Softball Set to Host Centennial Conference Playoffs

Friday, May 3, 2013

Track & field

The Muhlenberg softball team won the last two games it played on its home field last year. If the Mules repeat that accomplishment this year, the feeling will be entirely different.

Devon Barber
Senior Devon Barber, who hit .347 in CC games, went 4-for-5 against Washington in the first game of the Mules' 2011 postseason title run.
The 2012 Mules entered the final day of the regular season needing a sweep of Franklin & Marshall and other results to qualify for the Centennial Conference playoffs. They got the sweep, but not the help, and were left out of the four-team field.

“I think we kept in mind what it felt like last year to walk off that field and know that even though we won the game we didn’t make playoffs,” said senior catcher Elizabeth Sullivan. “We carried that into this year.”

The current Muhlenberg team left nothing to chance, winning the CC regular season with a 14-2 league mark and earning the right to host the league tournament for the first time ever. The Mules (30-7-1 overall) will begin their postseason against fourth-seeded Washington on Saturday, approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the 10:00 game between second-seeded defending champion McDaniel and third-seeded Haverford.

It was an extraordinary regular season for Muhlenberg, beginning with an undefeated trip to Florida that included five one-run wins (three in extra innings) and ending on Tuesday with a sweep of Scranton that made the Mules the first team in College history to win 30 games in a season.

Elizabeth Sullivan
Sullivan is hitting .375 in her last five games.
Sullivan said the week in Florida set the tone for the season.

“That was just unreal,” she said. “We got into so many situations where we had to get a hit – and we always did. We were never worried because we have that confidence in each other.”

It’s been smooth sailing for Muhlenberg since returning from Florida, with the exception of doubleheaders losses to New Jersey and Moravian. And the Mules bounced back from both by sweeping their next twinbill. They enter the postseason with a 10-game winning streak.

“We’ve done a good job of staying in the present and always focusing on the task at hand,” explained Sullivan. “No matter what happened, we never reminisced on the bad things. Even if we lost we didn’t have a bad practice the next day.”

The playoffs shape up to be very competitive. For the first time since the CC started a postseason tournament in 2001, all four teams come in with at least 23 wins. And although Muhlenberg finished in first place by four games, tying the league mark for biggest margin, the last team to win the regular season in such a runaway, Ursinus in 2010, came up short in the tournament.

The Mules swept McDaniel and Washington and split with Haverford during the regular season; their other CC loss was to sixth-place Gettysburg.

“It’s good to know we’ve beaten [the other teams in the tournament], but we have to remember that a game could go either way,” said Sullivan. “They’re all great teams. We can’t let the fact that we’ve beaten them change how we play.”

Treating every game the same and not changing has served the Mules well this year, and they hope it leads to their record-tying sixth CC championship this weekend.

“I feel like we’re really prepared,” said Sullivan.