LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Coming off back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history, the Covenant softball team aims for continued success on the diamond in 2019 under first-year head coach Brie Carmack.
The Scots open 2019 at home with a doubleheader against region power Berry on Saturday, Feb. 9. Game one is set for 12 p.m.
Covenant has collected 45 wins over the last two seasons and advanced through the first rounds of the USA South Tournament for the first time last season.
A change at the top as Carmack takes over the program has the program primed for more success. Carmack, an assistant coach at Covenant in the 2015 season, returns to Lookout Mountain after stops at NCAA Division I members Bucknell and Southeast Missouri.
Covenant's roster features six starting position players and two starting pitchers coming back. In all, Carmack's first team has 17 players returning from last season.
Sophomore Faith Manning and senior Carlin Labuzan are the two top returning hitters for the Scots. Manning had a strong rookie season as she batted .316 with 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored, while Labuzan hit an even. 300 with 13 RBIs and 10 runs. Junior Erika Mast was fourth on the team with 14 RBIs and hit .289, while patrolling center field for the Scots.
Senior Madalyn Ames and junior Madyson Gibbins add speed to the lineup as Gibbins led the Scots with 10 steals a season ago. Sophomore Jada Allmon hit .375 in conference play and earned All-USA South West Division second team honors
Pitching and defense were key in last season's run and could be a difference maker again this year. As a team, Covenant produced the fourth-best fielding percentage in program history last year (.951) led by now-junior Shelby Ralston and her perfect 1.000 percentage at both first base and the outfield.
In the circle, senior Carsyn Stone and junior Sarah Huskey are both coming off strong seasons. Stone won six games and sported an ERA of 2.52 in 77.2 innings. Huskey led the team in wins (seven), ERA (2.42), innings pitched (78.0), and opponent batting average (.263) to anchor the staff.
The Scots will open the season with four home games (against Berry and Birmingham Southern) before hitting the road for the rest of the month of February. Covenant will play 18 games at home, concluding with what could be a key USA South doubleheader against Huntingdon on April 13 to finish the regular season.
Covenant will also host USA South foes LaGrange (March 23) and Piedmont (April 2) for doubleheaders that could shape the West Division race and conference tournament seeding. A road doubleheader at Maryville (April 9) completes the road schedule.
In non-conference play, the Scots bring to the Mountain both Berry and Birmingham Southern early in the year. In mid-March, perennial region, and national, power Emory visits Covenant. Though it will not count towards league standings, USA South member Pfeiffer comes to Lookout Mountain for the first time on March 2.
The top six teams in the West Division qualify for the USA South Tournament, which begins April 19-20 with a first round, best-of-3 series. The top three seeds host the first round series. The winners advance to the double elimination part of the tournament beginning on April 26 in LaGrange, Ga.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS
Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive text alerts with score updates or e-newsletters, click here