Head Coach Kathy Riley knew she had an uphill battle coming off 37-13 campaign in 2011 which should have resulted in an NCAA tournament birth. The 2012 version of the Lancers featured seven freshman, three sophomores, and just seven upperclassmen. Also, star pitcher Briana Wells had graduated, a huge part of the Lancers in ’11.
Riley’s squad played well right out of the gate this year, winning the Georgia State First Pitch Classic and starting the season by winning seven of their first eight. The Lancers also started the year winning their first ten home games before finally falling to Binghampton 2-0 on March 11. All in all the team posted a 29-26 record, including a 19-5 home mark. After a good run in mid-March the Lancers ran into one of the country’s best teams in Alabama. The beginning of the Alabama tournament marked a 22 game stretch where the Lancers would fall 16 times and win just 6 times.
The Lancers did finish strong though as they march into the Big South in 2013, winning three out of their last four games including a victory over future Big South opponent Liberty. Longwood should be one of the strongest programs and an instant contender in the Big South next year.
Individually the Lancers flexed some impressive power numbers, the team as a whole had 41 home runs with Megan Baltzell, Brooke Short, and Jordan Cox accounting for 27 of those home runs. Those three Lancers also tied for the team lead in RBI with 35 each. Baltzell lead the squad in batting average by hitting .344. The best news is all three players will likely be returning next year.
On the mound both Short (6-3) and Ashley Cornell (10-9) posted winning records. Cornell posted a team low ERA of 3.26, while Libby Morris led the team in strikeouts with 77. The full pitching staff is also set to return in 2013.
A winning record isn’t bad for a “rebuilding” squad and the future is very bright for the Lancers as they venture into the Big South.