said head coach Steve Beachler. “We’ve had great defense after the first couple games. We had a little slow start on defense, I think 11 of our first 22 runs allowed were unearned. But that’s just not being outside enough, we have only been on dirt once since last October.”
The Sinclair defense has held their opponents to a .193 batting average on 279 at bats. The pitching staff is boasting a 1.99 ERA, and they have one shutout. Leading the way is freshman Alexis Strother, who is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.34 and 39 strikeouts. Strother also earned OCCAC Pitcher of the Week honors for her performance during the week of March. 5-11.
The bats have also been active. Sinclair has 11 home runs on the season, averaging one per game. They have scored 88 runs so far, including a 17-run game and a 20-run game. Sophomore Brianna West has started strong in this category, earning OCCAC Softball Position Player of the Week honors for March. 5-11 after having a .727 OBP, batting .600 (9-15), seven BB, eight runs scored, four RBIs and four steals over nine games.
West also made the Fall OCCAC All-Academic team, along with six other softball players. Much like the other teams at Sinclair, the softball staff also stresses academics. When asked if this discipline in the classroom helps in the win column, Coach Beachler responded “absolutely.”
“Off the field, our number one goal is stressing the academics,” Beachler said. “I think with this group we have turned the corner on recruiting, getting student-athletes, and we’ve stressed academics and study tables all the time.”
Another member of the All-Academic team that has started strong is freshman MacKenzie Sharritts. Currently batting .345 in 29 at bats, Sharritts has four home runs and a double in her 10 hits. This puts her at a .793 slugging percentage.
Sharritts has also been excelling on the defensive side of the ball, boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage and playing multiple positions.
“She is an all-around player,” Beachler said. “We have had her at second base, first base and outfield. Wherever she’s needed she’ll go in and play.”
The Tartan Pride have some tough games left on the schedule. They will play Cuyahoga Community College four times this year in conference play. Cuyahoga is the reigning conference champion after an undefeated conference record last year.