Archers softball dominates South Carolina swing, wins seven straight
If the first month of games serves as any indication of the year ahead, 2016 serves to be a promising spring for the Archers softball team.
STLCC is off to an 8-4 start, fueled by a seven-game winning streak that saw the Archers dominate an eight-game swing through Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The seven-game streak was led by an offense that is led by freshman outfielder Madison Sundling and sophomore shortstop Kelsey Brodbeck. Sundling, who finished the week as a nominee for the NJCAA player of the week, and Brodbeck, who carries a .561 average and 15 steals into this week, headline a lineup that is collectively hitting .337 through 12 games.
“We’ve had a really solid lineup right now, and I think everybody plays off of their own strengths and it works out well for us,” Sundling said.
Brodbeck, who is coming off a freshman year that saw her bat .423 with 51 runs scored and a team-best 32 stolen bases, is off to an even better start to her sophomore campaign.
“I think I’ve just listened to my coaches and made some adjustments,” Brodbeck said. “I changed a few things after the fall, and things are really starting to come together.”
Offense hasn’t been the only thing driving the team’s success. The Archers have also received a string of stout performances in the circle, led by sophomore pitchers Tiffany Link, Katie Brinegar, Courtney Norris and Kayla McMahon. Link, who leads the Archers with 32 2/3 innings over six appearances, has hurled a complete game in each of her five starts, and carries a 4-2 record into next week’s action. Norris is 1-2 overall, but posted her best start of the year by limiting Mohawk Valley Community College to one earned run in a complete-game victory on Monday.
“As a group, we all just click,” said Brinegar, who has posted a 2.94 ERA and is unbeaten in five appearances (two starts). “(Winning) boosts our confidence a lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2-1 or 10-4, we have the mindset that we expect to win that game.”
In the early going, that’s exactly what the Archers have done. Led athletic director and interim head coach Shawn Summe, STLCC has displayed the ability to win games in a variety of ways. Of their eight wins, five have come by four runs or more, and two were one-run affairs, including a 4-3, 10-inning victory over Onondaga Community College during the team’s final day of a four-day visit to Myrtle Beach.
An early-season trip out of town can serve as a boost of camaraderie in any season, but the initial success has only fueled that further.
“I think it’s huge for players to get to know each other, to get to build a relationship with your teammates early on,” Summe said. “From a communication standpoint, it’s a big deal. We’re looking ahead to being a better team at the end of the year, and we’re just taking the mindset of being a better team each day.”
The early returns suggest the mindset has taken effect.
The Archers return to action on Monday, when they host a doubleheader against East Central College. First pitch is at 2 pm.