Lady Bucs softball, 2005 season review
Lady Bucs softball, 2005 season review
Thursday, May 19, 2005

JOHNSON CITY, TENN. (May 19, 2005) -  The Southern Conference era for the East Tennessee State softball team has come to an end as the Lady Bucs will begin play in the highly competitive Atlantic Sun conference for the 2006 season.  The 2005 campaign was strong for the ETSU squad, finishing the SoCon regular season with a fourth-place seed heading into tournament play, two spots higher than the projected sixth-place finish in pre-season polls.


ETSU finished 2005 with a 25-33 overall record and a 10-9 Southern Conference slate.  Led by seniors Mary Beth Hazelwood (Knoxville, Tenn.), Lindsay Lane (Erwin, Tenn.) and Danielle Spetar (Knoxville, Tenn.), the Bucs captured wins over Atlantic 10 powerhouse Temple and ACC competitor Virginia, while sweeping SoCon rivals Elon and Appalachian State in conference action.


Junior leftfielder Janine Sprague (Hillsborough, N.C.) continued her outstanding collegiate career.  Named the 2005 Southern Conference Player of the Year, Sprague led the Bucs with a .358 batting average, 62 hits, seven doubles and six triples for the year.  In mid-May, Sprague was named to the South All-Region Second Team, the first time an ETSU softball player has received all-region recognition. 


The Lady Bucs pitching staff posted solid numbers this season from the mound.  Led by juniors Courtney Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Belinda Barrera (Fayetteville, N.C.), the Bucs tallied an overall 2.57 era, holding opponents to just a .258 overall batting average for the season.  Barrera led the squad with 151 strikeouts for the season, with a 2.63 era and finished the season with a 9-11 record.  With an overall 14-15 record, and new Lady Bucs record low 2.23 era, Jenkins was named to the 2005 Southern Conference second team.  In 34 appearances, she allowed just 154 hits in 157.0 innings pitched, while her 50 earned runs was a team-low in the every-day pitching rotation.


The Bucs were led by third-year head coach Amy Fuller, while she welcomed new assistant coach Blake Miller, volunteer assistant Renee Heitbrink and student assistant coach Sheryl Clark to guide the Bucs in 2005. 


After a solid performance in the Southern Conference regular season, ETSU traveled to Charleston, S.C. May 12th to begin play in the 2005 Southern Conference Championship Tournament at Patriots Point.  ETSU drew fifth-seeded Elon in first round action as the Bucs entered tournament play after a fourth place regular season finish.  Although ETSU took the series sweep during the regular season, the Phoenix captured the 4-2 victory in tournament play.  With the first-round loss, ETSU faced elimination as they took on the Furman Paladins who took the 4-3 win in the consolation bracket ending the Lady Bucs SoCon era. 


ETSU enters competition in 2006 playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference where they will face instate rivals Belmont and Lipscomb, as well as Stetson, Gardner-Webb and Mercer to name a few.  For updated schedules, game stories and coverage of all ETSU athletics teams, visit