ELON, N.C. – Tomeka Watson became the all-time home run leader for the Elon softball program as the Phoenix defeated Hampton, 8-2, on the final day of the Phoenix Softball Clash tournament at Hunt Softball Park. Watson belted her 27th career home run as the Phoenix (5-4) won its fourth straight game while Hampton fell to 4-9 on Sunday, Feb. 24.
After Phoenix starter Kayla Caruso quickly went through the Lady Pirates order in the top of the first inning, Elon’s Carleigh Nester was able to lead off with a single before eventually advancing to second with Watson coming to the plate.
On her very first pitch, Watson hit her historic home run over the left center wall for her seventh of the year, tying her total for all of last season. The Jackson, Ga., native broke a tie with Brandi Jones (2006-09) take sole possession on the top of the Elon record books.
With Elon holding a 2-0 advantage after the first, Hampton responded by plating two runs of its own in the top of the second. Adrianna Scott answered with a two-run home run to tie the game at 2-2. Caruso was able to strike out the next batter to get out of the top half of the inning.
Elon would add the go-ahead run in the bottom of the second on a Camille Hill single to center field to drive in Nester. Watson reached base on a fielder’s choice and moved into scoring position after stealing second. The Phoenix could not bring her home as Elon grounded out on the next at-bat to end the inning.
Following a scoreless third inning, Elon added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to improve its lead to 5-2. Lauren Oldham led off the fourth with a free pass followed by Nester doubling down the left field line to advance Oldham to third. After Hill reached base on an error by the pitcher, Oldham would score after Watson reached base again on a fielder’s choice while Nester advanced to third.
Nester crossed home plate on a Johanna Spencer grounder to second, followed by Watson scoring on an Emily Cameron two-out single into left field.
That run support was more than enough for Caruso who improved to 2-2 on the season after pitching a complete game in 7.0 innings of work allowing only three hits and two earned runs.
After giving up the home run in the second, Caruso set down the next four batters she faced and 12 out of the next 13 overall. The freshman from Kennesaw, Ga., also did not allow an extra base hit for the remainder of the game.
Elon would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth before winning its fourth straight game and going a perfect 4-0 against the competition at the Phoenix Softball Clash.
Hampton’s Bobbi Langlois (0-2) pitched 6.0 innings in the loss for the Lady Pirates.
Elon returns to the field on Wednesday, Feb. 27, against East Carolina at 5 p.m. followed by a matchup with Virginia Tech on the following day, Thursday, Feb. 28 also at 5 p.m. The program will hold its opening dedication ceremony for Hunt Softball Park prior to the game against the Hokies.