During Series 2 of AUX Softball, one point category trumped all: win points.
Team Fischer became the first-ever team to sweep a series going a perfect 4-0. Not only that, but in their final game of the series vs. Team Gibson, they completed the first shutout in AUX Softball history, collecting all 70 inning win points.
The quintessential effort by Team Fischer naturally makes all of the movers of the series from that squad. Here’s how it impacted the leaderboard.
Mover of the Week: Victoria Hayward
Outfielder Victoria Hayward jumped from 31 to 8 on the leaderboard in a matter of four games on Team Fischer.
What’s been most impressive about Hayward lies in the traditional statistic that pays off on the leaderboard. She leads the league in hits with 17 knocks on 31 tries, hitting a whopping .548. Every hit but one has been a single. She’s yet to have a slump – she’s on a five-game hit streak – continuously pacing her way up the board.
She also went from having zero MVP points to 80 on the season which was the deciding factor in moving up 23 spots.
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O’Toole emerges as the ultimate arm
It would be remiss not to mention the stellar performances of the Team Fischer pitching staff that combined for a shutout and held opponents to 2.25 runs on average in Series 2.
At the helm of that staff was Danielle O’Toole. She holds the best ERA in the league at 1.62 through 17.1 innings pitched. All of the outs that she’s accrued through these innings — worth four points each — total 208 stat points. She lost 40 points in Series 1 with four earned runs allowed, but has been solid since.
— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) June 21, 2022
She’s by far been the most lethal and effective arm this season; opponents’ batting average against O’Toole is just .131. This has also translated to MVP points for the countless scoreless innings she’s able to carry a team, often beyond what she expects going into a game. She earned MVP 1 and MVP 2 during the series with Team Fischer.
O’Toole jumped 17 spots on the leaderboard to secure the No. 2 spot in Series 2 and will captain her own squad in Series 3.
A little of this and that from Zerkle does the trick
There’s a collection of athletes tied for the winningest player this season and outfielder Morgan Zerkle is one of them. She’s been on the best team in both series that amassed 740 win points (along with Sam Fischer, Amanda Chidester, Andrea Filler, and Sydney Littlejohn Watkins) with all five of those athletes working their way into the top 10.
What set Zerkle apart to become a captain was how she sprinkled in stat and MVP points throughout the four games.
She had two singles, a double, a home run and a walk during Series 2.
Plus, she led a comeback effort against Team Mulipola where she hit her three-run home run in the sixth inning to punch the team through to victory – rising 13 spots in that game alone.
Speed + Power = @mzerkleee
— Athletes Unlimited (@AUProSports) June 18, 2022
Clutch hitting = 60 points for MVP 1 honors, plus 20 more when she was voted as MVP 3 later in the series.
She propelled up from 17th to 3rd on the leaderboard.
A title up for grabs
Heading into the final week of an Athletes Unlimited season, it’s usually clear who the champion will be.
Tenth place is separated from first by just 156 points, a margin that can be made up in a single ballgame.
We’ve seen hitters like Fischer and Dejah Mulipola hang out around the #1 spot for most of the season but O’Toole emerging as a star in the circle could continue the streak of hurlers being Athletes Unlimited Champions.
Accurate predictions would be near impossible to make for who will win or even finish in the top three but if the past two weeks have taught us anything, win points will be paramount.
Series 3 action begins Thursday, June 23 with Team Zerkle vs. Team O’Toole at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ESPNU followed by Team Fischer vs. Team O’Toole at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU.
Check here for the full schedule of upcoming games and more details.
Savanna Collins is the Digital Media Reporter at Athletes Unlimited. You can follow her on Twitter @savannaecollins.
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