Lady Eagles out of tourney
By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
May 17, 2002
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Meridian Community College made a quick exit from the NJCAA Division I Fast-Pitch Softball National Championship Thursday.
The Lady Eagles lost their opener 6-5 to Briarcliffe (N.Y.) College in eight innings. In the second round, MCC dropped a 2-0 decision to Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College.
MCC finished its season 35-29.
Indian Hills 2
Indian Hills scored one run in the bottom of the first inning and added an insurance run in the sixth in beating MCC in Thursday afternoon's losers' bracket game.
The loss eliminated MCC from the 16-team double-elimination tournament.
MCC had sent Indian Hills packing with a 7-2 loss in last year's tournament.
The Warriors outhit MCC eight to four in Thursday's rematch.
MCC had only seven baserunners in the contest with Sonya Booker in the second inning and Stephanie Dixon in the third frame being the only Lady Eagles to reach second base.
Indian Hills, which was no-hit with 15 strikeouts in a 2-0 loss to Indian River (Fla.) earlier in the day, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Kerri Starcevich led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by first baseman Lindsay Diehl.
MCC pitcher Anne McLean (26-11) shut the Warriors down until the sixth. Ashley Anderson opened the inning with a double and scored on a two-out single to center field by Melissa Yarham.
Dixon had a single and a double to account for half of MCC's four hits. In the tournament, the sophomore shortstop went 6-for-8 with two doubles, a triple, and two RBIs.
Yarhham and Amy Rowe both went 2-for-3 for Indian Hills, 53-9. Natalie Dunagan got the win.
Like a main event boxing match, the two teams swapped momentum back and forth through regulation.
The Seahawks snapped a 5-5 tie with a run in the top of the eighth to win the first-round contest.
Winning pitcher Amanda Locke reached on an error by MCC third baseman Lindsey Stamm to lead off the eighth. Becky Cameron and Mellisa McCartney followed with sacrifice bunts to put Locke at third. Tiffany Robinson, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, blooped a double into left field to plate the go-ahead run.
Locke then retired MCC in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Briarcliffe, 31-16, grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Robinson hit the game's first pitch for a double and scored on a single by Kristen Bakalar.
MCC racked up three runs in the bottom of the first. Morgan Wright singled and scored when Dreka Shumpert's sacrifice bunt was thrown into the right field corner as Shumpert chugged all the way to third. Dixon, whose 4-for-5 afternoon led MCC, followed with an RBI-double and scored when Stamm's grounder to McCartney at shortstop was booted to put the Lady Eagles up 3-1.
Briarcliffe responded with three runs in the top of the third for a 4-3 lead. Robinson, Laura Gutcher, Courtney Cannon, and Beth Bolognese each had a single in the inning.
Dixon tied the game in the bottom of the fourth as her triple to right field plated Wright, who had reached on an error by Cannon at first base. Kay Bingham, who went 3-for-3, singled in Dixon for a 5-4 lead.
The Seahawks pulled even at 5-5 in the top of the sixth as Locke singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Robinson.
MCC, 35-28, had a major threat going in the bottom of the sixth as Dixon and Bingham hit consecutive two-out singles. Robin Holland took a called third strike to end the inning.
McLean (26-10) took the loss.
Dixon had two singles, a double, and a triple in driving in two runs for MCC. Bingham had three singles and one RBI.
Robinson had a single, two doubles, and two RBIs for Briarcliffe.