Story by Alfred Kojima, NAIA Media Assistant
Pictures courtesy of NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. -- (Box Score) Emerging through the loser’s bracket, No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) (52-11) posted its fifth victory of the World Series with a 7-4 victory over previously undefeated No. 2 Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) at the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series at the South Commons Softball Complex on Thursday
The win over the Warhawks will force the if-necessary game to determine the 2014 NAIA World Series national champion. Both teams tangle at approximately 8 p.m. EDT tonight.
Both teams are vying for their first-ever World Series title.
Junior Brittany LeBlanc earned the victory in the circle, allowing two runs and three hits in five innings of work, with four walks and four strikeouts to improve to 21-4 overall. The Maurice, La., native managed to record 16-consecutive scoreless innings in the event before giving up a run in the fifth inning.
Warhawk junior pitcher Cassie Daniels took the loss. The Crusaders had 13 base hits, three by juniors Rachel McFarland and Hannah Cook-Kelley. The 13 base hits is the most hits that Daniels has surrendered this season since a 6-5 loss to the Crusaders at the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament on May 2.
The Warhawks (43-7) had eight hits, two by sophomore Kayla Brinkman. The team also had five errors.
In the bottom of the second, McFarland took away two potential Warhawk home runs. Sophomore Lauren Shaw drove a ball to left center field that McFarland reached over the fence and caught. After a line out, McFarland reached past the fence to snag a deep fly ball hit by sophomore Kayla Hale for the third out.
In the top of the fifth, the Crusaders added two runs on RBI singles by McFarland and senior Jasmine Shelby. At that point, William Carey led 3-0.
The Warhawks plated a run in the bottom half of the fifth inning. After loading the bases, sophomore Katie Brinkman scored on a wild pitch. With runners at second and third, sophomore pinch hitter Taylor Powell grounded a ball off LeBlanc and to second baseman Beckman to end the inning.
The Crusaders broke the game open with four runs and four hits in the sixth inning, keyed by a 2-RBI single by Shelby. Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, William Carey held a 7-1 edge.
A potential Warhawk rally was started by sophomore Kayla Hale had an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, RBI singles by Spain and Shaw trimmed the deficit to 7-4. The Warhawks had the tying run at the plate, however junior Jade Sasser flew out to end the game.
The 34th Annual Softball World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council.
For more information, including updated bracket, stats and live streaming, click here.