Story by Alfred Kojima, NAIA Media Assistant
Pictures courtesy of NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) broke open the game with a five-run third inning, en route to a 7-0 victory over No. 8 Oklahoma City in an elimination game and fourth-place tilt at the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex on Wednesday.
With the victory, the Crusaders will meet No. 5 Reinhardt (Ga.) in an elimination game Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT with the opportunity to compete against No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) in the NAIA World Series championship game Thursday night.
When asked about her team’s approach going into the 7 p.m. do-or-die game against Reinhardt.
“We just know that it’s one game at a time, one inning at a time and one pitch at a time,” said William Carey head coach Wendy Hogue. “It is just like we played a doubleheader at any point this year. It’s nothing different. Now, this is a much bigger stage and we are super excited. We just have to stay focused.”
The Crusaders (50-11) had five of their 10 total hits in the third inning. Juniors Relanda McFarland and Caroline Walker, who each had three base hits in the contest, started off the first inning with base hits. Senior Sarah Beckman hit a ball that was mishandled for an error. As the ball got away, Stars shortstop Kyndra Holasek fielded and fired the ball to home just ahead of McFarland trying to score to record an out.
One batter later, senior Jasmine Shelby produced an RBI groundout to score Walker to give the Crusaders a 1-0 edge in the first inning.
In the William Carey third, a walk to junior Lindsey Webb followed by base hits from McFarland and Walker loaded the bases. A two-RBI double by Sarah Beckman down the right field line was followed by a walk to Shelby to reload the bases.
After a pitching change, junior Hannah Cook-Kelley reached on a bases-loaded walk to force in a third run. A two-RBI single by senior Janessa Dedeaux closed out the scoring and the Crusaders held a comfortable 6-0 lead.
In the fourth, Webb reached on a walk, moved up to second on a base hit to McFarland and to third on a passed ball. Walker hit a scoring fly ball to score Webb with the final run.
The best scoring chance for Oklahoma City came in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Jocelin Diaz singled up the middle followed by a single down the left-field line by Jamie Rateliff. A wild pitch advanced both runners to second and third base, respectively. However, a ground out ended the scoring chance for the Stars.
Junior Brittany LeBlanc went the distance in the circle for the Crusaders. She allowed four base hits and one walk, while striking out three to improve to 20-7 overall for the season.
Oklahoma City’s Holasek started the game with a base hit, her seventh of the World Series. The Mustang, Okla., native concluded the season leading the NAIA with 120 base hits. Senior Danielle Fox took the loss, pitching in her fifth game of the event. She took the loss to finish with a 23-5 record overall.
The Stars, who were denied their 14th appearance in the World Series title game, conclude their season with a 55-13 record overall. The Stars finished in the top four of the World Series for the 19th time in the last 29 years, including eight national championships.
The 34th Annual Softball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council.
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