Four teams remain unbeaten
VIENNA -Although rain cut short Thursday’s schedule at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Softball Tournament at Jackson Park, officials managed to get six of the eight scheduled games in, with the final one ending just after 10:30 p.m.
When the last out of the day was recorded, four teams remain undefeated -top-seeded Trevecca Nazarene, second-seeded Kentucky Wesleyan, fourth-seeded Alderson-Broaddus and sixth-seeded Salem International.
They will be the first four teams to take the field today as the winner’s bracket semifinals get under way at 8:30 a.m. with A-B meeting Trevecca Nazarene. Following that game, at 10:30 a.m., Kentucky Wesleyan will meet Salem International.
Four other games are on tap with the final game of the day set for 6:30 p.m. Once it concludes, the tournament will be down to three teams, who will remain here on Saturday, when the conference title will be decided.
Thursday’s action had a little of everything from shutouts to blowouts to a classic pitching duel between two West Virginia rivals.
Things didn’t go well for the local entrant as Ohio Valley University lost to Kentucky Wesleyan, 6-1, and then dropped a heartbreaking 7-4 decision in 10 innings to Cedarville in an elimination game.
Opening Round Games
Trevecca Nazarene 5,
Top-seeded Trevecca Nazarene lived up to its reputation, establishing its dominance early in a 5-0 win over eighth-seeded Ursuline.
The Tennessee-based school scored twice in the third inning and three times in the fourth and rode the combined pitching efforts of Lindsey Stephens and Kelsey Kemp to victory, limiting Ursuline to four hits.
Stephens and Kemp also were the hitting heroines, driving in two runs each.
Alderson-Broaddus 1, Davis & Elkins 0
If you love 1-0 pitching duels, then you should have attended Thursday’s opening-round softball game between Alderson-Broaddus and Davis & Elkins in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Softball Tournament which began its three-day run on Thursday at Jackson Park.
A-B’s Megan LaFon and D&E’s Amber LaBille hooked up in a classic, with the Battlers scoring the only run in the bottom of the fourth to advance to today’s 9 a.m. winner’s bracket game against top-seeded Trevecca Nazarene.Meanwhile, D&E later won its elimination game and will play another at 12:30 p.m. vs. either Salem International or Kentucky Wesleyan, who meet each other at 10:30 a.m.
Neither pitcher in the A-B vs. D&E game was willing to yield. In fact, neither yielded a walk, with LaFon recording seven strikeouts and her 18th win and LaBille whiffing five in a fast-paced 86-minute game that helped tournament officials -who spent the day battling inclement weather and wet fields -get in six of Thursday’s eight scheduled games as only one of the three fields at the Jackson Park complex was playable.
D&E, which came into the game as the No. 5 seed, mounted the first scoring threat of the game. In the top of the first, Ashley Dove singled with one and Danielle Norton did likewise with two away. But LaFon bore down and recorded an inning-ending strikeout to erase the threat.
A-B (22-25) didn’t enjoy its first baserunner until Whitney Brown led off the third with a double. But she got no further than third thanks to LaBille recording a pair of strikeouts and inducing a popout, causing fans in attendance to wonder whether this might go on all night.
That didn’t happen. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Kylee Gaspar singled to left, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bianca Officer and to third on a single by Arial Cammin. Gaspar then managed to steal home for what would be the only run of the game.
D&E 6, Ursuline 1
Despite the opening game loss, the Senators (18-29) refused to bow out on the first day of the tournament and instead breezed past Ursuline in an elimination game, 6-1. Alanna Jones cruised through a 64-pitch effort, which should’ve been a shutout. However, the Aeros (10-25) managed their lone run in the fourth when Alison Porter singled and eventually scored on an error.
Jones finished with a four-hitter, walked none and fanned three.
The Senators, who return to action in another elimination affair at 12:30 p.m. today against the loser of Kentucky Wesleyan and Salem International, played long ball to make things easy on Jones. D&E smashed a season-high three bombs, two against losing pitcher Sarah Maxwell.
In the top of the first, Dove reached with one out and although Katelyn Norton was retired on a liner to third, Danielle Norton launched a shot to center for a 2-0 cushion. Chelsie Stover opened the D&E second and on a 3-2 count lifted a foul ball that Ursuline left fielder Dagmar Smith watched hit the top of the fence three-fourths down the line. On Maxwell’s next offering, Stover crushed a no-doubter to left for a 3-0 advantage.
The Senators tacked on three more in the sixth for good measure. Kayla Whoolery hit the third home run, a solo shot, for a 4-0 lead. The shot by the shortstop also went off the top of the fence in left field, ironically where the Ursuline banner was, and bounced over.
LaBille followed with a one-out triple and after Daugherty was plunked, Dove delivered a two-run double to left for the final runs of the game.
Salem International 7, Cedarville 4
The first upset of the G-MAC tournament came thanks to a wild 7-4 triumph by sixth-seeded Salem International as the Tigers scored three times in the top of the seventh to upend third-seeded Cedarville.
Lise Couturier worked around 15 hits and a pair of seventh-inning free passes, her only two walks, to record the complete game mound triumph for SIU (17-26). The right-hander also went 2 for 3 and drew a bases-loaded free pass in the seventh for what proved to be the game-winning RBI against losing pitcher Courtnie Spain, who was working in relief of starter Cecelia DeBartolo.
The Tigers snapped a 1-1 tie thanks to a three-run fourth that was started by Couturier’s double. Angela McGoldrick, who had an outfield assist from right field to home in the first inning, reached on a one-out error and Morgan Lowry followed with an RBI single to right. McGoldrick and pinch-runner Kylee Cassavaugh scored on Lauren Smith’s two-run double to right-center.
Cedarville (28-14) received RBIs in the fifth from Nicole Davis and Carlyn Hanzel before Kelsey Chapman’s RBI infield single in the sixth squared it at 4.
However, the Tigers sent nine batters to the plate in the seventh. Summer Clark got things going with one out when she reached on a wild pitch after striking out. She scored in the inning along with Bre’ Felix and Katie Chyrssofos, who made it to first via a single and a walk, respectively.
Kayla Guta followed Couturier’s RBI five-pitch walk with a single off Spain’s glove and McGoldrick had an opposite field run-scoring knock to left.