Softball drops opening game in SAC Tournament

SALISBURY, NC -- Presbyterian defeated Catawba 2-1 in the opening game of the 2006 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Softball Tournament on Thursday morning at Whitley Field.  The event is being hosted by Catawba College and runs through Sunday.  The Lady Blue Hose, seeded fifth, improve to 25-31 and will advance to play the winner of the game between top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne and Tusculum.  Fourth-seeded Catawba falls to 28-22 and will face the loser of that game on Friday at Salisbury Community Park.

Both teams failed to capitalize on first-inning scoring opportunities.  For Presbyterian, Kellyn Henderson (Simpsonville, SC) led off with a single and Shannon Vining (Fayetteville, GA) reached on a bunt single.  Following a sacrifice, Catawba hurler Lindsay Ettinger (Pasadena, MD) struck out the final two batters to end the threat.  Catawba got a leadoff walk by Cassie Markham (New Port Richey, FL) and a one-out single by Ashlee Rhoades (China Grove, NC) to put runners on the corners, but Samantha Slater (Westerville, OH) retired the next two batters on groundouts to avoid damage.

Henderson and Vining put the Lady Blue Hose ahead in the third with back-to-back one-out doubles.  Catawba avoided further damage when Amanda Mitchell (Huntingtown, MD) turned Rachel Bailey’s (Howard, OH) line drive to right into a double play.  Catawba left two runners on in the third, but Slater retired the Lady Indians in order in the fourth and fifth innings.

Presbyterian got a much needed insurance run in the sixth on a one-out solo homerun by Ashley Ford (Marietta, GA), which marked only the second hit for the Lady Blue Hose since the doubles in the third.  Catawba got a run back in its sixth as Jessie Whitesides (Yadkinville, NC) led off with a single and went to third on a one-out infield single by Ryann Baker (Rockwell, NC).  Whitesides would score when Jacqueline White’s (Mt. Ulla, NC) fly ball to left was misplayed, but that was all Catawba could score.

Slater allowed just the one unearned run off four hits to improve to 12-15 on the season.  She walked two and struck out three.  Ettinger surrendered two runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts, falling to 27-18.  Henderson and Vining each had two hits for Presbyterian.


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Softball Team Photo