Kayme Gooden (pictured) was one of five TLU players to finish among the top 100 nationally in stolen bases per game.
(Seguin) – Texas Lutheran University Softball claimed the 2017 NCAA Division III team statistical national championship for stolen bases per game, the NCAA Media Coordination and Statistics Staff confirmed earlier this week.
TLU not only led all of NCAA Division III in stolen bases per game, but the team led all NCAA softball squads (DI, DII and DIIl) in the stolen bases per game category.
The Bulldogs finished the 2017 season with 4.39 stolen bases per game.
TLU finished more than a stolen base per game ahead of DIII stat runner-up Randolph-Macon (Va.) (3.20) and nearly had a one steal-per-game lead on DII national stat champion Benedict (S.C.) (3.52). The DI national stat champ, Marshall (W.V.), finished with 3.0 steals per game.
The Bulldogs, who finished the year at 38-6 overall, had 22 games with at least five team steals.
TLU won a fourth straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championship and a fourth consecutive SCAC Tournament title. The Bulldogs won a school-record 38 straight games and finished as the NCAA DIII Tyler Regional runner-up for the third time in four seasons.
The Bulldogs had season-highs of 10 stolen bases twice - against University of Dallas on April 8 and against Trinity University on April 15. In both games, the Bulldogs were a perfect 10-for-10.
TLU set new school and SCAC records for stolen bases in a season (193). The Bulldogs broke their own school and SCAC records for steals in a season, smashing the mark of 164 set in 2016.
The Bulldogs of 2017 stole 193 bases in 213 attempts, for a steal percentage of .906.
TLU put five players - Kirsten Whiteside, Kaymee Gooden, Lainey Hebert, Kyla Lockley and Courtney Mica - into the top 100 nationally in DIII for stolen bases per game.
Whiteside finished 30th in NCAA DIII with 0.75 steals per game (30 in 44 games). Gooden was 41st (0.70), and Hebert (0.69), Lockley (0.69) and Mica (0.56) claimed 47th, 48th and 82nd, respectively.
Gooden's 31 stolen bases in 2017 are the fourth-most for a single season in school history. Whiteside's 30 are the fifth-most. Lockley's 29 are tied for sixth all-time, and Hebert's 27 are No. 8 on the single-season list.
Gooden moved into third all-time for career stolen bases. In just two years, the Mart, Texas native stole 60 bases. Gooden was named the SCAC Co-Player of the Year in 2017 and the SCAC Newcomer of the Year in 2016.
Whiteside finished her four-year TLU Softball career at 55 stolen bases, good for sixth on the career steals list.
In addition to the steals per game national stat championship, TLU was well-represented throughout the Top 10 of the final team and individual stat rankings.
First baseman Kelsie McEachern led all of DIII in hit-by-pitch. She was hit an average of 0.51 per game - a total of 21 times in 41 games.
Other NCAA DIII Top 10 team and individual stat rankings for TLU included:
- 6th in Team On Base Percentage (.431)
- 10th in Scoring (6.93)
- 4th in Shutouts (20)
- 5th in WL Percentage (.864)
- 4th in Individual Hits Allowed Per Seven Innings (Maitlin Raycroft, 3.09)
- 2nd in Individual Shutouts (Maitlin Raycroft, 14)
- 6th in Individual Strikeouts (Maitlin Raycroft, 219)
- 4th in Individual Strikeouts Per Seven Innings (Maitlin Raycroft, 10.9)
Raycroft, the new national record-holder for no-hitters tossed in a season, finished the year with a record of 21-3. She hurled eight no-hitters (including one perfect game) and set the new school mark for wins, at 21. The eight no-hitters smashed the DIII record and came within one of catching the all-division mark of nine, set by Cal's Michele Granger.
The TLU Female Student-Athlete of the Year and the SCAC Pithcer and Newcomer of the Year, Raycroft finished the year with a school-record 219 strikeouts in 140-2/3 innings. She walked only 28, and opponents hit just .128 against her. Her final ERA was 1.29.
Raycroft was named a Second Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and a First Team All-American by Fastpitch News.
Fellow pitcher Amanda Lochte was named the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for NCAA DIII Softball. Lochte also was named the SCAC Woman of the Year and a First Team Academic All-American. She is a candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year and for CoSIDA DIII Academic All-American of the Year (for all sports).