Lipscomb enjoying breakout softball season
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29, 2008

By Matt Wilson/Nashville City Paper - Two years ago, in Kristin Peck's first year as coach, the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team didn't even make the conference tournament.

It's safe to say she's turned things around now.

The Lady Bisons have earned the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament coming up next weekend and are 16-6 in the conference.

But Peck, a former Lady Bison herself, isn't necessarily shocked by the turnaround.

"Things have kind of been moving in that direction," Peck said. "We knew we had the ability... it was a matter of getting it done and stepping up. I think we've surprised other people."

Leading the way for the Lady Bisons has been a strong sophomore class. Sophomores Kellie Sirus and Abby Keese are leading the team in batting average. Sirus is hitting .389 and Keese is hitting .348. Alaina Jacobson, another sophomore, is Lipscomb's top pitcher at 11-4 with a 2.72 ERA.

It's this class Peck credits with boosting the Lady Bisons' competitive edge.

"Our sophomore class is very competitive," Peck said. "At times they've carried us. They're fun to be around, but when they get on the field they want to win."

The tipping point for Lipscomb this season came when the Lady Bisons beat East Tennessee State in the second half of a doubleheader thanks to Keese's 11th home run of the season. From there, Lipscomb won another 10 games in a row, including a two-game sweep of softball powerhouse Kennesaw State. Peck said it was during that streak that the team began to see itself as a championship contender.

"Once it started becoming a reality, they came at it that much harder," Peck said.

The heart of the batting order for the Lady Bisons has been getting it done. Sirus has seven home runs and Keese, a shortstop, has hit a team-leading 14 homers this season. Heather Collins, a senior, hits .295 and keeps opposing pitchers honest.

"She has the reputation of a big-time hitter," Peck said.

Lauren Dortwegt, a sophomore leadoff hitter, is batting .282 and has been the X-factor for the Lady Bisons. She leads the team in triples and stolen bases.

"If Lauren finds ways to get on base, we do well," Peck said.

Now the Lady Bisons are already focusing on the conference tournament, held May 8-10 in DeLand, Fla. "Heading into the tournament...we by no means are through the worst of it," Peck said. "There's not one team that sticks out from everybody else."

For Peck, who helped lead the Lady Bisons program to 122 wins as a player, this has been a sweet season.

"It's been a fun ride," Peck said. "It's been a quick learning process. I'm very competitive. It's fun to see that in the girls now. It means a lot to me."

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