A roaring finish to the 2017 softball season saw Franklin & Marshall claim its first Centennial Conference (CC) Championship and make the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Diplomats finished with a 17-23 record and an 8-8 CC mark, qualifying F&M for the Centennial Playoffs for the first time in the CC's 24 years of softball.
The Diplomats made the most of their inaugural CC Playoff appearance, dropping top-seeded McDaniel 3-2 on May 5 in the first game of the Tournament. F&M advanced to the Championship Round the following day with a 7-4 win over Gettysburg.
Left with two chances to beat the Bullets in the Championship Round on May 7, the Diplomats came through with a 1-0 win in the second game of the day to claim the program's first CC Title and earn the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
F&M bowed out of the NCAA Regionals with a pair of tough losses to eventual champion No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan (5-0) and No. 18 Randolph-Macon (3-1).
The unprecedented postseason run was only possible after a series of clutch results following a difficult 2-12 start to the season. A pair of doubleheader sweeps over Haverford (April 2) and Dickinson (April 4) put the Diplomats into the thick of the Conference Playoff picture. Another vital sweep, this time over fellow playoff contender Ursinus on April 22, helped secure the fourth and final berth in the Centennial Tournament.
Lexi Piccinich '20 and Taylor Long '19 represented the squad on the All-Centennial Team. Piccinich earned First Team recognition as a designated player after leading the Conference with five home runs. Her 22 RBIs led the Diplomats and ranked seventh in the CC, while her .385 on-base percentage ranked second on the squad and her .469 slugging percentage was third.
Long tied for the third-most home runs in the Conference with four, and had the CC's ninth-best batting average at .359, earning her Second Team honors and topping the F&M squad. She also led the Diplomats in slugging percentage (.531), on-base percentage (.394), hits (46), and doubles (10).
The Diplomats led the CC's power hitting numbers all season, finishing with a Conference-high 17. McDaniel (14) was the only other Centennial team to hit more than nine.