Coweta seniors help Shorter win national title
A pair of seniors from Coweta County helped Shorter University’s program earn its secondNational Christian Athletic Association national title in a three-year span last weekend in Troutville, Va.
Pitcher Christina Ezell (East Coweta) and versatile catcher Jackie Castaneda (Northgate).
Ezell, who arrived from Georgia Perimeter College, led the Lady Hawks while being named NCCAA Pitcher of the Year. She struck out seven in a five-inning complete game performance to close the tournament in a 10-0 blowout of Oklahoma Christian.
For the tournament, the former Lady Indians standout allowed no runs on one hit with 18 total strikeouts, and five walks through 12 innings to also earn Pitcher of the Tournament honors.
In her final season, Ezell posted a 22-6 record with a 1.84 ERA and 250 strikouts in 190-plus innings. Opponents batted just .172.
Castenada played five positions for Shorter in her career while becoming a versatile player for the Lady Hawks.
“We’ve had some great players who have started all four years and have done so much for the program,” Shorter head coach Al Thomas said of Castaneda in a recent story in the Rome News-Tribune.
The two-time All-American has played in nearly 230 games and 185 wins during her stellar career.
“Jackie falls into that category. We’ve had some good ones, but Jackie is probably the most versatile of that group.”
The Lady Hawks have a dual affiliation, also playing as a NCAA Division II school against teams from the Gulf South Conference, and this season posted a 42-10 record, including a 22-5 mark GSC.
Castaneda started 50 games for the the Lady Hawks and earned Second Team All-American honors after hitting .363 with 23 RBIs.
The Lady Hawks beat Oklahoma Christian twice en route to winning the national title.
Shorter won the first game 10-0 in five innings and took the second game 2-1 in nine innings.
In the first win against the Lady Eagles, Castaneda had a hit and scored twice.
Castaneda, a fifth-year senior at Shorter, played five different positions for the Lady Hawks during her career, including most recently catcher and right field.
The native of Sharpsburg is among the all-time leaders in several categories at Shorter including second in career runs, third in career at-bats, fourth in all-time stolen bases and fifth in doubles and triples.
Castaneda also hit a team-best .444 in 2012 en route to helping Shorter win the NAIA National title.