For Immediate Release
Softball -- March 17, 2011
Softball Drops Two on Final Day of Southern Trip
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Eureka College softball played the final games of its five-day road trip through Tennessee and Mississippi on Thursday afternoon at the William Carey Invitational, dropping a 6-2 decision to host William Carey and falling 9-8 to Georgetown (Ky.) at Joseph & Nancy Fail Field in Hattiesburg, Miss. Both games ended early because of the tournament’s 100-minute time limit.
William Carey, ranked third nationally in the NAIA according to a preseason coaches’ poll, plated four runs in the bottom of the first inning for an early lead. Eureka promptly battled back in the second inning, getting an unearned run on an RBI groundout from junior shortstop Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) to trim the deficit to 4-1.
The Crusaders tacked on runs later in the game on a deep home run from Anna Lauren Fontenot in the fourth inning and Jasmine’s Shelby RBI single in the fifth for a 6-1 lead.
Facing the mounting deficit, the Red Devils’ biggest threat came in the top half of the sixth inning. Senior starting pitcher Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) drilled a two-out single to score freshman Emily Campbell (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) to cut the deficit to 6-2 after Campbell and freshman Amanda Murphy (Manteno, Ill./Manteno H.S.) reached base earlier in the inning. A walk to senior Amy Scammahorn (Decatur, Ill./Warrensburg-Latham H.S.) loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate, but Lauren Kao (Normal, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) bounced into a fielder’s choice to end the threat. The 100-minute time limit was reached one batter into the bottom half of the inning and the Red Devils’ comeback effort fell short.
Doty settled in after the four-run first inning, allowing only two more runs over her next 4.0 innings of work. William Carey starter Kelsey Jo Smith needed 121 pitches to get through 6.0 innings, but allowed only one earned run and picked up her fourth win of the campaign.
Eureka played as the visiting team in its second game of the afternoon against Georgetown and quickly gained a 1-0 advantage. Junior Tomi Tapper (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) provided the early offense with an RBI single to score Kao, who had been hit by a pitch to start game and later moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.
The Tigers answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, but Eureka regained the lead in the second with a four-run outburst thanks to some shaky Georgetown defense. Murphy scored on an illegal pitch before three Georgetown errors allowed the Red Devils to tack on three more, the final run coming on an RBI single from junior Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central).
The momentum shifted back to Georgetown after the Tigers also pushed four runs across in the inning. Eureka eventually regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a pair of unearned runs. Hamilton smashed another run-scoring single to force a 7-7 tie and Doty’s bases-loaded walk made it 8-7 in favor of the Red Devils.
With the 100-minute time limit rapidly approaching, the Tigers held Eureka scoreless in the top half of the fifth before plating the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the inning. Whitney Ealey and Rachel Johnson each recorded RBI singles in the inning to send the Red Devils to their fourth consecutive loss.
Hamilton turned in an excellent afternoon, going 4-for-6 with two RBI, two runs scored and her first double in a Eureka uniform. Doty and Murphy each reached base four times during the course of the afternoon. Junior pitcher Sara Jesse (Mackinaw, Ill./Bloomington H.S.) tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief work against Georgetown before yielding the final two runs of the trip.
The Red Devils ended the road trip with a 2-6 record and will now have more than a week off from game competition. Eureka will take part in the annual St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference round robin event at ABC Park in St. Ann, Mo. starting Friday, March 26. Eureka will open play Friday versus Westminster at 6 p.m. and play a total of four games in less than 24 hours. None of the results will count in the league standings.
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