Softball Cats to Play in Opening Round Title Game
CLAREMORE, Okla.-The Rogers State softball team upset top-seeded Williams Baptist 5-4 in extra innings to clinch a spot in the NAIA Opening Round-Rogers State Bracket championship game on Tuesday afternoon at the Diamond Sports Complex.
The Hillcats fell behind early but clawed their way back into the game and registered the win in the bottom of the eighth in dramatic fashion.
WBU dented the scoreboard in the top of the first. With runners on first and third, Teighlor Williams initiated a rundown at first and was tagged out, allowing Felicia Woodard to score from third. After two scoreless innings, the Eagles tallied a trio of unearned runs on three hits and a Hillcat error in the top of the fourth.
Trailing by four runs, the Hillcats started their rally in the bottom of the fourth frame. Candace Monigold ignited the comeback with a one-out single to center field. Shona Guerrero followed with a walk and Taran Threet put the Hillcats on the board with a single to left-center field that drove Monigold home. Katrina Loy drew a walk to load the bases and pinch runner Ashlee Dillman scored on a wild pitch. Shelby Brogdon rounded out the RSU scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
Both teams left runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings but the Hillcats found a way to send the game into extra innings with the tying run in the bottom of the seventh. Toni Shurtliff belted a double to left field and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Linsey Curtis. Jamie King ripped a double off the left field fence sending Shurtliff home, knotting the score. The Hillcats left two runners stranded to end the inning, sending the game into extra innings.
The Hillcats retired WBU in order in the top of the eighth. Guerrero led off the bottom of the frame and reached base after being hit by a pitch. With two outs, Shurtliff doubled to right field to put runners on second and third and Desiree Ayarzagoita reached on a walk to load the bases. With two strikes against her, senior Ashlie Fauchier delivered the game-winning walk-off RBI with a hit belted to right-centerfield.
Sophomore Laura Fleck (29-11) tossed the complete game win in the circle, allowing four runs, one earned on 13 hits with one strikeout. With the victory, the Muskogee, Okla. native tied the RSU single-season record for win with 29 on the season. Jenny Johnson set the record in 2009.
Karisa Hendrix (22-5) was tagged with the loss for the Eagles as she allowed five runs on nine hits with six strikeouts.
Rogers State (40-17) will face off against Williams Baptist in the championship game at 2 p.m. The Eagles avoided elimination with a 7-4 victory over second seeded Central Methodist on Tuesday evening. WBU will have to defeat the Hillcats twice to claim the title while the Hillcats must win just once to punch their ticket to the National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga.
The game will be streamed live on the Hillcat Network at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.
For more information about the NAIA Opening Round-Rogers State Bracket visit www.rsuhillcats.com/openinground