WBC Returns to AMC Championship with Win over Cougars
The Lady Eagles from Williams Baptist College overcame a three run deficit to beat Columbia College in the American Midwest Conference softball tournament semifinals. The final score was 5-4 with the winning run scored in WBC’s last at-bat.
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The 14th ranked Lady Eagles looked likely to get on the board first when they advanced runners to second and third with no outs in the second. However, Jordan Crisp used two strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning without giving up a run.
Columbia used the momentum gained by Crisp to get runs in the top of the third. Three hits and an error led to three runs in the inning. Williams would get one back in the bottom half of the inning on sacrifice fly by Shelby Anderson. Columbia led 3-1 after three.
The Cougars added to their lead in the fourth when Chelsie Crain doubled on a ball to the fence. The Lady Eagles would come to the plate in the fourth down 4-1.
After a ground out by Hallie Horton, Laura Tucker was able to get a rally going by tripling to the fence in right field. Next up, Chelsea Sanders doubled in the gap to drive in Tucker. After a Jill Graham fly out, Ashley Boyles came to the plate with Sanders on second. She hit a line drive off the fence to trade places with Sanders. The Lady Eagles would tie the game when Lauren Sweeten hit a bullet to center field, driving in Boyles and knotting the game at four.
Three of the four hits in the inning were by seniors. “We needed some players to step up and our seniors have been through adversity before, and it prepared them for that situation,” said an emotional Head Coach Eric Newell.
Neither team was able to get a run in the fifth, so the game entered the sixth tied. Karisa Hendrix worked around an error to keep the Cougars from scoring.
Boyles led off the sixth for Williams with a walk and then was forced out on a fielder’s choice. Sweeten reached first base on the fielder’s choice and advanced to second on an illegal pitch by Crisp. She would come around to score on a wild throw by the Cougars infield, giving Williams the 5-4 lead.
Columbia was able to get a runner to second in the seventh, but Hendrix got Marli Hayes to fly out to left field to end the contest.
“Columbia gave us everything we wanted and then some. Their coaches and players have a lot of class.” said Newell.
Hendrix earned her 29th victory of the season. She gave up four runs (one earned) on six hits, while striking out six Cougar batters.
Tucker and Sanders led Williams offensively combining to go 4-for-6 from the plate with one run batted in and two runs scored.
The Lady Eagles will host Park University at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 4. The final will be a best-of-three series with the doubleheader on Friday at the WBC Softball Field in Walnut Ridge, Ark. Game three will be played at the same location on Saturday, if necessary.