Cleveland State's baseball and softball teams are in the thick of gearing up for the post season District VII tournament.
Cleveland State softball just finished their regular season with a record of 23-20 (15-17). They finished with a 12-6 home record with a 9-13 away record. In 43 games the Lady Cougars scored 220 runs, held a .333 batting average, a .396 on base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage. The Lady Cougars finished the season 5th in the standings and will take on Motlow State in the first round. Cleveland State took on Motlow in a single four game series during the regular season, losing 3 games out of the 4. The Lady Cougars are confident they can return the favor with this comment from Head Coach Katie Willingham, "We have been working for 8 months on Cougar softball and learning and trusting the process that it takes to win. We can't reflect on what we have done against other teams but rather what we have to do on our team to advance in the tournament."
The past week the Lady Cougars have been working diligently to make sure they're ready to go against Motlow State. Rather than work on one area of play they're choosing to look at the bigger picture, "When preparing for a tournament in this magnitude, focusing on one thing won't cut it. We feel that if we have an overall focus on the process and executing when needed, then we will be very successful against whoever we play this year." Said Head Coach Willingham.
Cleveland State's baseball team finished their regular season with a 36-17 (14-12) record. They finished with an impressive 20-7 home record with a 16-10 away record. In 53 games the Cougars scored 378 runs with a .324 batting average. They also held a .418 on base percentage and a .476 slugging percentage. The Cougars also finished 5th in the standings and will be facing Dyersburg State in the first round of the tournament. Cleveland State faced Dyersburg in a regular season three game series in which they lost two of three. The loss snapped a 12 game win streak that the Cougars were holding at the time. Head Coach Mike Policastro commented, "Dyersburg beat us two out of three. We did not play well in game 3. Dyersburg is a really good team and last year's tournament winner. We know we will have to play well against them to have a chance. I believe we will be ready; our guys have had a good year and are looking forward to the post season."
The Cougars are stressing the importance of properly managing their pitching situations. Head Coach Policastro said, "As with all tournaments a double elimination really taxes your pitching staff, with nine inning games each day if you have to get into the bullpen early as it really puts a burden on the whole pitching staff." They're also putting a focus on their defensive ability and the importance of bringing the bats to the park, "We will need to play good defense and limit opposing teams free bases that lead to big scoring innings. Offensively, we will need to have productive at bats throughout the entire line-up, said Policastro.
The NJCAA District VII Tournament will start on Monday, May 6th at Chattanooga State Community College. The Lady Cougars will face Motlow State on May 6th at 3:00 PM while the Cougars take on Dyersburg State at 10:00 AM.