Softball Takes Second Straight SAC Tournament Title


HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- In the second of two championship games, Delane Smith (Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest) drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give Catawba the South Atlantic Conference Softball Tournament Championship with a 2-1 win over 19th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne on Sunday night at Byerly Park.  The win secures the Catawba Indians' spot in one of two NCAA II South Atlantic Regionals next week.  Catawba, seeded second, improves to 38-14, while the top-seeded Bears fall to 47-11.

Smith's infield single to second with the bases loaded ended a game that saw the Lady Indians strand 14 runners on base in the seven innings.  Gina Gerone (Brooklyn, N.Y./Madison) started the inning with a four-pitch walk.  A sacrifice was unsuccessful, but Carley Tysinger (Lexington, N.C./C. Davidson) walked on an 11-pitch at bat to move pinch-runner Reagan Bray (Thomasville, N.C./Wesleyan Christian) to second.

Taylor Adams (Smithfield, N.C./N. Johnston) loaded the bases with a single just over shortstop.  Brandi Hole was able to strikeout Holli Chandler (New London, N.C./N. Stanly) and Smith was called on to pinch hit with two outs.  Smith send a grounder to second and when Madison Poe fell as she moved in front of Adams to field the ball, Smith beat the throw to first to give the Lady Indians their second straight tourney title.

Catawba had left the bases loaded in the first and pushed a run across in the second after Chandler reached on a one-out error.  Caroline Turner (Kenly, N.C./N. Johnston) singled her home for a 1-0 lead. 

With Tysinger keeping Lenoir-Rhyne off the board, the offense struggled adding any insurance.  Catawba left the bases loaded in the fourth and two more in the fifth.  LR finally tied the game in the sixth.  Erin Boone and Christina Walker opened the inning with singles and moved up on a one-out wild pitch.  Tysinger limited the damage to one run on a sacrifice fly by Sydney Landreth to allow Catawba to win it in the seventh.

Tysinger went to 31-9 with the win.  She scattered four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.  Turner and Adams had two hits.  Boone had two of the Bear hits in the finale.  Hole (3-2) took the loss in relief as she allowed a run on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts over three and a third innings.

Lenoir-Rhyne had forced the second championship game with a 3-1 win earlier in the afternoon.  Jordin Phillips doubled home a run in the first and Sarah Kenley homered in the second for a 2-0 lead.  Phillips would drive in another run with a double in the fourth.

Catawba had only three base runners off of Brandi Parks over the first five innings.  With two outs in the sixth, Katherine Shumaker (Blanch, N.C./Bartlett Yancy) and Gerone singled.  Morgan Brann (Beulaville, N.C./E. Duplin) doubled home a run to make it 3-1, but Parks got a pop up to end the frame.

Catawba put together one final rally in the seventh.  With one out, Parks walked pinch-hitters Ashley Wagoner (Roaring River, N.C./E. Wilkes) and Preston Ellenberg (Leland, N.C./N. Brunswick/Averett) then Turner to load the bases.  The Lady Indians couldn't produce the runs as Kristen Stinnard (Concord, N.C./Cox Mill) lined out to third and Shumaker struck out to end the game.

Shumaker had two of the five Catawba hits.  Phillips had three hits for LR.  Tysinger gave up the three runs on nine hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.  Parks (11-0) surrendered five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

Game 1 Box

Game 2 Box

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