EMORY, Va. - The Emory & Henry College Softball Team finished the regular season with 15 wins. Its seven conference victories solidified a spot in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament for the third year in a row.
With the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, the Wasps see five seniors complete their time in the program, all of whom made major contributions. Two of the five seniors anchored the pitching staff. Taylor Banner led E&H in innings pitched (117.1), wins (8), and complete games (4). On March 30, Banner tossed 10+ innings of shutout softball picking up two ODAC wins over Guilford College. She finished her career with 24 wins, 99 strikeouts, and ranks in Emory & Henry's top 10 in many pitching categories. Kaitlyn Pruitt pitched 94.1 innings with a team-high 47 strikeouts. Pruitt led the ODAC with four saves, a mark which is also ninth in the country.
At the plate and in the field, three other seniors saw their way into Emory & Henry's record books. Hannah Bays made history in the team's last game of the regular season. Hosting Shenandoah University on Senior Day, Bays hit two home runs in game two, including the run-rule, walk-off. The first round-tripper of the game gave her the record for most home runs in a career for a Wasp. Bays was awarded ODAC Player of the Week for her accomplishments that week and completed her career with 24 home runs.
Taylor Doss also completed her record-breaking career with the Wasps this season. As a four-year starter at first base, Doss hit .305 with 15 home runs and 86 RBI. Doss also shattered the career record for putouts with 1,042, besting the previous record of 870. Both Bays and Doss earned their way into the career top 10 list at Emory & Henry in several other offensive categories.
Alyssa Clark was a defensive sensation from the shortstop position. She broke the school record for assists in a season with 129 - leading the ODAC in the category - and batted .286 with a .348 OBP in conference games. Clark, Doss, and company also helped lead Emory & Henry to break another school record, turning 22 double plays over the course of the year.
The announcement of postseason awards saw sophomore Caley Hodge selected to the All-ODAC First Team as a designated player. Hodge led the team in batting average (.395), hits (47), home runs (seven), and RBI (37). She was named ODAC Player of the Week after batting .667 with a .750 on-base percentage across a six-game stretch in early April.
Junior second baseman Riley Pudney hit .268 for the Wasps and led the team in doubles with 10. She was called on to pitch for the first time in her career as well and started seven games, earning two wins including a complete game two-hitter against Penn College and an ODAC victory over Bridgewater College. Sophomore Leah Elswick also saw time in the circle and notched a 2-1 record in 14.1 innings of work. At the plate, Elswick totaled 10 extra-base hits, including a team- and ODAC-leading five triples, and also stole five bases. Sophomore Danielle Loving hit .317 with four home runs, 20 RBI, and six stolen bases while Ragan Halsey returned to action, amassing 19 hits, a home run, nine RBI, and posting 84 assists from her third-base position.
Following an injury to junior catcher Jordan Chrisley, Amanda Whitlow and Bailey Williams split time behind the plate. Whitlow impressed with her arm, throwing out nine base runners while Williams' savvy behind the dish was key for Wasp pitchers. Additionally several freshmen stepped up for the Wasps. Erin Anderson hit .360, scoring seven runs and driving in eight, while Madison McClanahan showed off her power, hitting three home runs in just 21 plate appearances.
The experience gained this season by the team's younger players will be key to the future. The seniors depart after establishing the program as a contender in the ODAC. E&H will continue to push forward in the league as it continues its goal of winning a championship.