NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The first NCAA Division I softball RPI has been released and the Lipscomb Lady Bisons are ranked 47th.
Only Tennessee, rated 24th, is higher among teams in the state.
“We have definitely shown this season that we are a team that can compete at the highest level,” Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “We have won some key games we have needed to win. I don’t think we have hurt ourselves that much with any bad losses.
“There are certainly some we would rather have back. For the most part we are winning the games we should win and that is half the battle with rankings and RPIs and putting yourself into position for postseason.”
The Lady Bisons are 21-7. They play Western Kentucky, 18-13, in a doubleheader starting Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. They open ASUN Conference play Saturday and Sunday at USC Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“It is about winning the games you are supposed to win and occasionally upset somebody you aren’t supposed to win against,” Ryman said. “Our goal is to put ourselves into a position to win games like that.
“A lot of the mid-majors we have played this year are pretty good. We haven’t played a ton of easy teams. We are being rewarded for what we have done so far.”
Kennesaw State at 46th, is the highest rated ASUN Conference team.
“Kennesaw has some good wins,” Ryman said. “They are hitting the ball really well. They have a way of putting a lot of pressure on a defense. They have the speed kids. They have power in the middle of the order. They pitch well.”
Three other ASUN teams are in the top 100 – USC Upstate (78th, FGCU (91st) and North Florida (94th).
Stetson is 109th. Jacksonville rounds out the conference at 149.
“I think it speaks volumes for the conference that everyone is in the top 150,” Ryman said. “We say every year we want to schedule tough as a conference and get some signature wins as a conference.
“We want to make each other better. We want to be really good as a conference top to bottom. It is going to be a year when no one team is going to dominate the entire field.”
Upstate has strong hitting and even stronger pitching. Kennesaw State does everything well.
“Then you have us,” Ryman said. “We have been a `steady Eddie’ team where we are finding ways to win and we are getting good pitching out of Mandy Jordan and McCarley Thomas.
“It is one of those years where we going to beat each other up in a sense. Everyone is going to be in a good position from an RPI standpoint because of where we all started.”
Ryman explains her team takes an even-keeled approach to games and she wants them to react in a similar way to this first RPI report.
“We don’t want them celebrating and shouting from the rooftops,” Ryman said. “At the end of the day, with one or two slip-ups, things can change very quickly.
“There is still a lot of work to be done. I am very proud of this group.”