Story by Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
Pictures courtesy of Rick Dominowski, Click HERE to order
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 9 Williams Baptist (Ark.) used a five-run sixth inning to break the game wide open and captured a 10-4 win today over No. 10 Webber International (Fla.) at the 36th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College. The Eagles advance to Tuesday action to play the loser of No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) and No. 1 Oklahoma City at 1 p.m. CDT.
It was a 5-4 ball-game in favor of Williams Baptist before the Eagle bats came through.
The Eagle rattled off three extra-base hits in the decisive sixth inning. The big blow in the sixth was a pinch-hit, three-run homer off the bat of Molleigh Gray. It was Gray’s first roundtripper since April 2 and fourth overall. Prior to Gray’s blast, Ashley Lyons and Haley Hambrick both had run-producing doubles in the inning.
Williams Baptist put up crooked numbers on the scoreboard in the first and second innings to jump out to a 5-1 advantage. Hitless in her previous six World Series at-bats, Callie Brooks smashed a two-run homer in the top of the first inning.
Webber International also had moments where the offense shined. Alyssa Householder hit a 1-0 pitch to lead off the bottom of the first inning. That was Householder’s first home run of the season in 135 at-bats.
The Eagles capitalized on two Webber International errors in the second inning to plate three runs. A single by Madelyn Poe scored Lyons. A misplayed grounder by the first baseman Megan Isoba allowed two more runners to score. With those plays, Williams Baptist held a 5-1 lead.
Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth, the Warriors made some noise. After Brandi Hazen reached on a walk and Erika Bellinger singled to right, Isoba atoned for her error in the second. She launched a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence for her first homer of the year. At that point, Webber International trailed just 5-4.
However, Williams Baptist finished with 10 runs for the 10th time this year.
Eagle pitcher Rylee Rogers tossed 6.0 innings to earn the win, to improve to 27-10 overall. She allowed a four runs on three hits – she had given up four runs in her previous five outings. She struck out three and walked four.
Rogers was relieved in the seventh inning by Catherine Totty – Totty allowed a hit in 1.0 inning of work.
Prior to Totty’s appearance in the circle for Williams Baptist, Rogers had tossed all of her team’s innings since the start of the National Championship Opening Round on May 16 – a total of 49.0-straight innings.
Erika Bellinger fell to 12-4 for Webber International. She lasted 5 1/3 innings in a starting effort and allowed eight runs (5 earned) on five hits. She walked two batters.
Madelyn Poe and Hambrick each scored two runs for Williams Baptist.
No hitter from either team had more than one hit.
Williams Baptist now has won at least two games in each of its three World Series appearances. The Eagles stand 6-4 in the event.
Webber International ends its year with a 31-16 record and completed action in its fourth World Series.
Both teams combined for four home runs – the most by two teams in a World Series game since May 24, 2013 when Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and Spring Hill (Ala.) each tallied two homers.
Stretch Internet, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all 19 games of the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series on the NAIA Network. The All-World Series package can be purchased for $29.95 or the day package for $9.95. For more information, including how to register for an account, click here.
The double-elimination event is being played out at the Elizabeth & Irving Jensen Softball Complex. The City of Sioux City and Morningside College serve as official hosts for the second-straight time. For more information on the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series, click here.