By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
Pictures by www.NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) No. 10 seed Spring Hill (Ala.) moved to 3-0 at the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship final site with a 7-1 victory over No. 6 Williams Baptist (Ark.) at the South Commons Softball Complex on Monday. The Badgers become the only team with a 3-0 record and need two-consecutive wins to take its first-ever national championship.
The Badgers tangle with No. 1 seed Concordia (Calif.) Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT in the winner’s bracket. Concordia is also undefeated in championship action (2-0) and controls its own destiny similar to Spring Hill. Williams Baptist falls to the loser’s bracket and faces No. 8 Reinhardt (Ga.) at 4 p.m.
Spring Hill freshman pitcher Caroline Sagrera was dominant again in the circle. She moved to 38-9 on the year as she finished with 13 strikeouts. She only allowed two hits and got out of a couple jams with strikeouts. The Lady Eagles put runners in scoring positions in the second and fourth innings but Sagrera fanned the final batter.
“Normally, I am never nervous,” said Sagrera, who now owns a 1.35 ERA in 26.0 championship innings tossed. “But, coming into this tournament, I was so nervous the first couple games. I don’t know why. And now this game, I got settled in after we jumped on them early. That really helped me get into my groove and now I feel we can take on anybody.”
Spring Hill jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Williams Baptist ever got to the plate. Mariha Partman rapped her second homer of the championship with a solo shot to left. Four batters later, Taylor Lahasky energized the Spring Hill fans with a three-run roundtripper.
Williams Baptist got on the board in the fourth inning with two outs. Hallie Horton singled and pinch-runner Teighlor Williams replaced her. Kayla Jones followed with a run-producing double to score Williams. With that score, the Lady Eagles headed to the fifth inning down 4-1.
Taylor Webre gave the Badgers some breathing room in the top of the fifth. With one runner on base, she lifted the pitch down the leftfield line that was initially ruled a foul ball. After the umpires met, they over-turned the foul ball decision into a home run. That play pushed the Spring Hill lead to 6-1.
Lahasky scored the game’s final run in the seventh on a throwing error.
Partman, Webre and Elise deBruler each rapped out two base hits for Spring Hill.
Karisa Hendrix was hit with the loss to fall to 24-6 on the year. She lasted 4.1 innings, allowed six runs on six hits and she struck out two batters.
The seven runs allowed by Williams Baptist are the most this year and are the most since an 8-0 loss to Evangel (Mo.) on March 16, 2012.
The championship is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council. This is the 33rd annual championship and takes place in the state of Georgia for the first time in NAIA softball history.
For more information on the national championship, click here.