Softball rocks rivals
Lady Flames victorious in home series with Coastal
After dropping the first game of the series Friday, April 17, the Lady Flames softball team outlasted rival Coastal Carolina in both games of a doubleheader Saturday, April 18 to take the series victory.
Coastal 4, Liberty 3
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers took the first game of the series April 17 in what turned out to be the least dramatic of the three games. Morgan Noad hit an RBI triple in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and put the Chanticleers up for good.
Junior Kate Han, who went 3-4 with two doubles, one RBI and one run, led the Lady Flames in the hitting column. Coastal was led by junior Bri Chiusano, who went 3-5 with a stolen base, one RBI and one run scored.
Coastal scored three in the second, and the Lady Flames answered with three of their own between the second and third innings. After Coastal took the lead in the sixth inning, the Lady Flames managed to get the tying run on base with a two-out single by Han, but grounded out the next play to end the game.
This was Coastal’s 10th consecutive win as well as 12th consecutive Big South win.
Liberty 5, Coastal 4
The freshmen led the way for the Lady Flames as Alexia Taylor led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo shot home run off the left foul pole. Madison Kotchey did the rest, driving in four more runs in the game to edge the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the first game of a doubleheader April 18 at the Liberty Softball Stadium.
Liberty took the lead in the first, but Coastal tied it back up in the second when Coastal pitcher Kelsey Dominik was walked, then advanced to second on a throwing error and eventually came all the way home after a single by Annie Robinson resulted in a fielding error.
The bottom of the fourth was a crucial one for the Lady Flames. Katie Han led off with a single, and then Madison McCoy used a sacrifice bunt to advance her to second base. Next up to the plate was Kotchey, who sent a bomb over the right field wall for a two-run home run.
In the sixth inning, Coastal’s Amanda Daneker doubled and advanced to third on a fielding error. Dominik, who has not only the most walks, but also most strikeouts on the team, was walked for the second time of the game. Chandler Ball struck out the next batter, but gave up a single up the middle to load the bases right after.
With the bases loaded and only one out, Ball walked another batter to bring in the tying run. The next Coastal batter hit a deep ball to center field that was caught, but it was deep enough to bring in the go-ahead run. The inning ended on the next batter, but the damage was done.
The Lady Flames were down to six outs left and were trailing by a run when one of three seniors, Kelby Allen, stepped up to the plate and doubled to right center field. Han was walked, and McCoy laid down the sacrifice bunt to advance both runners.
Kotchey stepped up to the plate and hit a single to right field that brought in both runners to give the lead back to Liberty. With the two batters retired, Coastal was down to its last three outs after Kotchey’s third and fourth RBIs.
The Lady Flames were not out of the woods yet, as Coastal’s best hitter and savior of the first game, Morgan Noad, was at the plate to start the seventh inning. Noad was batting .397 on the season but had yet to get a hit in the game, though she had one walk. Noad struck out swinging, and the Chanticleers were down to two outs of hope remaining.
Coastal did not go down easy, as Daneker singled up the middle, and Steiner came in to pinch run and stole second to put the tying run in scoring position with only one out. Next up for Coastal was Dominik, who had been a threat all game. She eventually grounded out, but advanced Steiner to third where she stayed, because the next batter grounded out to end the game.
The Lady Flames snapped Coastal’s 10-game winning streak and it’s 12-game Big South winning streak.
Liberty honored its three seniors, Kelby Allen, Jamie Crisp and Megan Robinson before the game along with its senior student managers.
Liberty 5, Coastal 4
The Lady Flames beat Coastal for the second time in one day, after freshman Cassie Gingerich laid down a bunt in the 10th inning to bring in junior Mickey Loveridge from
third for the winning run.
The Chanticleers scored two in the top of the seventh to take the lead, but Liberty came right back in the bottom to tie the game up and send it to
The game was eventually won with help from a little-known rule, the international tiebreaker, that allows the next batter up in the 10th inning to advance to second base without batting. Coastal was unable to take advantage of the free runner in scoring position as they popped up, flied out and grounded out in order to end the at-bat.
The Lady Flames, however, were able to lay down a bunt to put runners on the corners and then added a squeeze play to bring in the winning run.
The game was Liberty’s first 10-inning game since falling at Radford, 4-3, in 10 innings on March 28, 2012, according to libertyflames.com.
SCHMIEG is a sports reporter.