Story by Alfred Kojima, NAIA Media Assistant
Pictures courtesy of NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) A two-run home run by senior Jasmine Shelby keyed a three-run seventh inning and was part of the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) posted a 6-5, 9-inning victory over No. 10 College of Idaho in an elimination game at the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex on Tuesday.
College of Idaho, the lowest remaining seed and playing their fourth game of the event, conclude their season at 35-18 overall. The win total is the third-most in school history.
Sophomore Brittany Lang pitched the final 4 1/3 innings for the Crusaders (49-11) allowing one run, six hits and two walks, with one strikeout. Lang improved her record to 25-4 overall in the circle.
The Crusaders had 14 hits on the night, three by senior Sarah Beckman. Beckman entered the game 0-for-5 in two previous World Series games. Five other Crusaders had two hits each, including junior Caroline Walker.
With Walker’s team trailing 5-2 in the seventh inning, the Woodville, Miss., native started the Crusader comeback with a double to deep right center field. An RBI single by Beckman was followed by Shelby’s game-tying blast to left field.
“I was thinking we were right were we needed to be having two, three and four in our lineup coming up,” William Carey head coach Wendy Hogue said. “We had a junior, who had been hot in the entire World Series, lead off with a double. Then, we had back-to-back seniors that I knew since it was going to be their last at-bats, they were going to make it a good one.”
In the game-deciding ninth inning, Beckman and Shelby produced back-to-back singles for the Crusaders. Junior Hannah Cook-Kelley hit into a double play, leaving Shelby at second base. Sophomore Maggie Paulk entered the game as a pinch runner and scored the game-winning run on an RBI double by sophomore Lauren Russell.
The Lady ‘Yotes managed to place runners at first and second with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but the next two batters popped out in foul territory and grounded out to third to end the game.
College of Idaho senior pitcher Nickayla Skinner managed to strike out eight batters, but gave up the most base hits (14) in a game this season since a loss against British Columbia on Feb. 27. The Mountain Home, Idaho, native ended the World Series with 36 strikeouts, including 15 in a loss against Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in the first game of the World Series. The strikeout total is the most of any pitcher at this year’s World Series.
The Lady ‘Yotes also had 14 base hits, three each by senior Briana Brace and freshman Destiny Turner.
The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Cook-Kelley.
In the bottom of the first, an RBI double by College of Idaho’s Turner tied the game. Sophomore Katie Rowe led off the second with a double, scored on a base hit by senior Julia Henrie, who advanced to third on a fielding error. An RBI single by Brace scored Henrie to make it a 3-1 game in favor of College of Idaho. Turner then added an RBI single in the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
The Crusaders loaded the bases in the top of the sixth. Junior pinch runner Kayla Byrd was at third base when the Lady ‘Yotes catcher attempted to pick off a runner at first base. Byrd managed to beat the relay throw back to the plate to trim the lead to 4-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Rowe singled and scored on Brace’s second RBI single of the night.
The Crusaders advance in the double-elimination event and will meet No. 8 Oklahoma City in an elimination game Wednesday at 4 p.m. EDT.
The 34th Annual Softball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council.
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