SALEM, Virginia – Southeastern’s Lady Storm softballers battled back through the losers’ bracket Saturday with a pair of huge wins.
Coach Ron Faubion’s young ladies eliminated Wayne State 2-0 and followed that with a big 9-3 win over Armstrong Atlantic in the second game of the day.
Southeastern, now 45-19, will take on unbeaten Valdosta State at 1:30 p.m. today (Sunday).
Coach Faubion said, “This was just another great team victory for us. We got down and it didn’t seem to bother us. We came back with a big inning to take a 4-3 lead. Our kids never thought they were out of it even with those two early home runs for Armstrong.
“We hit the ball well and Shayna Milam gave up only two hits in the first three innings. Both of those hits were solo home runs, but you expect that from a team that had 79 homers going into the game.
“Mindy McElroy pitched the last four innings and gave up one run on two hits in the fourth. She retired the last eight hitters to wrap it up.
“Now we try to get some rest and get ready for the next game.”
NCAA Division II
College World Series
Lady Storm 9 - Armstrong Atlantic 3
The Lady Storm took the early lead when Jessica Simmons singled, stole second, went to third on a sac bunt by Lacie Cook and scored on a fly ball to left field by Laramie Beal.
The Pirates got a leadoff homer in the second to tie and a one-out home run in the third to take the lead. A run in the fourth made it 3-1, Armstrong, but that was it for the Pirates’ offense.
Southeastern’s offense was just getting started.
The Storm scored three in the fourth to take the lead. Laramie Beal dropped in a one-out single, Haley Strawn doubled to left-center and Courtney Riddle singled to drive in two runs.
A triple by Arianna Jones plated a run to make it 4-3, Storm.
Southeastern’s LadyStorm saved the scoring storm for the sixth inning when they sent 10 batters to the plate and chased in five runs.
Sydney Kramer started it with an infield hit and Beal hammered her 11th home run to drive in two.
That chased Armstrong starter Olivia McLemore and Tori Bates had no better luck.
Strawn drew a walk, Riddle doubled, A.J. reached on a throwing error and Lauren Renneker singled to pick up an RBI. Lacie Cook drove in a run with two outs before a pop to shortstop ended the inning.
Beal and Riddle were two for two each to lead the Storm. Beal homered, scored two runs and drove in three. Riddle doubled and had two RBIs.
Strawn was one for two with a double and two runs scored. Conner Harmon was one for two, Cook, Kramer, A.J. and Renneker were one for three each and Simmons was one for four with a steal and a run scored.
Game one: Lady Storm 2 - Wayne State 0
Mindy McElroy pitched her 17th complete game and blanked Wayne State while her LadyStorm teammates supported her with two runs and some fine defensive plays as Southeastern started the long road through the losers’ bracket by eliminating Wayne State 2-0 Saturday afternoon.
The LadyStorm improved to 44-19 while Wayne State ended the season at 46-12.
McElroy improved to 28-11 on the season.
Jessica Simmons showed why she was named third-team Daktronics All-America by ripping a triple on the second pitch in the bottom of the Storm first. Lacie Cook delivered a sacrifice bunt and reached when the play was made on Simmons sliding home with the eventual winning run.
Wayne State had hits in the first, second, third, fifth and seventh innings, but never more than one hit in any inning.
McElroy started a pitcher-to-second-to-first double play in the fourth. Storm shortstop Haley Strawn had outstanding plays in the fourth and sixth, charging in the fourth and backhanding the ball in the sixth.
Laramie Beal went high to pull down a long drive to right field in the fourth.
Wayne State had runners in the first, second, third, fifth and seventh, but only once had a runner reach third. That came in the seventh on a leadoff double before ground balls to second, short and second ended the inning and the game.
Simmons scored both of Southeastern’s runs, the game winner in the first and the insurance run in the fifth.
Simmons legged out a bunt single with one out in the fifth, stole second, stole third and scored when the third baseman couldn’t handle the throw from the catcher.
Wayne State had no runs on five hits and one error.
Southeastern had two runs on seven hits and no errors.
Simmons paced the Storm with two for three, a triple and a bunt single. She also scored two runs and stole two bases in two tries.
Cook and Lauren Renneker were one for two each and Cook drove in the winning run in the first.
Sydney Kramer, Strawn and Courtney Riddle were one for three each for the winners.
Lyndsay Butler went the distance and took the loss to make her record 25-7. Butler and Julie Ingratta were two for three each for Wayne State.