May 14, 2013
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina softball wrapped up its 2013 season last week at the Southern Conference Championships held in Greensboro, N.C.
The Catamounts, entering as the No. 7 seed, opened the Southern Conference Championships by knocking off the No. 2 seeded College of Charleston, 3-1. It was the first time since 2009 that Western Carolina had won a game in the SoCon Championships.
Western Carolina ended its season after falling to Georgia Southern, 6-0, and Samford, 8-0 to be eliminated from the tournament. The Catamounts concluded with a record of 20-36.
A few Catamounts broke records or moved up in the Western Carolina record books during the season.
Most notably was sophomore pitcher Jordan Garrett, who rewrote the single-season strikeout record. Garrett ended the year with 223 strikeouts, snapping a record of 210 set by Mendy McKenzie in 2006. Garrett is now chasing the career strikeout record, currently with 370 in her two-year career and needs 13 to break the record set by McKenzie, who had 382 from 2006-07.
Staying with single-season records, junior outfielder Amelia Griffin tied the single-season stolen base record with 16 swipes in 2013. She tied with teammate Jordan Fulton who set the record in her freshman campaign in 2010.
Fulton, an outfielder from Winston-Salem, N.C., ended her four-year career holding on to first place for career stolen bases with 49. She is ranked second in the Catamount career record books with 193 hits, just two behind former Catamount Stephanie Beatty (2006-09) who ended her stellar career with 195. Fulton also ranked second in the record books for runs scored in a career with 100.
Fellow senior Haley Pace ended her career tied for second in the Western Carolina record books in RBI with 97, tied with Beatty. Former Catamount Lauren Ross (2006-09) continues to hold the record with 99.
Freshman first baseman Taylor Sigmon led the team in batting average for 2013 at .273. She was also tied for the lead with sophomore catcher Heather Chastain for homeruns with seven. Sigmon ranked second on the team in hits with 44, just behind Griffin who had 46. Sigmon also topped the team in RBI with 28.
As a team, Western Carolina hit a nice surge to close out the season. The Catamounts were 9-11 in their last 20 games and WCU won six of its overall nine conference games in that 20-game stretch. During the 20 games, the Catamounts garnered a Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week nod for freshman hurler Mallory Broome and a Player of the Week honor for Sigmon.
Two of the Catamounts seniors led the way in the final 20 games of the year with Fulton hitting .286, with 18 hits, and Amber Steinhardt following with a .255 batting average and 14 hits and seven RBI. The future looks bright for the Catamounts as the next two leaders in batting average during that stretch of games included Sigmon with a .246 batting average and 11 RBI followed by fellow freshman Karley Harkey with a .246.
Prior to the start of the Southern Conference Championships, the team held its annual awards banquet and handed out its team awards. The following awards were given:
Catamount Softball Player of the Year - Jordan Fulton
Catamount Softball Defensive Player of the Year / Catamount Award - Heather Chastain
Catamount Softball Offensive Player of the Year - Taylor Sigmon