CARMEL, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), in partnership with its 10 member institutions, is working to honor those spring sport senior student athletes whose seasons were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each week this spring, the HCAC will showcase one of its member schools, honoring those graduating student athletes.
Hanover College has an outstanding group of softball seniors who the HCAC and the Panthers would like to recognize.
The senior members of the Hanover softball team include Shelby Edington (New Goshen, Ind.) and Taylor Merrill (Brownsburg, Ind.). As a group, they have amassed 55 wins for a winning percentage over 45 percent.
"Taylor and Shelby have played a major role in the culture change within our program," praised head coach Cori Collinsworth. "I am grateful for their loyalty and trust of our system. They each battled adversity, successes and failures, but they have grown as people and softball players. I am proud of their dedication and commitment to being true student-athletes. Taylor and Shelby will be missed daily but their influence is everlasting. We know they are going to make a strong impact in whatever they do after graduation. They have set a new standard for all future Panthers."
Edington proved a dominate force in the Panther lineup as the All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference selection tallied 268 total at-bats with 49 career runs on 92 hits (19 doubles, 8 homeruns). The senior also charted 61 RBI for a .343 batting average with a .519 slugging percentage.
The 2019 campaign, under the guidance of second year head coach Cori Collinsworth, saw the senior record a career best 10 game hitting streak that propelled her to the top spot among the team in RBI (22), runs (22), and extra-base hits (11). Her seven doubles and four homeruns also ranked as a team best.
Edington was on pace to have the best season yet in 2020 as she ranked first among the league in RBI (15) and fifth in batting average (.474). The New Goshen, Ind. native also landed in the top 100 among NCAA Division III softball student-athletes in RBI per game (1.25) while leading the Panthers at the plate in every major statistical category. Edington charted a career high six RBI on three hits in the team's 15-0 victory on April 26 over Northern Vermont-Johnson.
Taylor Merrill, a key component of the Hanover softball team, tallied 72 starts in a Panther uniform primarily in the infield. She made 153 career trips to the plate recording 38 hits with four doubles and a triple. The Brownsburg, Ind. native added 20 RBI for a .248 career batting average.
The senior progressively got better for the Blue and Red as the 2018 campaign saw her dominate at the dish with two, three hits games including a three RBI outburst that propelled the Panthers to victory. Merrill carried the momentum throughout the next two seasons combining for 27 at-bats with five hits and five RBI.
For more information on all things HCAC, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the HCAC's home on the internet at www.heartlandconf.org. Be sure to stay up to date on all of your Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference news by following @HCACDIII on Twitter and by liking the "HCAC DIII" Facebook page.