FOREST– Ferrum College’s softball team (19-19) makes its inaugural appearance in this year’s Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) postseason tournament as the No. 7 seed.
Tournament play begins Friday in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem.
The Panthers, who completed regular-season play Saturday by defeating two-time reigning NCAA Division III national champion Virginia Wesleyan University in the second game of a league doubleheader in Virginia Beach, plays the No. 2 seed in their first game at 2 p.m.
Ferrum finished 8-12 in league play.
The Panthers split doubleheaders with Virginia Wesleyan, Randolph-Macon College, the University of Lynchburg , Guilford (North Carolina) College, Shenandoah University, Emory and Henry College and Randolph College, it swept Eastern Mennonite University and was swept by Bridgewater College and Roanoke College
Ferrum is 3-7 in its last 10 games.
Either Emory & Henry, last year’s tournament runner-up, or Lynchburg, which is nationally-ranked and a year removed from an appearance in the Division III tournament, will be seeded second.
The Wasps and the Hornets were scheduled to face off in a regular-season ending doubleheader Tuesday.
Emory & Henry entered the twinbill with a one-game lead over Lynchburg in the league standings, thus a sweep by Emory & Henry or a split gives it the No. 2 seed, while a sweep by Lynchburg gives it the No. 2 seed.
The No. 8 seed was decided Monday by the result – a split – of a league doubleheader between Eastern Mennonite and Roanoke.
The Maroons, coached by Ferrum alumnus and former Panthers baseball player Mike Mitchell, needed to sweep the doubleheader to earn the berth. Instead, Shenandoah University claims it based on its regular-season doubleheader sweep of the Maroons.
Roanoke and Shenandoah each finished 7-13 in league play.
Virginia Wesleyan (18-2 in the ODAC, 34-3 overall) is the No. 1 seed and enters the tournament ranked No. 1 nationally and as the ODAC’s three-time reigning champion. Virginia Wesleyan is 9-1 in its last 10 games.
Also earning tournament berths are Randolph-Macon (12-8 in the ODAC), Guilford (10-10 in the ODAC) and Bridgewater (10-10 in the ODAC).
The tournament begins Friday and runs through Sunday. The winner claims the ODAC championship and receives the league’s automatic berth in the Division III tournament.
Ferrum is in its fourth year under the head coaching direction of Gerald Culler.
Culler guided the Panthers to the USA South Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the Division III tournament in his rookie campaign as head coach in 2016.
In 2017, Ferrum advanced to the championship game of the tournament, but lost to Averett University, the team the Panthers bested for the title the year before.
Last year, Ferrum lost a best of three-games series, 2-0, to Meredith (North Carolina) College on the first weekend of the USA South tournament and failed to advance to the double-elimination portion of the event.