PLYMOUTH, N.H. - It's the sixth seed against the third seed Wednesday (May 5) in Danbury, Conn., when Plymouth State College faces Western Connecticut State University in the opening round of the Little East Conference softball play-offs.
The Panthers, who finished sixth in the LEC's regular season with a 4-10 conference mark, 11-25 overall, will face an uphill battle Wednesday. The Colonials, who are ranked eighth in Division III New England, placed third in the LEC with a 10-4 mark, and finished 25-16 overall.
"The key is execution," said PSC first-year head coach Moira Long. "If we go down there and execute the way we're capable of, we'll be all right. We have to have confidence in ourselves. We played them very close down there earlier this year, so we know we can play with them."
Plymouth State is a team that is much better than its record indicates. The Panthers lost eight one-run ball games, and dropped four others by two runs. Included in those tight games were 2-1 and 4-2 setbacks at WCSU in the LEC openers on Apr. 10th.
Other first-round LEC games include #8 UMass Boston at #1 Keene State, #7 UMass Dartmouth at #2 Southern Maine, and #5 Eastern Connecticut at #4 Rhode Island College. The four winners from Wednesday's games will advance to the double-elimination finals Friday and Saturday (May 7-8) at the site of the highest remaining seed.
PSC was the fifth seed in last season's LEC Tournament, and dropped a 5-0 decision at fourth-seeded Keene State. Southern Maine captured both the regular season and tournament in 1998.
The Panther offense is led by the trio of senior Kerry Bickford (Belmont, NH), junior Sara Wormwood (Rutland, VT) and sophomore Kelly Anderson (Exeter, NH). Bickford, a co-captain and third baseman, is batting a team-high .337 with 11 doubles and 21 RBI. Wormwood, a first baseman, is hitting .327 and earlier this season set school records for home runs in a game (2), season (7) and career (11). Anderson, the starting shortstop, is batting .336 with 12 extra-base hits and 21 RBI.
PSC's pitching rotation features senior Amanda Murphy (Canton, CT) and junior Jen Moulton (Bow, NH). Murphy (3-8, 3.85 ERA) owns a half dozen career records at PSC, and tossed her first no-hitter earlier this season. Moulton (6-8, 2.81 ERA) set the single season marks this year for strikeouts (55), and led PSC this spring in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
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