Otahkians look for strong finish; OVC tournament up next

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Southeast Missouri State University's softball season has fallen far short of expectations.

But Otahkians coach Lana Richmond said it's not through a lack of effort by her seven seniors, who will close out their home careers today at 1 p.m. against Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee-Martin (23-28, 11-7 OVC).

The first game of the doubleheader will be an OVC contest while the second will be a non-conference game. Today will close out the regular season for the Otahkians (12-24, 9-11), who will compete in the OVC Tournament next week.

Southeast's seniors are catcher Jennifer Cobin, outfielder Shelley Conroy, outfielder Courtney Eklund, first baseman Reagan Hamlin, pitcher Kristen King, second baseman Emmy Kisaka and shortstop Dawn Piantino. They will be honored in a ceremony between games today.

"Our seniors have all had really good careers for us and a lot of them are having very good seasons," Richmond said. "Senior Day is always important. It's a special day for the seniors."

While four of the seniors have played two seasons for Southeast after transferring in from junior college, Eklund, Kisaka and Piantino have all been four-year squad members and all contributed as freshman on the Otahkians' 1999 NCAA Tournament team. Kisaka and Eklund were starters for much of that year.

"They came in as freshman and helped us get to the NCAA Tournament," Richmond said.

Among full-time players, Cobin is the Otahkians' second-leading hitter (.301, followed by Piantino (.296), Eklund (.280) and Hamlin (.257).

Piantino and Hamlin are tied for the team lead in home runs (2), Hamlin leads in runs batted in (15), Piantino and Eklund are tied for first in doubles (9) and Piantino is second in RBIs (13).

King, while just 2-9, has the squad's second-best earned-run average at 2.97.

Noteworthy

  • The Otahkians are in fourth place in the eight-team OVC and will finish that way with either a win in today's first game or as long as Austin Peay does not sweep Eastern Illinois this weekend.

    The six-team conference tournament begins Friday at the home field of the regular-season champion, which will be either Eastern Kentucky or Tennessee Tech.

    mmishow@semissourian.com

    (573) 335-6611, extension 132

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