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Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: Could SXU athlete become the best NAIA pitcher ever?

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

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I know there are more important things to ponder in life.

Will the Blackhawks win another Stanley Cup?

Will the Cubs win the World Series?

Will the White Sox survive the loss of Drake LaRoche?

Will our next president be (gasp) Trump?

Or will our next president be (gasp) Hillary?

So much to think about.

But my mind is a little odder than most. I’m thinking about something else.

See, for years I kept hearing about all these great things that St. Xavier University softball pitcher Nicole Nonnemacher was doing.

The wins.

The strikeouts.

The no-hitters.

The perfect games – one of which she struck out every batter she faced.

Now that I am the sports editor and she is a senior I began to wonder…could Nonnemacher become the greatest pitcher in NAIA history?

First, I needed to figure out who the best pitcher in NAIA history is.

After a careful examination of the NAIA softball record books, I came up with a name – Rachel Murray.

Murray pitched for Union University in Tennessee from 1999-2002 and is the NAIA leader in victories with 126. She racked up an NAIA best 68 shutouts and 16 no-hitters. Her career strikeout total of 1,257 ranks fourth. Because you are dying to know, Oklahoma City’s Lily LaVelle had 1,411 from 2009-2012 for first in that category.

Murray, originally from way downstate Herrin, was just inducted into the UU Hall of Fame in 2015.

After college, she had a tryout with the USA Olympic Softball team, was an assistant softball coach at the University of Mobile and went to India on a medical mission trip. She is married and her last name is now Buchanan and she is a physical therapist assistant in Houston.

That’s who Nonnemacher has to beat out.

Nonnemacher already has her beat in one category. The SXU pitcher was named NAIA Pitcher of the Year twice and Murray just once.

But Nonnemacher has some catching up to do in other categories.

Through the Cougars’ first 20 games this season, she had 81 wins, 41 shutouts, 10 no-hitters and 1,073 strikeouts in her career.

There were 32 more games left on the regular-season schedule and who knows if they will all get played or not because of our predictably unpredictable weather. Plus, there will be the CCAC Tournament and NAIA postseason tournament games that could be played.

Nonnemacher is not going to start all those regular-season games. She will probably start half or a little more than half.

She doesn’t have a shot at the 126 wins or 68 shutouts.  She needed six more no-hitters and 184 more strikeouts to catch Murray which is a steep climb.

But…

If Nonnemacher wins another NAIA Pitcher of the Year award, that would give her a 3-1 edge over Murray in a pretty significant category.

And if Nonnemacher can lead the Cougars, ranked third in the nation, to a national championship, that will build her case up as well. Then you can have a really good argument.

Now, about Trump and Hillary…