BURLINGTON, N.C. – The Pride and Monarchs battled each other in quarterfinal play into the championship of the USA South Tournament. The #19 nationally ranked Monarchs, suffered a loss at the hands of #24 CNU, to find them against the Pride of Greensboro College who come into the tournament ranked #4 in the USA South.
Lesley Hewitt took to the Pitcherâ€™s circle for the Monarchs to face off against the Prideâ€™s Olivia McPherson.
The Pride batted first in this game. Jessica Johnson got on base with and early base hit. Clack got another hit to put runners on First and second. A fly ball moved the runners to second and third to open up an explosive first inning of singles. #12 McPherson hit another single up the middle to bring in Johnson. An illegal pitch from Hewitt was called and allowed another run to score from Clack and put McPherson into scoring position. Loftin hit a blooper single into center field to put runners on the corners and stole second on the next pitch for another chance at runs, but the Pride couldnâ€™t pick up anymore in the first inning, ending it with the lead 2-0.
The Monarchs looked to avenge some runs as Chandler got on base, after McPherson gave up a walk, and stole second base to get herself into scoring position. Kayla Talbert would get the second walk given up on the day. #21 Poling hit a single to left field to load up the bases with one out. Chandler scored off a walk against Metzger. Melton came in as a pinch runner to give the Monarchs more speed on the base pads. That speed would pay off as Melton would score on a fielderâ€™s choice to tie the game 2-2 at the end of one inning of play.
The second inning was uneventful for both teams under the lights of Springwood Park.
Greensboroâ€™s Clack drilled a great liner down the third base line that allowed her to get on base. Hewitt helped her own cause with a great diving catch on a pop-up bunt to get her first out, and struck out another batter. An error put runners on first and second and offered the chance for Coakley to pinch-hit a blooper into left field to score another run and give the Pride the 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, Coakley was injured on the play but helped her team with an important run.
The Monarchs began play in the bottom of the third with the drizzle of Burlington looming overhead. An ominous start with two quick outs led to a double by Metzger, but Methodist couldnâ€™t convert the hit into a run.
The seasons would change twice in 10 minutes as the rain would cause a five minute rain delay and bring the cold air and umbrellas out, followed by blistering heat from the blazing sun over centerfield in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Monarchs disputed a line-up change situation that could have gotten them a run, but were overruled by the head umpire to keep the score at 3-2 in favor of the Pride.
The Pride would take advantage of the situation in the fifth and get a double from Pennington and another blooper by Riley Loftin into left field to put runners on the corners. Loftin would steal second base even with a strong throw from the catcher. GC second baseman Leghart got an RBI-single to right field and increased the lead to 4-2. A slapped single through the gap against the Monarchs’ new pitcher Stutts into left field brought in Loftin for another run. Stutts would get the last out of the inning on a strikeout, but the damage from the Pride was done.
As the lights came into full view in the bottom of the sixth, the Monarchs roared back with an infield single by Bartlett that sat on the third base line. Stephenson would earn a walk to put runners on first and second. Blann would come in to run for Bartlett, as Methodist hoped to cut into the three-run lead. Hutson would hit a deep shot to left center field that had a sliding play on it, but just couldnâ€™t get brought in to load the bases. Kelly would hit into a fielderâ€™s choice to score another run, but make it two outs in this hard fought inning of play. The Pride would get out of the inning, fortunate to only give up one run and maintain a 5-3 lead.
In the final at-bat of the game for the Monarchs, Poling and Metzger worked back-to-back singles to put runners on base with only one out as the rain began to fall faster. GCâ€™s Brown would strike out Eyler for the second out, and a tag out at third base would end the game.
Hewitt took the loss and Greensboroâ€™s Brown got the 5-3 win. The Pride are back in action tomorrow at 10am against Averett University to play in to the finals.
GC 5, Ferrum 2
Averett 6, GC 3
The 9th-seeded Averett Cougars continued their impressive run in the 2008 USA South softball tourney with a 6-3
upset of 3rd-seeded Greensboro on Saturday afternoon at Springwood Park. Sophomore Hayley Brooks blasted a walk-off three run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Cougars the victory.
The Pride struck first with a run in the first, but Averett answered with a two-spot in their half of the inning. AU upped its lead to 3-1 in the fifth on Brooks’ second RBI-fielder’s choice of the game.
Greensboro battled back to tie the game in the sixth when the Pride plated two runs on four hits. Olivia McPherson (4-4) and Meagan Knight each recorded RBI-singles.
Tied 3-3, the stage was then set for Brooks’ heroics. The three-run game-winning blast was her second of the season.
Cougar hurler Sandra Dennison (8-19) picked her third win in two days, scattering 11 hits and allowing three runs over seven complete. GC’s Erica Brown (9-7) took the loss.
Averett (8-21) advanced to play at 4:00 p.m. versus #2 Christopher Newport, who defeated Methodist University by an 8-4 score. AU and CNU are the only two remaining teams with no losses.