Story by Alfred Kojima, NAIA Media Assistant
Pictures courtesy of NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) A home run by freshman Tiffany De Vore in the top of the ninth inning propelled No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) to a 7-6 victory over No. 5 Reinhardt (Ga.) in an elimination game and third place contest at the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex on Wednesday.
In the top of the ninth with one out, De Vore stepped in and took a 2-1 pitch deep to right center field for her first home run of her career.
"Really, I'm just worried about getting a base hit, so my team can keep playing and hopefully come out with a win,” said De Vore on her heroic hit. “I never would have imagined a home run would have happened. It really hasn't sunk in that we are here at the World Series and the national championship game."
It is the second time in the World Series that William Carey (51-11) has been victorious in extra innings. The Crusaders scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of a 6-5 victory over No. 10 College of Idaho in an elimination game on Tuesday.
Playing their second game of the night, the Crusaders collected 12 hits after recording 10 base hits in a 7-0 victory over No. 8 Oklahoma City earlier today. Junior Hannah Cook-Kelley had three hits, while juniors Relanda McFarland and Caroline Walker added two hits each.
Crusader junior pitcher Brittany LeBlanc pitched four scoreless innings in relief of starting sophomore pitcher Brittany Lang. The Maurice, La., native allowed one just one hit and three walks with five strikeouts to earn her 21st victory of the season
Reinhardt, playing in their fourth game of the event had seven hits, two by sophomore Randi Wimpy. Freshman pitcher Madison Luck took the loss in the circle as her record dropped to 36-4 overall.
A third-place finish in the World Series is the best finish in Reinhardt school history. The Eagles went 2-2 overall in Columbus, Ga., and concluded the 2014 season with a record of 46-10 overall.
With the Eagles trailing 6-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, senior C.J. Browder delivered a game-tying three-run home run to center field. The Memphis, Tenn., native struck her 19th home run of the season to tie her for second among NAIA national leaders.
The Crusaders had a chance to push across the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. With one out and the bases loaded, sophomore Lauren Russell sent a fly ball to shallow left field. Eagle freshman left fielder Taylor Braselton fielded the ball and fired a strike to home plate to double off Crusader second baseman Sarah Beckman for the final out of the inning.
LeBlanc managed to get the Eagles out in order to close out the game.
With the victory, the Crusaders will meet No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) in the 2014 NAIA World Series title game Thursday night at 5 p.m. EDT. The Crusaders are very familiar with the Warhawks as the two are both representing the Southern States Athletic Conference. Coming from the loser’s bracket, the Crusaders will have to defeat the Warhawks twice in order to claim the school’s first-ever NAIA softball World Series championship.
The 34th Annual Softball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council.
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