Lady Eagles Pick up First NAIA Tournament Victory
Gulf Shores, Ala. - The 14th ranked Lady Eagles from Williams Baptist College captured a win in their first ever NAIA National Tournament contest. Williams is in Pool C and defeated the Warriors from Webber International University, 2-0. WIU is ranked 23rd in the NAIA.
The tournament is being played in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Chelsea Sanders was the hero for Williams at the plate, but the game played out as a pitchers duel between the Lady Eagles’ Shelby Anderson and Ashlee Quigley of the Warriors. Neither team was able to get a runner across the plate until the sixth inning.
Wendy Eftink initiated the rally when she was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Anderson advanced Eftink to third with a single to right on a hit-and-run. Brianna Hindman pinch ran for Anderson and stole second base, giving the Eagles runners at second and third with no out. Following a pop out to first, Eftink was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice hit by Laura Tucker.
A heads up base running play allowed Tucker to advance to second on the throw to the plate. That brought Sanders to the plate with runners on second and third and two out. As the drama built, Sanders hit a line drive up the middle on an 0-2 count to drive in Hindman and Tucker, which would prove to be the only runs of the game.
The Warriors tried to answer in the bottom half of the sixth, but solid defense by Williams kept them at bay. After a leadoff walk, Maureen Sandidge smoked a grounder, but Eftink made a diving stop to throw her out at first. Brittany Spencer then lined into a double play to end the threat.
Anderson did not show any signs of being nervous in her first NAIA National Tournament start. The freshman from Mountain Home, Ark., pitched a complete game shutout. She allowed five hits and two walks, while striking out two batters.
“It is the coolest thing ever! It’s exciting, and it’s amazing and I love it,” exclaimed Anderson. “I just tried to hit my spots and move my pitch to both sides of the plate and not let anything be fat across the plate.”
Anderson went on to credit fellow WBC pitching ace Karisa Hendrix with helping her mature so quickly in her first year, noting, “I think that having Karisa mentor me throughout the year has made a difference.”
Webber had an opportunity to score in the first, but Hallie Horton threw out Jessica Lanci at the plate on a squeeze bunt by Quigley. That was the closest the Warriors would get to scoring in the match-up.
“We knew that it was going to be a battle. Every team that’s here is good,” said Head Coach Eric Newell. “Shelby pitched a shutout. She’s been doing it all year. People come up to me afterwards and ask why they can’t score on her, and I say, well, because she’s pretty good.”
Sanders was 2-for-2 with a single, a double and two RBIs. “Chelsea came up with a big hit there to left center field, and it was very clutch. I’m happy for the senior to deliver there,” Newell said.
The Eagles compiled six hits in the game with Sanders and Felicia Woodard collecting two apiece.
Quigley threw a complete game, allowing six hits and two runs. She struck out seven Lady Eagle batters.
Williams improves to 50-9 on the season. They will play Thomas University in game two of Pool C on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
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You can view more postgame information including an interview with Head Coach Eric Newell at "Tournament Central".