TUESDAY, MAY 05, 2009
Softball opens Atlantic Sun Tournament on Thursday
The JU softball team get its first taste of postseason play in four years when they head to DeLand, Fla. for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament starting on Thursday.

The No. 4 seed Dolphins (24-29, 7-13 A-Sun) kick off the double-elimination tournament against No. 3 seed Mercer (37-17, 14-6) at 9 a.m.

JU, who reaches its first tournament since 2005, is one of six teams battling for the A-Sun title and automatic bid into the NCAA regionals.

“We have worked all year for these next few days,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “The team is ready and anxious to get down to DeLand. We have been the underdogs all year, we like that role, and plan on making some noise in the tournament. We all know that anything can happen at tournament time.”

The Dolphins enter the tournament having won four of their last six games to close out the season.

On April 29, junior Ashley Iveson and freshman Sarah Sigrest put together solid pitching performances to lift JU to a 1-0 win over Bethune-Cookman in the regular-season finale.

Iveson fanned five batters in four shutout innings, while Sigrest added three perfect frames to get the save and secure the win.

Sophomore Katie Kelly continues to pace the Dolphins’ offense with a .327 batting average (54-165) and a .406 on-base percentage. She has a team-best 10 doubles and 30 runs scored to go along with 14 RBI.

Sigrest tops the pitching staff with 12 wins, a 2.23 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 178.2 innings of works. Most of all pitching totals from this year currently rank in the top three of the program’s single-season program records.

The Bears head to the tournament following a doubleheader split against Samford on April 30. Prior to the split, Mercer closed out the A-Sun schedule winning six of its final seven contests.

Less than three weeks ago, the Dolphins split a doubleheader with the Bears at the JU Softball Complex on April 10.

The Bears earned a 3-0 game one victory after scoring all of their runs with two outs in the fifth inning, while Jeni Holtz limited the Dolphins to two hits and recorded six strikeouts to get the compete-game shutout.

In game two, the Dolphins plated four runs off four Bears’ errors in the second inning en route to a 5-1 victory. Sigrest allowed one run on five hits in seven innings to earn the win in the circle.

All of the games for the tournament can be seen on A-Sun.TV or viewed through live stats by logging onto atlanticsun.org.