NSU softball looks to improve
TNE Editor

NSU softball looks to improve

Published 10/2/17

Zach Cobler             

TNE Writer

The RiverHawks softball program ended their season last year earlier than wanted. The RiverHawks finished the season 23-28 and 11-15 in MIAA play. The RiverHawks did not make the MIAA postseason tournament.

While the RiverHawks may have ended their season earlier than they wanted, the RiverHawks did have their share of upsides last season. Last season, NSU had their first softball All-American. Along with this, they also had their all-time homerun leader, Paige Gann, senior first baseman from Muskogee.

Haley Acrey, junior third-basemen from Baytown, Texas, is the first softball All-American in school history. As a sophomore, Acrey batted .333 in 51 games. She led the team with 15 doubles and eight homeruns. She added 40 RBIs as well.

Paige Gann returns for her senior year looking to add to her school-record 33 homeruns. She has started 157 games for the RiverHawks. She batted .294 and added 100 RBIs over her three years at NSU. Gann also currently holds the single-season homerun record for the RiverHawks program.

While NSU has not lost a lot from last season, they did lose two big contributors to last year’s team in Carlee Gann, Muskogee freshman, and Ryan Martin, Beggs senior.  

Carlee Gann was a big offensive loss for the RiverHawks as she batted in seven homeruns and 26 RBIs. She left the team for personal reasons.

Martin was the biggest loss for the RiverHawks. She was a four-year letter winner for NSU who batted .262 over her time at NSU. She also had 20 homeruns and 79 RBIs.

“She’s a great leader and a great role model,” said Clay Davis, NSU softball head coach. “She was a great building block that we tried to build this program on. She is the one that we will miss seeing out there the most.”

The RiverHawks brought in a great recruiting class this season that centers around two pitchers, Gail Young, Collinsville freshman, and Sydney Balderrama, Tyler, Texas freshman.

“Both of these girls should compliment each other well,” said Davis. “Gail is a crafty left-handed pitcher where Sydney is more of a flame-throwing right hander.”

The RiverHawks will hope to use the strong foundation of players that they already have had along with the incoming freshmen to translate into on-the-field success.

“We are meshing well together already in the offseason,” said Jessica Boone, Supulpa senior.

“I am excited for this upcoming year.”

NSU looks to improve from the disappointing year as they work hard in the offseason. The RiverHawks have goals of reaching the MIAA tournament this season with aspirations of making it to the regional tournament.

“The team looks better at this point in the year than we did last year,” said Kaleigh Hinkle, Dewey senior. “We have had some newcomers this year that have stepped up, and I think that we will really be better than last year. I strive that we push ourselves and make it to the MIAA tournament this year and then push forward to the regional tournament.”

The RiverHawks open their season at 10 a.m., Feb. 2 in the Ronnie Hawkins Invitational in Arkadelphia, Ark.  

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