Softball team routs Hillsdale, wins series
Lady Lions finish season winning 6 of final 8 games
Review the weekend series vs. Lady Saints
Wyatt caps amazing comeback with 2-run triple to win, 8-7
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University softball team clubbed Hillsdale College 13-5 en route to winning the weekend series three games to one.
Head Coach Tim Grant’s team finished their third season by winning six of their last eight games. The Purple Pride outscored those foes by a combined 55-48.
SAGU struggled to produce runs all season, but improved pitching allowed them to hold teams to scoring in single digits 16 of their final 20 games.
They took the Hillsdale by winning 5-4 and 8-7 on Friday, dropped the third game, 8-2, before regrouping to rout the Saints in the finale, 13-5.
In doing so the squad capped the spring with a 12-40 mark. The team played 15 more contests in 2014 than in 2013, not to mention a sharp rise in competition after joining the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Here is a review of the final four games, in reverse order:
SAGU 13-5 HILLSDALE
Hannah Lee (Hardinsburg, Ky / Breckinridge HS) scattered seven hits over five innings, allowed just one earned run to lead SAGU to a 13-5 rout of Hillsdale. The win, her seventh, broke the single-season mark of six set a year ago by Shannen Davis-Nance.
Lee walked none and struck out three in a 66-pitch showing. She ranked sixth nationally with 182.2 innings pitched and allowed just one walk per game, which placed her control as #21 in the country.
Supporting her was a 14 hit attack that built leads of 10-0 and 13-1 before Hillsdale tallied four times in the top of the fifth but couldn’t prevent the game ending on the ‘eight-run lead after five innings’ rule.
Amber Gignac (Houston, Tx / Homeschool) and Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) each scored three runs, with the latter driving in three. Gignac saved her best for last, rapping four hits in four trips to the plate.
The defense sparkled, none more than second baseman Blayr Huff (Keller, TX / Liberty Christian HS). The sophomore turned in just two putouts, but both were excellent catches of line-drives. One of them she dove for to double-up a runner at first.
Outfielder Amber Belisle (Roseville, Cal / Whitney HS) made a great, running grab of a ball hooking over the fence in foul territory. In the third inning she charged fast from leftfield to make a bobbling scoop of a sinking liner.
The Lions put up two in the bottom of the first and never looked back. Gignac (GEE-nee-ack) beat out an infield single, was advanced into scoring position thanks to a Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) sacrifice bunt, and raced home when Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) banged a single up the middle.
Coburn dashed all the way to third on a late throw to the plate. The catcher’s bid to nail Coburn at third went awry, allowing her to sprint across the dish.
Lee breezed through the first two frames before SAGU broke things wide open during an eight-run second. She started the rally by getting a leadoff walk.
Huff was safe on a well-placed unt in front of an error at third on a ball hit by Feliciana Maldonado (Victorville, CA / Victor Valley HS) that loaded the bases. Batting left-handed, Britney Johnson (Tahlequah, Ok / Tahlequah HS) snuck a smash past the third baseman. As the ball was kicking up chalk two runners trotted in for a 4-0 margin.
Gignac knocked in Maldonado with bunt single. Krock-a-dile rocked in another run when she slapped a pitch through the hole at shortstop.
Coburn chased the starting pitcher with deep double into a stiff wind in centerfield to clear the bases for an 8-0 margin.
Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS) greeted the next hurler with a solid single through the leftside. Coburn moved to third and a wild throw sent her scampering home. Lee poked an RBI shot to center that plated Wyatt.
The team could’ve scored more but, after loading the bases, stranded them with two infield grounders.
SAGU added three more in the bottom of the third. Speedy Gignac was the catalyst with a leadoff, infield single. The southpaw zoomed to third on a passed ball and skedaddled home on a Coburn single to left.
Wyatt got to first on a base on balls and Lee’s hot bouncer to the right of the shortstop filled the bags with Cats. There was one out.
Huff ripped a shot by the second baseman to score Coburn. Once again it was Huff whose bunt produced a run home from Coburn. The final run was produced when Belisle walked, forcing Wyatt in.
Gignac’s four hits led the team while Coburn went 3-for-3 with 3 RBI. Both players scored three times.
Huff contributed a 2-for-2 effort while Lee helped her own cause by going 2-for-3. Johnson had two RBI and Wyatt totaled two runs.
HILLSDALE 8-2 SAGU
The Saints overcame a one run deficit with five runs in the top of the fourth inning. They utilized five sharply hit balls, one walk and several ill-advised throws from the outfield – all failing to connect with the cutoff, each proving costly.
The Lady Lions spread out eight hits. The top and bottom of the order had seven of the hits while the middle four batters combined for just one.
Krock led the offense with three hits in four at bats. She scored one of the team’s runs and had the lone run batted in, a single through the hole in the first inning that knocked in Johnson.
Johnson started the game with a triple down the leftfield line.
Lee absorbed the loss, giving up six runs; two were unearned runs thanks to errors at shortstop and first base. Maldonado tossed the final 3.2 innings, yielding two runs, one earned.
Lee surrendered nine hits in 3.1 innings while Maldo gave up two hits, walked three and hit two others.
Wyatt and Loni Jimenez (Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS) each doubled and Johnson and Krock registered triples.
Following the game the coaching staff recognized three seniors; Wyatt, Jimenez and Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS).
SAGU 8-7 HILLSDALE
A week after overcoming a 6-0 deficit by scoring seven unanswered runs in the last two innings to top Southwestern Christian University, the “Cardiac Cats” did it one better!
Trailing 7-1 entering their final at bat, the Lady Lions put together a seven-run comeback to stun the Saints, 8-7.
The second game of a doubleheader, which started before 7:00pm, was called due to darkness one batter after SAGU seized the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
After Coburn lined an RBI single to left that scored Gignac to draw to within 7-6 with one out, Wyatt, the senior, strode to the batter’s box.
The pride of Lake Jackson, Texas crushed a blast to the fence in right-center to plate the hasty Krock and Coburn, who beat the relay for the lead.
After the leadoff batter was retired on a pop-up, Lee doubled in the gap in right-center. Lynette Riggs (Leupp, Az / Flagstaff HS) poked a grounder just out of the pitcher’s reach, then both runners were in scoring position on a wild pitch.
Huff bounced a hopper to shortstop and, with Lee and Riggs holding, narrowly beat the throw to fill the bags. A groundout by Maldonado produced one run, but with two outs and
Hillsdale still leading 7-2, few sensed a comeback was imminent.
Momentum switched teams when Johnson cracked a looping liner just beyond the second baseman. Riggs jogged home, with Huff kicking it into overdrive. She rounded third and sprinted to paydirt, literally.
Like a car trying to beat a train through the crossing, Huff and a relay throw were merging in a blurr.
The catcher snared the ball and went to apply a game-ending tag. Huff not only slid under the tag, she went beneath the plate and tagged the back corner like a burrowing badger.
Covered in dirt, she rose while roared, pumping her fist.
The Lady Lions were still in arrears, 7-4, but had life and their largest crowd of the season was alive. A wild pitch sent Johnson to third and a passed ball on the catcher allowed her to score easily.
The sun had set. It was obvious this would be the last inning.
Gignac singled past the second baseman. Krock cracked a hot smash that the shortstop briefly bobbled. Her hurried throw skirted past the first baseman put runners on the corners.
That set the stage for Coburn, the team’s RBI leader, and Wyatt, who both delivered.
Dominated until the sudden uprising, SAGU had one hit, made four errors and yielded seven runs and eight hits.
SAGU 5-4 HILLSDALE
The Lady Lions pushed three runs across the plate in the bottom of the third for a 4-2 lead and hung on for a 5-4 triumph.
Lee went the distance to earn the victory. She gave up 10 hits and no walks and just two earned runs. She retired seven batters on ground outs.
Huff personally accounted for five putouts at second.
SAGU managed six hits – all singles by six different players, with Krock knocking in two of the team’s three RBI. Hillsdale pitching issued six walks and four defensive errors gift-wrapped the win for Team Purple.
A bases-loaded walk to Krock enabled Maldonado to score for a 5-3 lead.
Hillsdale threatened in the top of the seventh, scoring on a hit and an error. Lee regrouped to sit down the last two batters on a fly ball to Riggs in right and a groundout to Maldo at shortstop.
A complete review of the season will be posted this week.
Individual Player Season Statistics: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/IndividualStats.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&sea=NAIWBA_2014&team=18708