April 11, 2020
The East Texas Baptist University softball team finished as the number one team in NCAA Division III in a vote by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
It is the first time that ETBU has finished as the number one team since 2010 when they won the national championship.
ETBU finished with 200 points, claiming the top spot by eight points over Texas Lutheran University. American Southwest Conference member the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor was 10th with 128 points.
This is the 95th straight week that ETBU has been ranked in the NFCA National Poll.
ETBU finishes at 15-0 and it is the second season in a row starting off 15-0. Last year, ETBU went 20-0 to start the season. Winning six ASC games sweeping Howard Payne University (12-0, 15-5, 1-0) and Sul Ross State University (6-0, 8-0, 7-4), ETBU was also the only undefeated team in the conference.
“We are obviously extremely sad that this special season has come to such an abrupt end,” said head coach Janae Shirley. “This was a special group and we were really looking forward to seeing the great things they were going to accomplish. However, God had a different plan and we know that His light will shine through in this situation. This team is filled with not only amazing players but amazing people. The growth and leadership that our staff saw from them over these past few months has been amazing.”
Against teams outside the ASC, ETBU went 7-0 with wins over Pacific University, 9-8, in nine innings, and then went 5-0 in Arizona. At the NFCA Leadoff Classic ETBU had wins over No. 13 DePauw University (6-1), No. 20 St. John Fisher College (1-0), No. 25 Emory University (8-5), and Piedmont College (8-5). They then defeated Baldwin Wallace (7-1) in their last game of the year after the Classic. ETBU started the year with a five-inning win over Centenary College.
Six of ETBU’s wins came by shutouts while two wins came on walk-off hits. One win came against Pacific where ETBU overcame a 6-2 deficit for a 9-8 victory. The game saw India Holland come through with a base hit to tie the game in the seventh inning. Then, in the ninth inning, ETBU scored three runs including a walk-off single by Mariah Delgado for the win.
Some of the thrilling moments from the season included a week where Daniella Solis batted .600 (six-for-10) with seven RBI, two doubles, and three homers against Howard Payne University. In game two of that series, she tied the ASC record with three home runs in the game joining six other players on the list. This performance would garner her both the ASC and NFCA National Hitter of the Week award.
Another memorable performance came at the NFCA Leadoff Classic as Corley Carpenter batted. 500 with six hits, four RBI, a double and a home run. Against SJFC, she picked up a season high three hits, including a walkout single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Two more hits would come against EU while she would grab her first career solo home run in the seventh inning against PC. She would also be the recipient of the ASC East Division Hitter of the Week honors.
Along with these two, three other Tigers would earn ASC weekly awards. Beatriz Lara finished with three Pitcher of the Week awards (2/11/20, 2/25/20, 3/16/20). Preslye Cox earned her first career Pitcher of the Week award (3/2/20) after getting two wins pitching 11.0 innings and posting a 0.64 ERA with seven strikeouts. Kaitlin Hunter would be ETBU’s first Hitter of the Week recipient for the season (2/11/20) going three-for-three with two RBI.
This season would see Solis lead ETBU’s offense with 23 hits, eight doubles, 20 RBI, and six home runs. ETBU would be led in the circle by Lara, who finished with nine wins, including a 1.89 ERA and 66 strikeouts. Cox would grab five wins and post a 1.75 ERA and 26 strikeouts.
ETBU will lose just six players from this year’s team. It is also their first-ever undefeated season.