Lady Flames softball team owns weekend Liberty Classic series

The Liberty Flames Softball team gave its games all they had in the Liberty Softball Classic tournament Feb. 28 – March 4, ending March 2 with their sixth straight shutout.

Not only was this a big day for their eight-game winning streak, but they had the shortest game in the history of the Liberty Softball Stadium. The Lady Flames defeated Cleveland State 9-0 in five innings in the first game March 2,
per the mercy rule.

“One thing we love about fast pitch softball is that it is fast,” Head Coach Dot Richardson said. “We love to play fast, keep it going, and try to get the last game of the day in warmer weather as much as possible.”

After keeping the first game short, going into the second game against Robert Morris University was an easy transition. Freshman Braelyn Cooper started the second game and did not allow any runs.  

“My approach to the second game was different,” Cooper said. “I was just there to relax and do my thing. The first game I was tense, and I was too focused on trying to get people out, but once I relaxed, I was ready.”

Freshman Kara Canetto scored the first run of the game in the second inning, and the Lady Flames kept their spirited lead throughout the rest of the game.   

Nearing the end of the third inning, sophomore Alexis Erich hit her first career home run, bringing in two more runs for
the Lady Flames. 

“I tried to find a way on base,” Erich said. “Coach always told me to seize my opportunities, and that’s been a really big part of how I’m playing this year.”

Richardson encourages her players to do their best and that is all they can give, and when Erich hit her homer, Richardson had a proud coaching moment.

“Every time we would go to watch her, when we were recruiting, she would hit towering home runs,” Richardson said. “She’s born to compete, and she had more confidence in her moves and her plays. That’s when I knew she was ready, and I put her in.”

Gabrielle Calhoun | Liberty News Service
INTERNATIONAL — The Lady Flames began their season with a tournament in Mexico.

Cooper continued her pitching dominance and struck out 10 out of the 12 batters. In the top of the sixth inning, senior Chase Cassidy entered the game as the Lady Flames pitcher and did not
give up any runs.  

This tournament so far had not just one filled with firsts, but one filled with milestones. The team has seen their 25th consecutive home game win, and this energy is only going to continue to roll over to the next games that the
Lady Flames play.  

Their next games were a doubleheader Monday March 4 to finish the tournament against Sacred Heart. The game concluded too late to be included in this issue.

Following non-conference play, the Lady Flames will focus on winning the ASUN conference.

“These kids just really love it,” Richardson said. “These gifts are in the sport of softball, and they are going to seize these opportunities. They are trying to play with freedom and trust, and not focusing on winning or losing.”

frost is a sports reporter.

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