Bridgewater, Roanoke Win Two on Day One
ODAC Tournament Features Mixed Play thru First Eight Games
SALEM, Va. --- Bridgewater College and Roanoke
College each won a pair of games on Friday at the James I. Moyer
Sports Complex, setting up a matchup between the two for a spot in
the conference title game at the 2012 ODAC Softball
Tournament. The Eagles are the fifth seed and the
Maroons’ occupy the second slot in the tournament’s
original field of eight.
Eight games in total were played on the event’s first day with six teams making it to the weekend in the tourney’s double-elimination format. While BC and RC went undefeated in their first two outings, #4 Lynchburg College and #7 Randolph College were the first squads eliminated from further competition after each dropped their first two ballgames.
Top-seeded Virginia Wesleyan College and #6 Eastern Mennonite University each won their opening games, but both were on the wrong side of the final score in their respective second contests. They join #3 Randolph-Macon College and #8 Emory & Henry College with 1-1 records in the lower half of the bracket. After losing their first games, the Yellow Jackets and Wasps must string together six straight victories if either is to hoist the league’s championship trophy.
Below are brief snapshots of each of Friday’s showdowns. For more information, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC’s tournament website at www.odaconline.com/tournament/spring/softball.
Game 1: #1 Virginia Wesleyan def. #8 Emory & Henry, 1-0 --- Box Score
VWC’s Kristina Karagiorgis and E&H’s Brandy Bryant locked horns in a pitcher’s duel as it took until the Marlins’ final at-bat for game’s first and only run to light up the scoreboard. After Season Dailey motored all the way to third with a two-out triple, Brenae Pettit delivered a shallow fly ball to right-center that fell for the game-winning hit. Karagiorgis fanned 10 and gave up just four hits in improving to 15-3. Bryant issued four free passes in addition to allowing five hits, but she worked around the baserunners thanks in part to six punch-outs in falling to 4-7.
Game 2: #5 Bridgewater def. #4 Lynchburg, 5-3 --- Box Score
Bridgewater took a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning and held on for the victory in a contest that featured only six combined hits. Both teams took advantage of miscues by their opponent, with BC striking first on a two-run homer by Leigh Lam in the second inning. After tacking on one more in the fourth frame, the Eagles made good on a pair of LC errors with two runs in the sixth inning. The Hornets returned the favor in the top of the seventh as they crossed the dish three times thanks in part to two BC mistakes before Heather Jenkins closed the door on her first save of the year. Aven Thomas (11-5) picked up the win after hurling 6.1 innings. Hope Johnson (7-4) tossed all seven innings for LC.
Game 3: #2 Roanoke def. #7 Randolph, 4-1 --- Box Score
Roanoke centerfielder Leona Rainey went 3-for-4 and stole three bases in helping the Maroons top Randolph. RC jumped on the board quickly with three runs in the bottom of the first. Two came around on a dropped fly ball while catcher Felice Lowery delivered the third run with a single. Randolph got one back in the fifth inning via a Gina Pagano RBI single, but Roanoke reestablished its three run cushion on a run-scoring single by pitcher Kelly Higbie. Higbie went the distance for 28th time in improving to 22-8 on the season. Kristen Hutchinson (4-6) took the loss for Randolph.
Game 4: #6 Eastern Mennonite def. #3 Randolph-Macon, 3-1 --- Box Score
EMU hurler Lisa Lee and R-MC lefty Heather Lewis combined for 18 strikeouts as both pitchers limited run-scoring to just one inning apiece for the opposition. The early advantage went to Randolph-Macon as Laura Bauer singled in the Yellow Jackets only run of the game in the first inning. Eastern Mennonite responded with three tallies in the second stanza as Taylor Sellars plated a pair with a single and Brooke Hensley brought in one more with an infield hit to short. That’s all the cushion Lee would need as she gave up just three hits and walked three while fanning seven in improving to 11-4. Lewis (13-6) was also impressive as she surrendered five hits and walked only one while striking out a tourney-high 11 batters.
Game 5: #8 Emory & Henry def. #4 Lynchburg, 9-5 --- Box Score
Emory & Henry stunned Lynchburg with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a 5-2 deficit and eliminate the Hornets from further play in the ODAC Softball Tournament. The Wasps took advantage of a pair of errors with timely hitting in the decisive inning as they smacked seven hits, all singles, on the way to posting the largest single-inning output of the tournament so far. Five Wasps finished with two hits apiece, including shortstop Jenae Morrissey, who also collected to RBI. LC shortstop Taylor Walker and designated player Amber Sulter each had three hits. Brandy Bryant (5-7) evened her tournament record at 1-1 with the win.
Game 6: #3 Randolph-Macon def. #7 Randolph, 6-4 (8 innings) --- Box Score
Late inning heroics abound in the first game of the tournament featuring bonus action. Trailing 4-3 heading into the seventh, Randolph played small-ball to get itself into scoring position with runners at first and third. A double steal plated the tying run for the WildCats as Kaitlin Mills slid in safely ahead of the return throw to force extra innings. Randolph-Macon pounced in the top of the eighth, taking advantage of its tie-breaker runner on second by scoring via a pair of wild pitches. R-MC tacked on an unneeded insurance run when Michalann Camp singled in Amanda Sopko. Heather Lewis (14-6) tossed all eight innings for R-MC as she hurled all 15 frames through the Jackets’ first two games. With the loss, Randolph is eliminated from further play in the tournament.
Game 7: #5 Bridgewater def. #1 Virginia Wesleyan, 7-4 --- Box Score
Bridgewater was the first team to earn a spot in the winner’s bracket semifinal when pitcher Heather Jenkins belted the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the seventh off the top of the left-center field fence and over for a three-run walk-off homer. That all came after VWC knotted the game at 4-all in the top of the seventh on a RBI double by Tori Higginbotham, who later came around to score on a wild pitch on ball four to Kelly Keys. Jenkins improved to 16-5 in scattering eight hits and pair of free passes in seven innings. MacKenzie Creech (10-5) fanned six in the loss.
Game 8: #2 Roanoke def. #6 Eastern Mennonite, 7-5 --- Box Score
Roanoke scored at least one run in all but two innings as eight Maroons had at least one hit in joining Bridgewater in the winner’s bracket semifinal. RC put up three in the first inning and one each in the third and fourth frames to open up a 5-0 lead. EMU responded with a 5-run third inning highlighted by Jordan Aylor’s three-run bomb to left-center to knot the game at 5-all. Roanoke went up for good on a RBI double by Felice Lowery in the fifth inning, and tacked on one more for good measure in the seventh on a single by Katherine Kouri. Stephanie Clark (4-1), who hit a solo shot in the third inning, threw four scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.