The UTC softball team is currently in fourth place in the Southern Conference standings. The Mocs have six regular season games remaining beginning with a three game series in Johnson City against ETSU this weekend. Coach Frank Reed's squad got off to a blistering start this season, winning thirteen of the first fourteen games they played. Since league play began on March 23rd, UTC has gone 7-5, with three of those losses being by one run. When you consider the Mocs have the best pitching staff, with the lowest ERA in the league as well as five of the top ten hitters in the SoCon, it's hard to understand why they have five losses.
Coach Reed and I talked at length about the way things had gone last week at Frost Stadium, where UTC completed a three game sweep at home in league play over Western Carolina.
That streak of bad luck in the middle of the season wasn't going to deter his team in any way. " We can still win this thing, but we have to win 'em all the rest of the way to have a chance. We'll have to have some help but the league tournament is most important anyway because the winner goes to the NCAA Tournament. "
That's especially true since the Mocs host first place Samford in the regular season finale next week. If the Mocs fall short in the chase for the regular season title, the good news is, they host the 2019 SoCon Tournament at Frost Stadium beginning May 8th.
My conversation with Coach Reed came on Good Friday, when I dusted off my headset and filled in for Chris Goforth on ESPN 3's telecast of game three in the series with Western Carolina. The Mocs were impressive with pitcher Celie Hudson tossing fourteen consecutive scoreless innings, wining games two and three.
There is no doubt this is his best team in several years and I was very impressed with everything they did against the Catamounts. Have they dug a hole that's too deep to climb out of to win the regular season crown? Perhaps but don't count them out just yet.
They play good defense to go along with all the hitting they have. Their 6-0 victory over the Catamounts last Friday was about as complete as you can get. Hudson was impressive on the mound, and Alyssa Coppinger and Haile Williamson each homered in the game as well. Of course pitching is the key and they seem to have plenty of that. If you haven't made plans to attend the Southern Conference Tournament next month, you need to do so. The Mocs are good and they seem to be peaking at just the right time.
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org