Freshman Caroline MacAusland twirled a nifty two-hitter and Ana Coscorrosa ripped a double to score Jennifer Ringle with what turned out to be the winning run in the fourth inning. “Ana hit a changeup and Ringle (who had earlier singled) just flew around the bases,” pointed out coach Emily Russell. McAusland had seven strikeouts and walked two. Coscorrosa was a perfect 3-for-3. Savanna Bell had Lee’s other hit.
The Lady Flames defeated the top pitcher in the SSAC. Caroline Sagrera came into the contest with a 30-7 record and a 1.37 ERA. She also had recorded 373 strikeouts and walked 30.
The Badgers threatened to tie the thriller in the seventh. The first hitter walked and took second on a sacrifice bunt. An infield hit followed; Spring Hill could have tied the game if the ball had gotten through, but shortstop Ringle made a diving stop to hold the runner at third. A strikeout followed to end the contest and give the Lady Flames the hard-earned title.
Coach Russell praised the work of catcher Meghan Macias. “Meghan worked hard behind the plate. Caroline was throwing drops and change-ups and Meghan kept everything in front. I can’t say enough about my entire team and their focus this week. I’m proud to coach them and this season is far from over.”
The Lady Flames, ranked third in the latest NAIA poll, improved to 44-9 overall. They defeated the No. 12, 15 and 20th-ranked teams to win the SSAC crown. They will be hosting the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament beginning one week from Monday.
Notes: MacAusland was in the hospital Monday and Tuesday with severe dehydration and a GI virus. “She pitched like a champion all week. We were able to throw four pitchers and start three different girls,” said the pleased Russell.
Right before Sunday’s game started, Lee University held a special memorial service for coach Jack Souther, who passed away on Monday. “It was a special days. Before we got off the bus at the park, we did our devotion and talked about coach Souther and what he meant to me and other coaches. I told them that he cleared the weather because he wanted to see us win this championship. I told them this one was for him,” said coach Russell. Jack Souther was Lee’s first softball coach back in the mid-1980s.