Two Aggies Earn All-MEAC Honors, Tourney Begins
The North Carolina A&T softball team will start play in the 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Softball Tournament 1:30 p.m. Thursday against Delaware State in Ormond Beach, Fla. The Aggies have made the tournament each year since 2011. The Aggies have never won a MEAC tournament and their last trip to the championship game was in 2010 against Bethune-Cookman. The Aggies are the No. 3 seed out of the South, while the Hornets are the No. 2 seed out of the North.
#2 North Seed Delaware State (17-27, 13-5 MEAC) vs. #3 South Seed N.C. A&T (16-28-1, 8-7 MEAC)
Date: May 10, 2017
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Facility: Ormond Beach Sports Complex
Series: The Aggies are 2-5 against Delaware State in the tournament since 2007
North Carolina A&T heads into the tournament by having two players occupying three spots on the All-MEAC third-team. Zadaisha Waddell earned third team honors as a pitcher and a utility player. Catcher Nathaly Pacheco made the team as a catcher. Waddell has been when the Aggies have been successful this season. Waddell is hitting .513 with six doubles in the games the Aggies have won this season. In the circle, she has a 1.91 ERA in Aggie wins with 51 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings pitched. Pacheco, a junior college transfer, has been solid behind the plate for N.C. A&T. She has thrown out 14 base runners trying to steal and has made only nine errors in 307 chances. At the plate, Pacheco is hitting .276 with 10 RBI and 14 runs scored. Another key player for the Aggies is first baseman Kimberly Brunson who is hitting .326 with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and 24 RBI. She leads the team in RBI.
The Hornets enter the tournament on a three-game losing streak. But they have won their last five MEAC games. They had four players named All-MEAC. Catcher Desiree Moreno and third baseman Danielle Velez made second-team all-conference while second baseman Jasmine Melgoza and outfielder Mika Lumsden were third-team selections. Moreno leads the league in doubles (12) and is fifth in slugging percentage (.545). Velez is also one of the top doubles hitter in the MEAC. Her 10 doubles rank her fifth in the conference. The Hornets (53) lead the league in doubles and are third in batting average (.264). The Hornets are, however, seventh in the MEAC in pitching with a team 4.66 ERA.
N.C. A&T: Waddell (9-13, 3.49 ERA) has been the Aggies lead pitcher the past two seasons. She has three shutouts this season and pitched complete games 12 times. In her last four starts she has a 1.83 ERA. Mohagony Headen (7-15, 4.72 ERA) is coming off her best start of the season. She pitched a complete-game shutout, where she only gave up four hits and struck out six. Headen has also proven to be effective in relief with two saves this season.
Delaware State: Hannah Shields (8-10, 4.01 ERA) leads the Hornets in appearances (29) and starts (14). She had a 7-0 shutout win over Norfolk State and a 1-0 win over Drexel. Jessica Shalongo (3-5, 4.07 ERA) Shalongo's last win came in a 4-2 win over Drexel on April 4.
N.C. A&T's Zadia Davis is 10-for-17 at the plate in her last five games with five runs scored. She is on a five-game hitting streak and has hit safely in eight of her last nine games.
Nathaly Pacheco has reached base in her last nine games. In that span, she is 7-for-22 (.318) at the plate with two RBI and five walks.
Waddell has reached base in eight straight games. She is 7-for-21 in her last eight with five RBI and three doubles.