D&E, AB eliminated from tourney

VIENNA – Davis & Elkins’ ride at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference softball tournament ended Friday night at Jackson Park with a fourth-place effort after the fifth-seeded Senators of head coach Kimberly Stiles were eliminated by Cedarville, 8-6.

The Senators pounced on Yellow Jacket starter Courtnie Spain and knocked her out after one inning of work. However, Kelsey Chapman twirled five innings of one-hit ball before allowing a three-spot in the seventh as D&E (19-30) made things interesting.

Amanda Serafini got things started for the Senators in the bottom of the first by drawing a 10-pitch walk. After Ashley Dove reached on an error, the Senators led 1-0 following a second Cedarville miscue. Two batters later, cleanup hitter Danielle Norton launched a two-run homer to left-center for a 3-0 cushion.

Alanna Jones, the eventual losing pitcher, worked four fairly clean frames to start.

She allowed an unearned run in the third, but was replaced in the fifth with just one out by Amber LaBille. In that crucial fifth frame, the Jackets put together four hits and with the help of an error scored three times to take the lead. Christina Kirkpatrick and Kelsey Chapman had the only runs-batted-in.

In the sixth, LaBille allowed a three-run homer to Jessica Palm and then Cedarville tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Nicole Davis doubled and made it 8-3 following the fourth and final D&E error.

However, the Senators refused to go quietly and started the seventh with a double by No. 9 hitter Kaitlyn Daugherty, who robbed Jessica Palm of a hit in the second inning with a diving catch in center. After the two-bagger, Serafini followed with a single and Dove slugged her first career home run – a three-run jack to left-center – to make it 8-6. Although Katelyn Norton and cousin Danielle Norton followed with consecutive singles, Corrine Carrington flied out to left and Kayla Whoolery hit into a double play to end it.

The first test of the day for Davis & Elkins was short and sweet.

In an elimination game, the Senators used impressive pitching and an explosive offense to defeat Salem International 10-2 in five innings.

Other than a two-run home run in the top of the second inning which left D&E trailing 2-0, LaBille was nearly flawless in allowing a total of five hits, striking out five and not walking a batter. After Salem International put two runners on base with one out in the third inning, the senior from Indian Head, Md., retired the final eight batters she faced.

“In a game like this, you can’t be fazed by that kind of stuff like the two-run homer,” LaBille said. “You have to come back strong and pitch every pitch you can the best way you know how.”

LaBille received plenty of support as the Senators batted around in both a four-run second inning and again in a five-run fourth inning.

In the second inning, Daugherty’s single drove in one run as did Danielle Norton’s double. Serafini provided the lethal blow with a two-run single.

In the fourth inning, just about everyone in the lineup played a role. Carrington and Whoolery delivered back-to-back RBI singles and Chelsie Stove followed with a two-run double. LaBille helped her own cause with an RBI single.

D&E put the finishing touches on the victory in the home half of the fifth inning when Carrington’s two-out single plated Dove from second base.

While Davis & Elkins survived their first elimination game on Friday, Alderson Broaddus’ experience didn’t go as planned after the Battlers lost both games they played.

After dropping into the loser’s bracket with a 12-3 loss to top-seed Trevecca Nazarene, Alderson Broaddus hooked up with third-seed Cedarville.

Two of the three Battler hits resulted in solo home runs – one by Regan Drake which put the Battlers in front 1-0 in the top of the first inning and another by Kylee Gaspar which cut Cedarville’s lead in half at 4-3 in the sixth inning.

Otherwise, Yellow Jackets pitcher Courtnie Spain kept AB off-balanced with one fifth-inning single. Spain hit two batters, but overcame those issues with five strikeouts and no walks.

Cedarville’s offense kickstarted in the bottom of the second inning when the catcher’s throwing error back to the pitcher allowed Shannon Muldowney to score from third base. Nicole Davis’ sacrifice fly in the next inning tied the game at 2.

The Yellow Jackets took the lead for good with a two-run fifth inning. Davis and Kelsey Chapman strung together consecutive singles, and after the two baserunners advanced one base on a ground out Carlyn Hanzel delivered a two-run base hit.

Leading 4-3 in the sixth inning, Cedarville created some breathing room as three runs scored. Both Christi Kirkpatrick and Hanzel produced run-scoring singles.

Spain retired the final five batters she faced and ended AB’s season at 22-27.