• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Gravens named National Softball Player of the Week

KELSEY GRAVENS, a junior on the Midway University softball team, was named both the River States Conference Softball Player of the Week and the NAIA National Softball Player of the Week for her performances on the field the week of March 27 to April 2. (Photo courtesy of Midway Athletics)

On Tuesday, April 4, the Midway University softball team’s junior catcher, Kelsey Gravens, was named the NAIA National Softball Player of the Week based on her performances the week of March 27 to April 2. For Gravens, it was her first career NAIA National Player of the Week honor. In addition, she was also named River States Conference Softball Player of the Week for the second time this season. Gravens earned the awards by helping lead the Eagles to a perfect 6-0 record last week with doubleheader sweeps over Alice Lloyd (Ky.), Carlow (Pa.) and Point Park (Pa.). In the six games, she had a .500 batting average and a 1.300 slugging percentage. In that six-game stretch, she went 10-for-20 at the plate with four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs, while scoring seven times. She averaged 1.7 hits per game in 3.3 at bats per game, while adding 1.2 doubles per game over the week. Not only does Gravens’s numbers rank among the best at the conference level, but also at the national level. She is sixth in total bases per game (2.917) and ninth in doubles per game (.500). In addition, she also ranks 12th in slugging percentage (.875), 20th in home runs per game (.292), 23rd in runs batted in per game (1.208), 29th in total doubles (12), 32nd in home runs (7) and 45th in total bases (70). Softball The Midway University softball team put its eight-game win streak on the line on Saturday, April 8, when the Eagles traveled to Poca, W.Va., for a doubleheader with River States Conference foe West Virginia Tech. The Eagles, who are 13-13 overall and 7-3 in RSC play, were able to run their win streak to nine after they won the first game 6-1, but they were unable to push it to 10 as the Golden Bears won the second game 4-3. In the first game, Midway scored single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings, while scoring three more runs in the fourth. West Virginia Tech got its run in the bottom of the seventh. Five different Eagles tallied two hits with Kelsey Gravens leading the way. Gravens hit a solo home run in the fifth, while junior Carly Benz and sophomore Missa Walker each had two hits and drove in one run each. Junior Kolbi Mitchell also scored two on a single in the fourth. With plenty of run support at her back, senior Tiffany Wickline put together another solid outing in the circle, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings of work, with five strikeouts. In the nightcap, the Eagles didn’t get the same offensive output as they did in the first game, getting single runs in the first, third and sixth innings on six hits. Gravens hit another home run when she crushed a solo shot in the first. Junior Katelynn Mogelberg-Kauffman and Wickline each collected two hits and an RBI. Gravens also added two runs scored, while freshman Trista Craigmyle scored off a Wickline fielder’s choice in the sixth. The Eagles held a 2-1 lead heading to the fifth, but WVU Tech hit a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning off Midway starter, sophomore Abby Flaig, who got the loss after allowing four runs on five hits in six innings of work. Baseball The Midway University baseball team scored its fifth River States Conference series victory on Saturday, April 8, after the Eagles swept a doubleheader with Asbury (Ky.) at Chandler Field. The Eagles, who are 22-16 overall and 19-5 in RSC play, used a 10-run fifth inning to walk away with a 10-5 victory in the first game, while they scored five runs in the fourth inning to get a 7-1 victory in the second game. The sweep on Saturday also assured the Eagles of a spot in the River States Conference Baseball Tournament, which will be held May 5 to 9 at V.A. Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio. In the opening game, Asbury got off to a hot start, scoring two runs on three hits in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. Then after being held in check for the first four innings, Midway’s offense exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth. In the inning, the Eagles batted around, sending 13 batters to the plate. Freshman Matthew Olson got it started with a two-run double, while junior Barrett Croslin crushed a three-run home run with runners at first and second. Midway also got an RBI single off the bat of senior Reid Battles, while the four other runs came around to score on three errors. At the end of the fifth inning, Midway held a 10-2 lead. Midway senior starter Hector Quinones ran into some trouble in the seventh inning and allowed three runs, but he got a strikeout to end the game and seal the 10-5 win. Quinones had six strikeouts, while allowing five runs – three earned – on eight hits in seven innings. In the second game, Midway scored a run in the first, five in the fourth and another in the sixth, while Asbury scored just one run in the fourth. Senior reliever Derek Jones took home the win. He allowed one run on one hit in one inning of work. Midway junior starter Conner Lindsay tossed three innings and allowed four hits. Junior Tyler Jones pitched two scoreless innings, while senior Jake McCoy struck out the side in the seventh. (Information courtesy of Dylan Brown/Midway Univ. Sports Information)

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