The Lee women's softball team battled through threatening skies and tough competition to salvage a doubleheader split with visiting conference foe Belhaven University Thursday afternoon at Butler Field.
The No. 4-ranked Lady Flames (33-6, 17-4) jumped out early in game one but saw the No. 10 Blazers (24-6, 10-4) score five unanswered runs in the 5-4 defeat. Lee struck first again in game two but was able to hold on for the 7-3 victory.
After sweeping No. 16 Brenau on Saturday and earning the split with No. 10 Belhaven Thursday, the rugged stretch of SSAC opponents continues on Saturday for the Lady Flames with a showdown against No. 9 William Carey. Lee will honor its seven graduating seniors in between the two games and Mayfield Dairy will provide free ice cream for all fans in attendance. The action begins at 1 p.m. at Butler Field.
The Lady Flames looked to be in complete command after a four-run third inning gave them a 4-0 advantage in game one. Jennifer Ringle drilled a two-run single to center and Ana Coscorrosa followed with a two-run double to put Lee up early.
Belhaven had other ideas however, and responded with a three-run fifth off Lee starter Angie Hughes. Hughes worked 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. She walked two and struck out three. The Blazers’ Haley Yasses led off the inning with a walk. Lizzy Hess followed with a bunt single to put two on with nobody out. After a fly out, Jordan Cole delivered an RBI double to put Belhaven on the board. Denee Crawford followed suit with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 4-3.
The Blazers would add a single run in the sixth off Lee reliever Katie Deems. Katy Adair led off the inning with a single. After a sacrifice bunt, Yasses roped a double to left to score Adair and tie the game at four.
A Courtney Fairley two-out homer to center in the seventh inning would be the difference in the contest as the Blazers held on in the bottom of the seventh for the road victory.
Jessica Paris started for Belhaven and worked the complete seven innings for the victory. Paris gave up four runs on 10 hits but settled down after the four-run third to give her club a chance to battle back.
Deems (5-1) was tagged with her first loss of the season. The senior worked 2 2/3 innings in relief and surrendered two runs on four hits. She walked one and struck out a batter.
Lexie Dean went 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Lady Flames. Ringle, Coscorrosa and Meghan Macias each had a pair of hits as Lee pounded out 10 hits but left eight runners on base.
Lady Blazers 3
After blowing a four-run lead in game one the Lady Flames tried their luck once more, posting four runs in the third in the nightcap as well.
Lee was aided by three Blazer errors and a wild pitch in the third inning. Laurel Allen and Savanna Bell both singled to start the rally. After a sacrifice bunt from Amanda Lynn, Dean delivered an RBI single to left scoring Allen. A wild throw allowed Bell to cross the plate. Dean would advance home when Dominique Hannah reached on error. The final tally came when Coscorrosa grounded into a fielder's choice scoring Hannah.
The Lady Flames would add a solo run in the fourth inning on a wild pitch and tack on two insurance runs in the sixth to secure a split with the Blazers by a 7-3 margin.
Caroline MacAusland worked six-plus innings for the Lady Flames. The freshman moves to 8-2 on the year giving up three runs on six hits while striking out six batters.
Adair (8-4) started and went three innings for Belhaven. She was charged with five runs but only two were earned. Shelby Watson came on to work the final three innings giving up two runs on six hits.
Bell helped pace the offensive attack for the Lady Flames, going a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Dean added a single and drove in two. Lynn and Allen also added a pair of hits in the contest.
The game was called with Belhaven batting in the top of the seventh as severe weather began to move through the area.