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Crunch Time for EFSC Softball and Baseball as Big Games Await
April 14, 2014 - Four regular-season games remain for Eastern Florida State College's softball team and six for its baseball team. And while the numbers might be different the goals remain the same: win.
Both teams are in second place in the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference, baseball at 9-9 and softball tied with Miami Dade College at 8-4. If they remain in those positions for the remainder of their seasons — softball concludes on Saturday with a home doubleheader with Miami Dade while baseball wraps up next week with two games against Palm Beach State College — they will be guaranteed a spot in their respective state tournaments.
But both are not content to just ride out the remainder of the season. Victories will not only solidify their positions in the conference but also their seeding at the state tournaments should they qualify.
The top three teams in each of the FCSAA's four softball conferences move onto the postseason the first weekend in May in Pensacola while the top two in the four baseball conferences earn a trip to Lakeland the second week of May. The four third-place finishers in baseball compete in a one-game playoff to select the final two state tournament participants.
Softball can make a run at first place as it hosts nationally No. 1-ranked Indian River State College for a 4 and 6 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday at the Palm Bay Campus. Admission is free.
Indian River is 10-4 in the conference and has already clinched a postseason berth. The teams split a doubleheader in Fort Pierce on April 7, Indian River winning the first game 10-0 in five innings and Eastern Florida grabbing the second game 7-5 in eight innings.
Indian River then split with Palm Beach State (6-8) and swept Broward College (0-12) while Eastern Florida swept Broward to set up Wednesday's marquee match-up.
Things won't get any easier for Eastern Florida as Miami Dade comes calling at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday. Eastern Florida split with Miami Dade on March 29 in Kendall, losing 4-2 and winning 5-2.
Miami Dade also figures prominently into Eastern Florida's baseball fortunes. But before the Titans can concern themselves with the first-place Sharks (13-4) they must contend with a home-and-home series with Indian River (8-12). The Titans host the Pioneers at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bruce Bochy Field on the Melbourne Campus and then visit Fort Pierce at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Miami Dade comes calling at 4 p.m. Friday in a game switched from Kendall due to the Good Friday holiday and the Titans travel to Kendall for a 3 p.m. Saturday game. Eastern Florida wraps up with a 5 p.m. April 22 game against Palm Beach State (9-10) in Lake Worth and concludes the regular season with the Panthers at 5 p.m. April 23 in Melbourne. Admission to Eastern Florida baseball home games is free.
Softball, which is 22-21 overall, has reached the state tournament the last nine seasons while baseball, which is 24-14, last competed in the state tournament in 2001.
Sophomore Brooke Formby has been an offensive force for Eastern Florida's softball team. Batting second she is ranked fifth nationally in triples with seven and leads the team in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, total bases and is tied for the lead in extra base hits. Pitching wise Formby has appeared in 23 games, 13 of them complete games, and has an 8-13 record and a 3.53 earned run average. She shares pitching duties with freshman and fellow Jacksonville product Dajia Jones who is 12-7 in 126 innings with 19 complete games and an earned run average of 3.11.
Sophomore and lead-off hitter Jack Machnois is leading the baseball hitters with a .384 average. He is first in hits with 53, in stolen bases with 16, second in on-base percentage at .430, second in doubles with nine and is third in slugging percentage at .507. Freshman Christian Diaz leads in home runs with six, runs batted in with 43 and total bases with 85.
On the mound freshman Dulvis Borjas leads with a 5-3 record. Closer Chayce Hubbard is 2-1 with a 1.44 earned run average.