The Piedmont College softball team has seen the fruits of its labor this week, as the Lady Lions moved up in the latest NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) National Poll, taking over the nation's eighth spot as announced earlier today.
With the poll's release, Piedmont moves up four spots after sitting 12th last week courtesy of a 6-0 showing that moves the Lady Lions now to 20-2 overall on the season and 10-0 in USA South action.
Piedmont is also currently in the midst of a 16-game winning streak that has seen the Lady Lions win ten of those in shortened run-rule fashion as PC has been dominant in that stretch. During its current winning streak, the Lady Lions have outscored the opposition an incredible 130 to 18 for an average margin of victory of seven runs per game.
PC started at No. 13 in the NFCA Preseason Poll released prior to the start of 2014 but slipped to No. 15 in the Week 1 poll after starting off 4-2 with a pair of losses to Brenau University, a team which is 19-3 on the season and ranked 19th in the nation in NAIA. In Week 2 of the NFCA poll, Piedmont moved up into a tie for 14th with Augustana of Illinois. Week 3 of the poll had the Lady Lions up another two spots to 12th before this week's poll had the Lady Lions make their biggest jump pushing them up to 8th.
Leading the nationally ranked Lady Lions is a bevy of youth mixed with NCAA Regional experience as seniors Brittney Head and Lauren Head have seen the youngsters all around them reminding folks around the program of a time five years ago when Head Coach Terry Martin started an infield made up completely of freshmen. With that class having graduated last year, Martin is at it again as the right side of his infield is made up of a pair of freshman while a sophomore holds down the hot corner and a junior plays short.
The team is led in hitting by a sophomore in Olivia Duncan who is hitting a video-game like .516 through the midway point on the season and leads the USA South in RBIs with her 23. However, Duncan is joined by another pair of Lady Lions each hitting .400 or better as outfielder Christine Mobley is swinging right at the mark while Allison Vaughn, who holds down the second base spot, is swinging .456 on the year.
In the circle, a veteran and a young gun hold down the fort as the senior Brittney Head has found her form not allowing more than two earned runs in her last six starts which have all come in the month of March. Head joins the youngster Jordin Ellingson, a sophomore for PC who is currently posting an ERA of 0.76, one sure to be amongst the nation's best when the first NCAA national statistical rankings come out this season though her numbers would place her in top ten in the final report of 2013.
The Lady Lions will get back on the field this weekend when PC visits North Carolina Wesleyan College on Friday afternoon for a USA South doubleheader set to start at 2 p.m.