Four NCAA Div. III championships
PELLA — Central College closed the 2012 season at No. 9 in the NFCA Division III softball coaches’ poll.
The Dutch posted a 36-10 mark, winning the Iowa Conference tournament and finishing fourth in the NCAA Division III Pella, Iowa Regional. It was the 24th NCAA tournament appearance for the Dutch under coach George Wares, the winningest coach in Division III history with a 945-313-3 (.750) record over 28 seasons.
NCAA champion Pacific Lutheran (45-11) was ranked first, Iowa Conference rival Luther College (41-9) was fifth while Coe College (36-13) was 20th.
In the final season NCAA Division III statistical rankings, the Dutch led the nation with 127 stolen bases while giving up just 17. They were fifth out of 402 schools in stolen bases per game with 2.76.
Central tied for first in double plays with a school-record 25 and was fifth in double plays per game with 0.54. The Dutch pitching staff was 19th in earned run average (1.71) and won-loss percentage (.783) while Central was 23rd in fielding percentage (.966) and 42nd in batting average (.333).
Individually, catcher Kyrie Hale (senior, Lee’s Summit, Mo., West HS) was third in Division III in sacrifice flies with six. Pitcher Brie Haycraft (sophomore, Eldridge, North Scott HS) was 10th in saves (4) while pitcher Rhianna Fleetwood (junior, Sycamore, Ill.) was 16th in in ERA (1.26). Shortstop Annie Sarcone (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) was 43rd in home runs (9) and 55th in RBIs per game (1.0).