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May 3, 2014

SHSU SOFTBALL — Bearkats win one, lose one in doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin

Bearkats softball team one win away from securing No. 2 seed in Southland tourney

HUNTSVILLE — Sam Houston State understood that Saturday’s doubleheader match up with rival Stephen F. Austin was not going to be easy.

The Bearkats split the two games, winning 4-0 in the first game and losing 5-4 loss in eight innings in the second game.

“I thought we played really well,” Kats coach Bob Brock said. “They’ve been on a roll. To get them in that first game, I felt that we did a pretty nice job.”

The Bearkats are in second place in the Southland Conference with a 15-10 league record and 26-24 overall and clinched a spot in the conference  tournament.

A victory in today’s regular-season finale would secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

Northwestern State swept its doubleheader against Southeastern Louisiana and is currently in third place in the Southland, while Stephen F. Austin (13-11, 23-25) is in fourth.

In the second game, the Lumberjacks scored three runs in the top of the first inning.

Left fielder Alisa Hamilton led off with a walk, advanced to second and third on a Bearkat error, then scored on an RBI single by second baseman Cadie Weaver.

A couple of batters later, starting pitcher Brittany Lewis, who pitched seven innings, launched a two-run home run over the right-center-field fence.

The Kats scored two runs in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 3-2.

Bearkats shortstop Tayler Gray led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a groundout by third baseman Tori Koerselman and scored on an RBI single by catcher Tiffany Castillo. A little later, right fielder Cecilia Castillo hit an RBI single for the second run of the game.

Freshman pitcher Taylor Atkinson, who pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief, kept the Lumberjacks bats silent long enough until Sam Houston was able to tie it.

“I thought our pitcher (Tayler Atkinson) pitched really well,” Brock said.

Sam Houston was able to do just that in the bottom of the third inning when first baseman Sarah Allison, who went a combined 3-for-6 in the doubleheader with three RBIs, launched a towering home run over the left-center-field fence to knot it up at 3.

“I fouled off a lot of pitches I didn’t like until the one that worked for me,” Allison said.

First baseman Shalie Day’s solo blast to center in the top of the fifth inning gave the Lumberjacks a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

The homer was Allison’s ninth of the year and the 22nd of her career that put her third all-time in career marks for a Bearkat.

Sam Houston dug deep and was able to tie it again at four in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single by pinch hitter Hannah Marino.

“I was just waiting on the inside pitch,” Marino said. “So I knew she (Brittany Lewis) was going to throw me inside and I knew I was going to hit it.”

The Bearkats had an opportunity to end it in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Center fielder Jessica Slater led off with a single.

With one out, Slater advanced to second on an error by shortstop Elizabeth Arana that also allowed Koerselman to reach first.

A batter later with two outs, designated hitter Hilary Adams was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

However, Sam Houston couldn’t capitalize as Allison flied out to SFA center fielder Lindsay Campbell. That sent the game to extra innings.

The Lumberjacks took the lead in th eighth when Nicole Wooten, who pinch ran for Katelyn Standley, advanced to second on a single by Lewis.

Then Tiffany Castillo threw the ball in an attempt to catch Wooten stealing third base.

Instead, it hit off Arana’s helmet, who was in the batter’s box, and went into the wide-open field, resulting in Wooten scoring the go-ahead run.

“I didn’t even see her,” The Kats catcher said of the play. “I just threw the ball and it happened to hit her helmet.”

“The batter has the right to the batter’s box and it was just a freak play,” Brock said.

The Bearkats had runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning with a chance to either tie or win it.

However, third baseman Taylor LeFlore made sure that didn’t happen as she dove to her left, snagged Gray’s sharply hit ground ball and tagged out pinch runner Ashley Kopps to seal the victory.

Sam Houston was able to take the first game by the score of 4-0.

Bearkat starter Shelby Lancaster went the distance and secured her 10th win of the season.

“My strategy was to keep the ball low,” Lancaster said. “They have good hitters. I kept it low and outside. It seemed to work.”

It was a pitching duel between Lancaster and Lumberjacks starter Carlie Thomas as both teams were held scoreless in the first five innings.

Sam Houston State broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a four-run outburst.

Second baseman Alyssa Coggins led off the inning with a triple and scored the first run on an RBI single by pinch hitter Dani Allen.

A couple of batters later, with two outs, Adams hit a two-run single to increase the lead to 3-0.

Allison followed with an RBI double to make it 4-0.

“It was really important to get the runs coming in so we could win that game,” Allen said about starting the rally.

The finale of the series begins today at 1 p.m.

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Delanise Taylor, center, receives congratulations and hugs from her friends after being named as the new principle of Huntsville Intermediate School at the HISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday evening.

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