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Colleges

St. Leo extends streak to 12 softball victories

By STEVE LEE
Published April 8, 2004

ST. LEO - The numbers don't lie, and the latest Saint Leo softball figures show the team has recovered from last season.

The Lions headed into Wednesday's game at Rollins with a season-high, 12-game win streak and 30 wins. That easily surpasses last season's 24-31 mark that included two three-game win streaks.

And at 30-15, 5-7 in the Sunshine State Conference, Saint Leo has at least 30 wins in seven of the past eight seasons.

"Last year we just didn't mesh," Saint Leo coach Christi Wade said. "This team just meshes. It's normal again."

A closer look at the statistics reveals more. Saint Leo's offense is coming around, evident by its 41-12 scoring advantage in its 12 straight wins.

And with seven shutouts in that stretch, pitchers and defenders are contributing.

The Lions have a .963 fielding average, and Katie Heintz and Heather Gamlin are a formidable 1-2 punch on the mound. Heintz is 17-7 with an 0.63 ERA, and Gamlin is 13-8 with a 1.65 ERA.

Last season Heintz went 11-12, Gamlin 10-15.

"I think our pitching is definitely solidified," Wade said. "Katie's become one of the dominant pitchers (in the conference) and Heather's gotten stronger. They're playing off each other now."

Heintz has 12 of the Lions' 14 shutouts and a team-leading 225 strikeouts. Twice this season the sophomore left-hander has been named SSC pitcher of the week.

"She's mastered her pitches really well," Wade said.

Denyve Duncan, the SSC freshman of the year, has rebounded from a sophomore slump and averages a team-high .385. That has helped the Lions average .260 compared to last season's .242.

"One of our team goals was to hit 50 points higher than last year," Wade said, noting the team average has dropped about five points in the past week.

19 AGAIN: The Saint Leo baseball team matched last season's victory total with Saturday's 11-8 win at Florida Tech. The Lions (19-14, 5-4) went 19-31 last season, finishing below .500 for the first time since 1993.

Saint Leo won two of three against Florida Tech in the weekend series, winning 2-1 Friday and losing 8-6 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.

The Lions also won two of three against Nova Southeastern on March 26-27, with Derrick McNeil (Land O'Lakes) being named SSC Player of the Week.

McNeil, a senior shortstop, struggled at the plate before that series. In those three games he hit .455 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBIs, and he scored five runs.

McNeil leads Saint Leo with eight home runs. He also averages .265 with nine doubles, 23 RBIs and 20 runs scored.

[Last modified April 8, 2004, 01:35:43]


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