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This Week in Fastpitch
It's Postseason Time Again!: Conference tournaments begin Friday, as the Peach Belt Tournament features six teams ranked in the NFCA Division II Top 25. Regular season champion North Florida will be challenged by 2002 national championship participant Kennesaw State as well as upstart squads from Georgia College and State University and Francis Marion. The winner will receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional. The PBC tourney is being played in Aiken, S.C. and will crown a champion on Sunday.
Speaking of Champions: Arizona freshman Autumn Champion had a huge week for the top-ranked Wildcats. In games against Stanford and California, Champion had a .455 batting average. The freshman leads Arizona with a .444 batting average, 42 runs and 67 hits.
Win No. 400: Florida Atlantic's Joan Joyce picked up career win No. 400 as the Lady Owls downed Georgia State 6-2 last week in Atlantic Sun Conference play in Atlanta. Joyce has led FAU to six consecutive A-Sun championships and four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the team led the nation with 62 wins and received its first no. 1 seed in NCAA Regional play. She has averaged 52 wins over the past five seasons and has had led the Lady Owls to winning seasons in each of the program's eight years.
She's 1/3 of the Way There: Florida State's JoAnne Graf passed yet another milestone with a recent 2-0 win over Central Florida. She became the first college coach to hit the 1,200-win mark. In her 25th year at the helm in Tallahassee, she is guaranteed her 25th consecutive winning season. The 14th-ranked Seminoles have won 16 consecutive games, and Graf is only 16 wins away from becoming the second coach to reach 1,000 fastpitch wins. No coach in NCAA history has more wins at one school than Graf's 984 fastpitch wins at Florida State.
Two Records in One Day: Hofstra shortstop Danielle Stewart had an unusual day on April 12. Stewart made Hofstra softball history by setting the school's single-season home run record with her 11th long ball of the year in the Pride's 7-2 win at Delaware. The very same day, Laura Gutscher tied a home run record that Stewart had set during her days at nearby Briarcliffe College. Gutscher hit her 20th career homer at the jnior college, which is located in Bethpage, N.Y.