Grace Advances to Final Day of NCCAA World Series
Grace’s softball team survived its first elimination game at the 2014 NCCAA World Series on Friday to advance to the final day of the tournament.
The Lady Lancers (29-29) were bumped from the winners’ bracket by top-seeded Shorter to open the day, but Grace responded with a 3-1 victory over Campbellsville in the evening to survive and advance.
Grace is one of the final four teams remaining in the tournament. The Lady Lancers will play Union (Tenn.) on Saturday at noon. Grace must win three consecutive games on Saturday to reach the national championship at 6 p.m.
In Grace’s first game of the day, the Lady Lancers were knocked off by the tournament’s No. 1 seed Shorter University, 14-0.
The Hawks (40-10) got their bats started from the onset of the game. Shorter’s first four batters reached base safely and all four scored, capped off by a two-run home run.
Shorter went on to rip off four runs in the second, one in the third, four in the fourth and one more in the fifth. The Hawks had 15 hits, which included four home runs and seven extra-base hits.
Grace’s offense, on the other hand, was stifled by pitcher Maddie Bray. Bray tossed a five-inning shutout, holding the Lady Lancers hitless on two walks. Grace’s best chance to score came in the second inning, but Becky Almack was stranded at second base.
The second contest of the day for Grace was an elimination game against Campbellsville. Senior Tiffany Featherston scored Grace’s first two runs of the game, plating in the opening inning on an RBI single by Tiffany Featherston and in the third inning on an RBI double by Hannah Adams.
Grace moved ahead 3-0 in the sixth when Chelsea Whitesell scored on a drive from Brooke Shell.
Adams took care of the rest from the mound. The freshman hurler displayed a gutsy performance from the mound, limiting the Tigers (44-21) to four hits in a complete-game effort. Campbellsville managed to score a run off Adams in its final at-bats, but the Tigers could not muster anything else.
Featherston, Whitesell and Samantha Johnson notched two hits in the win.
Grace is enjoying a breakout season, securing its most wins in a season and first national tournament appearance since 1997 under head coach Heather Johnson.