Late Homers Send Softball Into Tourney Championship Game


HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- Catawba snapped a 2-2 tie with back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning and went on to knock off 19th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne 5-2 at Byerly Park on Saturday afternoon at the 2016 South Atlantic Conference Softball Tournament.  The Catawba Indians, now 37-13, advance to Sunday's championship game undefeated and will face either Lenoir-Rhyne or Queens.  The top-seeded Bears fall to 45-10.

Lenoir-Rhyne had just tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Gina Gerone (Brooklyn, N.Y./Madison) fouled off a pair of 0-2 pitches then launched a 2-1 pitch out to left centerfield to put Catawba back on top 3-2.  Morgan Brann (Beulaville, N.C./E. Duplin) followed and hit the first pitch she saw out to right to extend the margin to 4-2.

Gerone added an insurance run with a two-out double in the seventh that scored Kristen Stinnard (Concord, N.C./Cox Mill) from first to make it 5-2.  Carley Tysinger (Lexington, N.C./C. Davidson) struck out the first two Lenoir-Rhyne batters of the seventh then got a pop up to shallow right field to end the game.

Tysinger improved to 30-8 with the complete game.  She allowed just two hits and two unearned runs.  Tysinger walked none and fanned seven.  She retired the first 10 batters of the game and worked five 1-2-3 frames in the win.

Catawba had left the bases loaded in the first after a walk and two hit batters, but took the lead in the second.  Taylor Adams (Smithfield, N.C./N. Johnston) singled to open the inning and Caroline Turner (Kenly, N.C./N. Johnston) connected on a two-out home run to left for a 2-0 lead.

Lenoir-Rhyne would not get its first base runner until the fourth which came on a out-out single by Christina Walker.  An error to start the Bear fifth would lead to a pair of runs that tied the game.  Madison Carter reached and was sacrificed to second.  Pinch-hitter Mackenzie Cates singled up the middle to cut the Catawba lead to 2-1.  With two outs, the Lady Indians couldn't catch Madison Poe's fly ball to left and the tying run scored.

Turner, Gerone and Adams all had two hits for Catawba.  Turner and Gerone had a pair of RBI. 

Emily Kenley (9-3) took the loss for LR.  She entered the game after Turner's homer in the second and had retired 10 straight after a hit to Stinnard before Gerone's home run.

Box Score

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