Quaker Softball Experienced Up-and-Down Season

Guilford gathers after defeating top-ranked Virginia Wesleyan in Friday's ODAC Tournament opener. (Gary Blankenship photo)
Guilford gathers after defeating top-ranked Virginia Wesleyan in Friday's ODAC Tournament opener. (Gary Blankenship photo)

Looking to beat or match the record-breaking 30-win season of 2017, the Guilford College softball team got off to a hot start. The Quakers began the season with a 6-1 record. In the end, GC ended with an 18-24 mark and a 5-13 record in Old Dominion Athletic Conference games.

The team, however, had numerous team and individual achievements. The Quakers set a new program benchmark with 36 home runs. On defense, the team set a new mark by turning 24 double plays.

Guilford earned the eighth seed to the ODAC Tournament, which set up a meeting with Virginia Wesleyan--the nation's top-ranked team. Winning pitcher Courtney Lackey's eighth-inning RBI single scored the go-ahead run in Guilford College's 5-1 upset of top-ranked VWU. Lackey shut down the defending NCAA Division III champions.

Guilford's Makayla Crawford followed Lackey's go-ahead hit with a three-run home run, which provided the final margin and marked the junior's school-record 12th homer of the season. The victory marked the Quakers' first over a top-ranked softball opponent. GC was eliminated from the tournament the following day. The Marlins would go on to win their second straight NCAA Division III Championship.

As for individual accolades, Makayla Carver became Guilford College's initial back-to-back First Team All-ODAC softball honoree. Carver, a junior outfielder, was one of the Quakers' four all-league picks according to voting by the league's head softball coaches. Classmates Makayla Crawford, Anna Wolfe, and Savannah Yale were third-team selections. Guilford's four All-ODAC honorees rank second in school history.

Carver became the Quakers' fourth three-time all-league selection after batting a league-high .514 overall with six homers, 24 runs batted in (RBI), 13 stolen bases and 35 runs scored. She hit .426 in conference play with 20 hits and three doubles. Carver had 17 multiple-game hits on the season, including nine with three or more hits, and captured the league's ODAC Player of the Week Award early in the season. With only three errors in 34 games, she tallied a .955 fielding percentage. Her perfect 13-of-13 stolen bases was a Quaker benchmark.

Crawford, a catcher, ranked seventh in the ODAC with a .397 overall batting average and hit .296 in the league. She cranked out a school-record and league-leading 12 home runs. Crawford stood second in the league with 54 hits and fourth with 37 RBIs. Her five doubles in conference play also stand fifth in the league. She led the ODAC with 101 total bases on the year, and her .743 slugging percentage ranks second only to Carver. She only had two errors in 41 games for a .979 fielding percentage and threw out five would-be base-stealers in 19 attempts. Crawford had 15 multiple-hit games this year.

Wolfe, a third baseman, hit .289 with two doubles and five RBIs. Wolfe ranked fourth in the league with seven homers, seventh with 20 walks and 12th with 28 RBIs. She boasted the ODAC's seventh-ranked on-base percentage (.460) and slugging percentage (.610).

Yale, a second baseman, registered a .316 overall batting average. In conference games, she hit .324 with 11 hits, one home run, three doubles, and four RBIs. On the season, she tallied 25 hits, three home runs, five doubles, and 11 RBIs. Yale had only four errors in 31 games for a .959 fielding percentage.

In May, Crawford and Carver earned more recognition. Carver was a first-team NFCA All-Region pick and Crawford was named to the Atlantic Region second team. Carver then was picked as Guilford softball's second All-American in program history after being selected to NFCA Third Team honors.

Haley Green, Lackey and Darby Kozan finished their Guilford careers in 2018. Coach Dennis Shores may return as many as 24 letter winners next year, including Carver, Crawford, Wolfe, and Yale.