MONTICELLO, Ark. – Southeastern’s Lady Storm softballers completed a 3-game sweep of Arkansas-Monticello with a pair of wins Saturday.
Coach Ron Faubion’s young ladies posted 4-2 and 18-3 (five innings) victories Saturday to run the overall record to 26-10 and the Great American Conference mark to 19-6.
UA-M fell to 13-16 and 22-20.
Southeastern is scheduled to play a conference doubleheader at East Central today (Tuesday) and visit Alva for a 4-game series against Northwestern Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Storm will close out the regular season with home conference doubledips against Southwestern April 18-19 and Henderson State April 24-26. Barring some upsets along the way, the Henderson State series could determine the regular-season championship.
The only downer of the weekend came when left-fielder Darrian Williams banged into the wall hauling down a line drive that would have been a leadoff double or triple to open UA-M’s seventh. The ball and the wall arrived at the same time. She hung onto it somehow and the next batter’s home run meant only half as much to the Cotton Blossoms.
Coach Faubion said, “Our kids had unbelievable pressure on them going into the sixth inning of the first game trailing 1-0. We weren’t able to get anything going against their pitcher (Katie Slaughter) and then we scored four runs on a two-out rally in the sixth.
“Darrian Williams made a spectacular catch on their leadoff batter in the seventh. I don’t know how she managed to hang onto the ball when she hit the fence, but she did. We hope to know more about her injury Monday.
“Our kids just seemed to get their act together in the second game. We really needed these wins and we need to keep our act together for East Central and Northwestern, both on the road.”
The Storm had just two base runners through four innings, on walks to Williams and Lacie Cook. A pair of hits in the fourth were wasted when Haley Strawn was cut down at the plate on a single by Mindy McElroy.
The hosts took the lead on a solo homer by Kali Piha to lead off the second and neither team scored again until the sixth.
Cook had a one-out single for Southeastern, but was nipped at second on Sydney Kramer’s grounder to short. Laramie Beal walked and Strawn singled home the tying run.
Courtney Riddle then drove a 1-1 delivery over the left-field fence to plate Beal and Strawn ahead of her and make it 4-1, Storm.
McElroy escaped the bottom of the sixth, leaving the bases loaded.
UA-M got another solo homer in the seventh, but it was too little, too late. With two outs and a runner on third, Jacee Bennett stepped into the circle to get a pop fly to shortstop to end the game.
McElroy went 6.2 innings, gave up two runs on four hits and improved to 14-4 while Bennett slammed the door to collect her sixth save.
Strawn and Riddle were two for four each to spark the Storm. Strawn scored one run and drove in another. Riddle belted her fourth home run and drove in three.
Southeastern wasted no time in this one, scoring six in the first, six in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth.
UA-M picked up single runs in the second, fourth and fifth.
Shayna Milam pitched first four innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walked one, struck out four and ran her record to 4-2.
Hosanna McCoy closed it out, giving up one run on two hits in one inning in the circle.
Everybody hit the ball for the Storm as the wheels came off for the Cotton Blossoms, who were charged with 10 errors.
Jessica Simmons and Strawn were two for four each for Southeastern. Simmons scored a run and drove in three. Strawn scored three times and drove in a pair.
Cook was one for one with a run scored and two batted in. Beal was one for one and scored twice. Brittany Wilson was one for one and Connor Harmon was one for two. Wilson scored a run and Harmon scored twice and drove in one run.
Sydney Kramer was one for four, scored a run and drove in a run.