Trevecca reaches tournament finals

VIENNA – Top-seeded Trevecca Nazarene will play at noon today for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference softball tournament championship against today’s 10 a.m. Cedarville/Kentucky Wesleyan winner.

The second day of the G-MAC Softball Championship being played at the Jackson Park softball complex opened with a dandy as defending champ Trevecca Nazarene took on No. 4 seed Alderson-Broaddus.

The game lived up to its billing as the Trojans overcame their own miscues to send the Battlers into the losers’ bracket with a 12-3 come-from-behind victory.

Trevecca’s Haley Fagan, the GMAC’s Pitcher of the Year after leading the conference in strikeouts with 130 coming into postseason play, struck out three of the six batters she faced.

Her defense let her down, however, in the bottom of the third as an error on an infield single opened the flood gates for the Battlers, who tallied three runs to take a 3-1 lead.

TNU fought back to retake the lead in its half of the fourth inning.

Fagan got things rolling by reaching on a two-out error by AB’s third baseman. Catcher Jordan Griner worked a base on balls to set the stage for shortstop Ansley Brantley, who cleared the bases with a 260-foot shot over the left field fence.

It was Brantley’s sixth home run of the season and the Trojans first in tournament play.

“It by far the furthest,” Brantley said about her shot. “I knew that she (the A-B pitcher) was struggling with her drop so I just sat back and waited for it.”

Those would be all the runs that Fagan, who improved to 14-6 on the season, would need as the sophomore allowed only one hit over her final three innings of work and finished with nine strikeouts.

“I told her (Brantley) that she won the game for us,” Fagan said. “This was a huge win for us because it allows us to play less games and that was one of our goals coming in.”

Brantley, who finished with four runs-batted-in, led four players with two hits apiece. Joining her was Kelsey Kemp, Kenzie Leding and Megan Chesney.

Alderson-Broaddus, which dropped to 22-26 on the season with the setback, was paced by Victoria Patteson’s two hits. Regan Drake’s third inning single plated two of the Battlers’ three runs.

“That (Brantley’s home run) not only gave us the momentum, but the confidence that we could hit the ball,” head coach Ben Tyree said. “Typically, we have been a late-game, hitting team. That means that our girls are doing a good job of making adjustments at the plate.”

Game 8:

Kentucky Wesleyan 9, Salem International 4

No. 2 seed Kentucky Wesleyan received six strong innings in the circle from Casey Smith and home runs from Kaci Ovelgoenner and Smith en route to a 9-4 win over No. 6 Salem International.

Smith, who connected for a two run shot, hurled six innings allowing three earned runs and striking out two in raising her mark to 8-8. Josalyn Ress came in to pitch a perfect seventh to preserve the win.

Salem received a three-run home run by Lauren Smith, but it was too little too late for the Tigers.

Game 9: Davis & Elkins 10, Salem International 2

Davis & Elkins kept its elimination game with Salem International short and sweet in a five-inning 10-2 victory.

D&E starting pitcher Amber LaBille dug herself a 2-0 hole after Salem International’s Katie Chyrssofos hit a two-run homer in the top of the second inning.

The Tigers kept the pressure on as three of the next seven batters who walked to the plate delivered a hit. D&E’s Amber LaBille then shut the door and retired the final eight batters she faced.

The Senators’ offense gave LaBille plenty of support after banging out 14 hits. Six hits occurred in a five-run fourth inning as D&E batted around the order.

The onslaught began with four runs in the second inning. Kaitlyn Daugherty singled home one run and Danielle Norton doubled in another. Amanda Serafini knocked in two runs with a single to right field.

In the fourth inning, D&E built the cushion to 9-2 as Corrine Carrington and Kayla Whollery each had an RBI single. Chelsie Stover’s shot off the right-field fence resulted in a two-run double, while LaBille helped her own cause with an RBI base hit.

The game ended with the mercy rule in the home half of the fifth as Carrington singled home Ashley Dove with two outs.

Salem International concluded its season at 17-28.

Game 10: Cedarville 7, Alderson-Broaddus 3

After dropping into the loser’s bracket with a 12-3 loss to top-seed Trevecca Nazarene, Alderson-Broaddus hooked up with third-seed Cedarville. Two of the three Battler hits resulted in solo home runs – one by Regan Drake which put the Battlers in front 1-0 in the top of the first inning and another by Kylee Gaspar which cut Cedarville’s lead in half at 4-3 in the sixth inning.

Otherwise, Yellow Jackets pitcher Courtnie Spain kept A-B off-balanced with one fifth-inning single. Spain hit two batters, but overcame those obstacles with five strikeouts and no walks.

Cedarville’s offense kickstarted in the bottom of the second inning when the catcher’s throwing error back to the pitcher allowed Shannon Muldowney to score from third base. Nicole Davis’ sacrifice fly in the next inning tied the game at 2.

The Yellow Jackets took the lead for good with a two-run fifth inning. Davis and Kelsey Chapman strung together consecutive singles, and after the two baserunners advanced one base on a ground out Carlyn Hanzel delivered a two-run base hit.

Leading 4-3 in the sixth inning, Cedarville created breathing room as three runs scored. Both Christi Kirkpatrick and Hanzel produced run-scoring singles.

Spain retired the final five batters she faced and ended A-B’s season at 22-27.

Game 11: Trevecca Nazarene 5, Kentucky Wesleyan 2

A four-run fifth paved the way for TNU (35-10) to take control of the tournament as the Trojans handed Kentucky Wesleyan its first setback of the postseason.

The Panthers (25-18) trailed 1-0 after watching Brantley start the bottom of the third with a single and Lindsey Stephens knocking her in with a bloop RBI single to left.

Amber Pendergraft reached on an error and scored on Ashley Crooke’s RBI fielder’s choice to square the contest. The Panthers took the lead in the top of the fifth when Alex Baumgart singled and scored on Pendergraft’s run-scoring single to right. Baumgart just managed to avoid the tag of Griner.

Although things looked good for Kentucky Wesleyan, they went awry in the bottom of the fifth. Griner, who finished 3 for 3 with two doubles, tied it at 2 via a solo bomb to left to begin the rally. Kemp singled and scored on Leding’s RBI double for the go-ahead run. Lindsey Stephens reached on an infield single and scored on an error. Leding tacked on the final run when she scored on Chesney’s RBI squeeze.

Ress suffered the mound setback while Fagan pitched a complete game five-hitter. She allowed one earned run, walked none and recorded six punchouts.

Game 12: Cedarville 8, Davis & Elkins 6

D&E (19-30) pounced on Spain, the Yellow Jacket starter, and knocked her out after one inning of work. However, Chapman twirled five innings of one-hit ball before allowing a three-spot in the seventh as the Senators more than made things interesting.

Serafini got things started for the Senators in the bottom of the first by drawing a 10-pitch walk. After Dove reached on an error, the Senators led 1-0 following a second Cedarville miscue. Two batters later, cleanup hitter Danielle Norton launched a two-run homer to left-center for a 3-0 cushion.

Alanna Jones, the eventual losing pitcher, worked four fairly clean frames to start. She allowed an unearned run in the third, but was replaced in the fifth with just one out by LaBille. In that crucial fifth frame, the Jackets put together four hits and with the help of an error scored three times to take the lead. Kirkpatrick and Chapman had the only runs-batted-in.

In the sixth, LaBille allowed a three-run homer to Jessica Palm and then Cedarville tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Davis doubled and made it 8-3 following the fourth and final D&E error.

However, the Senators refused to go quietly and started the seventh with a double by No. 9 hitter Kaitlyn Daugherty, who robbed Jessica Palm of a hit in the second inning with a diving catch in center. After the two-bagger, Serafini followed with a single and Dove slugged her first career home run – a three-run jack to left-center – to make it 8-6. Although Katelyn Norton and cousin Danielle Norton followed with consecutive singles, Carrington flied out to left and Whoolery hit into a double play to end it.

As good as Daugherty’s catch was earlier in the game, Muldowney had a web gem for Cedarville in the sixth when the third baseman made a diving stop on LaBille and fired across the diamond to just get her in time.