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Lady Indians excelling in college softball

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By Sean Arnold

Former Chiefland Lady Indian softball players continue to make their mark in the college ranks.

College of Central Florida freshman Takiya London is a slugging machine for the Lady Patriots out of Ocala, with team highs in home runs (15), doubles (12), slugging (.797) RBI (57) and stolen bases (13). The first-year shortstop has boasted a five-game home run streak this season as well as a 12-game hitting streak, and currently carries a .412 batting average.

CF (40-8) is ranked No. 8 in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I, and is on top of the Mid-Florida Conference behind a 13-1 mark in conference play. London is second in runs, 10th in home runs and seventh in total bases in NJCAA Division I.

North Georgia senior first baseman Brittany Gilliam, who helped lead the Lady Indians to their first state title as a senior in 2014, entered the week on a five-game hitting streak, and has hit safely in seven of her last eight games, bringing her batting average up to .307. Gilliam also has five home runs and six doubles, and is tied for the team lead in walks with 20, giving her an impressive slash line of .307/.466/.568. The first baseman hasn’t committed an error in 197 chances this season.

Gilliam’s Lady Nighthawks have won 17 straight and are ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II, with a 10-0 mark in their Peach Belt Conference.

Webber Warrior freshman outfielder Samantha Rolfe has four hits in her last three games, including a pair of doubles. Three of those hits came against a top-25 Warner University club. Rolfe picked up an RBI double in her second game of action on the season, and later had a two-hit, two-RBI game against Chestnut Hill on March 8. Her Babson Park club entered the week 14-9 overall and tied for second in the Sun Conference at 6-4. Rolfe has just one error in 33 chances in the outfield.

The State College of Florida Manatees boast a trio of former Lady Indians, including freshman first baseman Lauren Parker, freshman utility player Sydney Parks and sophomore pitcher Lauren Stalvey.

Parker recently enjoyed her second three-hit game on the season while notching her first college home run March 22 at Polk State. The former Chiefland center fielder is batting .300 on the season and hasn’t made an error since Feb. 15.

Stalvey has seen steady work in the circle, where she’s seen at least two innings in all but one of her 20 appearances on the season. The right-hander is posting a 3.03 ERA in 57 ⅔ innings with a pair of saves.

The speedy Parks (1 for 1 with a run on April 5) had a stellar breakout day against El Paso March 12, as she went 2 for 3 with two runs, an RBI and a pair of doubles.

SCF is tied for third in the Suncoast Conference, which, like CF’s Mid-Florida Conference, is part of NJCAA Region 8. The Manatees are knotted in the standings with St. Petersburg College, where Cedar Key School alumnus Ashlyn Allen plays.

Stalvey was the CMHS ace on three state championship teams, while Parker, Parks, London and Rolfe were starters on those three Class 1A championship clubs as well as the 2017 state runner-up Lady Indians.