Phoenix Leads The Field into 2014 HL Softball Tournament
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – After capturing its first regular season Horizon League championship in program history, the Green Bay softball team will look to take home the conference tournament title as the top seed starting on Wednesday.
Finishing the regular season with an overall record of 24-12 and an 11-5 mark in the Horizon League, the Phoenix captured its first ever conference regular season title in program history after taking two of three games over Valparaiso this past weekend. It also secured the No. 1 seed in the tourney, which will be hosted by Wright State May 7-10.
The squad is seeking its second HL Tournament title after winning it all in 2005 and advancing to the NCAA Softball Tournament.
GreenBayPhoenix.com caught up with seniors Shannon Butts (Greenfield, Wis.) and Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.) and head coach Jean Rivett to talk about the excitement around winning the regular season title and the upcoming tournament.
Green Bay will face the winner of No. 4 Youngstown State vs. No. 5 Cleveland State on Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the double-elimination tourney. The tournament runs through Saturday, with the champion earning the Horizon League’s automatic berth to the NCAA Softball Tournament. All games will be shown live on the Horizon League Network. Tickets are available for $20 for a tournament pass and $7 for a day pass and will be available at Nischwitz Stadium.
The Phoenix has won seven of its last eight contests heading into the tournament, most recently taking two out of three from Valparaiso this past weekend.
At the plate, senior Shannon Butts (Greenfield, Wis.) leads the Phoenix hitting .382 while sophomore Marissa Michalkiewicz (Appleton, Wis.) follows at .358 with a team-best 33 RBI and 43 hits. Senior Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.) currently has a 21-game reached safely streak and also leads the team with 11 doubles.
In the circle, the Phoenix has the best staff ERA in the conference at 2.43 while holding opponents to just 49 runs in 36 games. The staff also stands in second striking out 94 batters. Individually, sophomore Briana Cavin (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) is tops on the team and in the conference with a 1.70 ERA, while senior Ashley Nannemann (Burlington, Wis.) is third at 2.37.
No. 4 Youngstown State is 29-22 overall and posted an 11-8 mark in Horizon League action. The Phoenix and Penguins met earlier this season in Green Bay, with the Phoenix taking two of three games.
No. 5 Cleveland State is 24-18 overall and finished 8-8 in the conference. Earlier this season the Vikings took two of three from the Phoenix in Cleveland.
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