Southeastern’s LadyStorm softballers shut out Southwestern 8-0 in five innings in Saturday’s opener, but the Lady Bulldogs scored three with two out in the sixth and two with two out in the seventh for a comeback 5-3 victory in game two.
The Storm took three of four from Southwestern and ran the season record to 32-14 overall and the Great American Conference mark to 25-10.
SE coach Ron Faubion said, “We had opportunities in the second game and didn’t capitalize on them. When you fail to take advantage of opportunities, it will usually come back to bite you.
“Southwestern scored all five runs in the second with two out. They got three in the sixth on a 3-run homer and two in the seventh on an RBI-double and an RBI-single.
“Give Southwestern credit. They had just been run-ruled and still hung in there for the win.
“We pitched Mindy (McElroy) only three innings in the first game and brought her back for game two. She worked 10-consecutive scoreless innings in the two games, but just got tired late and bad things happened to us.
“We missed on a squeeze bunt that turned into a double-play in the fourth and they got their second double-play in the seventh to end the game.
“This was a tough loss, but our kids played hard. Southwestern just beat us. We always say if you win three of four (in a series), you should be feeling good.
“Jessica Simmons had another great day. Haley Strawn had some big defensive plays at shortstop. Laramie Beal had a 3-run homer and Lacie Cook delivered six sacrifice bunts over the weekend.
“We thought it might come down to the last weekend and that’s the way it worked out. We control our own destiny here and we just need to take care of business next weekend against Henderson State.”
Simmons smoked SW pitchers for seven hits in 10 at-bats over the four games. She had two doubles and stole six bases while scoring seven runs and collecting three three walks.
Laramie Beal was three for six with a run scored, her ninth home run and three batted in. McElroy went three innings in Saturday’s first game and improved to 18-6 before taking the loss in game two. She pitched 6.2 innings in the nightcap with Shayna Milam and Jacee Bennett each pitching a scoreless inning.
Bennett came on in the seventh inning of game two with two on and two out. She needed three pitches to collect the strikeout.
The Storm will host Henderson State Friday and Saturday with the regular-season championship on the line.
The SE-HSU series will end the regular season and help to determine the pairings for the conference tournament, which will be played in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The LadyStorm thundered to seven runs on five hits in the second inning to help McElroy coast to her 18th victory against six losses.
Laramie Beal’s 9th home run plated Sydney Kramer and Lacie Cook ahead of her and sparked the Storm uprising. The inning also featured a two-run single by Kramer, an RBI-single by Simmons and an RBI-sacrifice bunt by McElroy.
Only one Lady ‘Dawg reached second base against McElroy as she handled a two-hit first inning by SW with no harm done to the scoreboard.
Shayna Milam pitched the fourth and gave up just one walk. Jacee Bennett worked the fifth, faced only three batters and struck out one.
The Storm picked up the eighth run in the fourth when Simmons doubled, moved to third on Cook’s sac bunt and came around when Kramer’s shot to short was mishandled.
Simmons sparked the Storm with three hits in three at-bats, two runs scored, one batted in and two doubles.
Strawn was two for three with a double. Kramer and Beal were one for three each. Kramer scored a run and drove in three. Beal had a home run and three runs batted in.
There were no explosions in this one.
Simmons opened the Storm first with an infield single to shortstop, stole second, went to third on a sac bunt by Cook (this is not a recording) and scored on Kramer’s grounder to second.
The Storm added a pair of runs in the fourth when Kramer singled up the middle, Beal dittoed and two outs later, Arianna (A.J.) Jones ripped a two-double to left field.
Things rocked along nicely for the Storm until two outs into SE’s sixth. A fielder’s choice and an infield single put two runners on base and a 3-run homer to left tied the game.
A walk started SW’s winning rally in the top of the seventh. A fly ball to left, a single and fielder’s choice, plus an RBI-double, followed by a run-scoring single made it 5-3, SW.
McElroy drilled a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh, but Lauren Renneker’s liner to third resulted in a twin killing that ended the game.
McElroy went 6.2 innings, allowed five runs on nine hits and took the loss to run her record to 18-7.