What a difference a short intermission between games makes.
Call this the Jekyll and Hyde doubleheader as the LadyStorm won a well-played 3-1 game in the opener against Henderson State’s top pitcher, then dropped an 8-0, five-inning decision in game two.
The LadyStorm are now 33-15 overall and 26-11 in the Great American Conference. Henderson State is 28-21 and 24-14.
Southeastern coach Ron Faubion just shook his head when asked for comments.
“The first game was just a great softball game. That depends, of course, on whether your team had the three runs. I don’t know how to explain the second game. You can’t give up five home runs in five innings and expect to beat a good team.
“Henderson State has a very good team. They play hard, they’re well-coached and you have to give them credit.
“Mindy McElroy did an excellent job for us in the first game. She pitched 6.2 innings, gave up only one run on five hits and walked nobody.
“We brought Jacee Bennett in with two out and two strikes on the batter in the seventh. She threw one pitch intentionally out of the strike zone, then got a strikeout to end the game.
“We had no answers for their hitters in the second game. We just couldn’t keep the ball inside the park. Shayna allowed two homers, Jacee allowed two homers and Hosanna McCoy gave up one home run.
“Their pitcher (Kayla Williams) in the second game was 6-10 coming in. She held us to two hits. We had only four base runners and nobody reached third base.
“We have to regroup and try to find a way to play much better in (Saturday’s) doubleheader. We can still lock up the regular-season championship, which has been one of our goals all along. We’re in the tournament, no matter what. We just want to repeat as regular-season champions.
“Senior Day would be the perfect time to win two and accomplish our goal.”
The Lady Reddies’ Amy Halter reached base in the first inning when a bad hop to second baseman Jessica Simmons was ruled an error. Halter never got beyond first.
McElroy retired the next eight in a row and the LadyStorm chased in a pair in the third.
Lauren Renneker led off with a walk and Simmons followed with another free pass. Lacie Cook dropped a sacrifice bunt and reached safely on a throwing error by the first baseman.
Sydney Kramer’s fielder’s choice plated pinch runner Shaina Crites with the first run and Haley Strawn drilled a single to left field to drive in Cook.
HSU got on the board in the fourth when a leadoff infield single, sac bunt and a fly ball caught by the shortstop in short left field let the run score to make it 2-1.
It stayed that way until the Storm added an insurance run in the sixth.
Laramie Beal doubled to left and two outs later, Arianna Jones drew a walk. McElroy helped herself with a single up the middle that drove in Beal to make it 3-1, Storm, after six.
McElroy retired the first two, plus two strikes on the next hitter when Bennett came in to end the game with a strikeout.
McElroy improved to 19-7 and Bennett picked up her seventh save.
Hits were scarce and runs were more scarce as the Storm scored three on six hits and HSU scored one on five hits.
Strawn paced the Storm with two for three, her ninth double and one run batted in.
Simmons was one for two, Beal, Courtney Riddle and McElroy were one for three each for the winners. Beal had her 11th double and scored a run. McElroy had one RBI. HSU had five hitters go 1-3 each. Ashlyn White was none for two with one RBI.
The Storm wasted Kramer’s single in the first and Cook’s double in the fourth.
The wheels started coming off in the top of the first when Sarah Gipson ripped a two-out, two-run homer.
HSU added four in the third and one each in the fourth and fifth to close it out early.
A solo home run and a three-run shot helped Henderson State to a four-run third. The visitors got solo homers in the fourth and fifth to end it early.
Kramer was one for one and Cook one for two to account for SE’s two hits.
White was two for three, scored two and slammed a solo homer to lead HSU. Morgan South was one for three with a 3-run roundtripper.