Lady Dragons ready to begin postseason play

The Warren softball team hasn’t been shy about their expectations this season.

From the moment after last year’s 3-1 District 10 title game loss to Slippery Rock, their goal has been to get back and win it.

After the regular season they’ve had, it would be foolish to bet against them.

Since losing their opener to McDowell, the Lady Dragons have rattled off 16 consecutive wins. But it’s more than just the wins, it’s the way they’ve done it. Going into the postseason, they have outscored their opponents 147-18.

They are experienced, they are talented, and they are hungry to get started what they hope to be a lengthy postseason run when they play Hickory today (5 p.m.) at Penn State Behrend.

It starts with pitcher Ellie Lobdell, who, both on the mound and at the plate, has put together one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory. She enters the playoffs with a 0.67 ERA, including four no-hitters and 158 strikeouts compared to just 24 walks. At the plate, she is hitting a team-leading .509 with 19 extra-base hits, including nine home runs and a team-best 27 RBI.

Senior Kiersten Hoffman is second on the team in hitting at .481, while Gracie Wood, Lex Nyquist, and Kelsey Stuart are all hitting over .400.

That’s not to mention seniors Celia Chase and Julia Lobdell, as well as junior Grace Wortman, who have put together strong seasons of their own.

They will be facing a Hickory team that comes in with a record of 6-9.

The Hornets have three pitchers that have logged at least 19 innings pitched this season, led by senior Autumn Black, who comes into the contest with a 2.45 ERA in 45 2/3 innings.

Black is also their best offensive player, hitting .490 this season with nine doubles and a pair of home runs. Fellow senior Morgan Huey (.400, 5 doubles) and sophomore Sarah Cardamon (.431, 25 RBI, 4 doubles, 2 home runs) make up the heart of the Hornets’ lineup.

The winner advances to play the winner of the Conneaut-Harbor Creek game in the semifinals on Thursday. The other quarterfinal matchup pits General McLane against Franklin, with the winner to play Grove City, which received a bye because of an opt-out.

“We are focused on Monday’s game and only Monday’s game,” said Warren coach Jon Sitler. “Focused on being aggressive, and playing our game… picking each other up in every way possible.”