After outscoring their first two opponents by a 10-0 tally, Lee ran into fourth-ranked Central Baptist College out of Conway, Ark., and the top-seeded team in Pool D, which brought the Lady Flame season to an abrupt end with a 7-2 defeat.
Despite an upest loss to Rhinehardt (Ga.) Friday, with the Saturday victory over Lee, Central Baptist (52-6) advances to the championship playoffs.
Lee finishes the 2012 campaign with a 48-11 record.
In Friday’s pool play, the Lady Flames exploded for five runs in the first innng and then placed the ball in the hands of senior hurler Brittany Balough who completely dominated Morningside (Iowa).
Balough (25-3) allowed only two hits to Morningside's Taylor Michaelson as the Lady Flames claimed the 8-0 run-rule victory in just five innings.
"She did not pitch against Morningside when we played them earlier in the season and Brittany pitched with confidence the entire afternoon," said coach Emily Russell. Balough fanned four and walked two and only one Morningside player reached third the entire game.
At the plate the Lady Flames were sizzling in the bottom of the first. Jennifer Ringle (two hits, including a double, and one run) started the inning with a well-placed hit. Savanna Bell (one hit, one run) did the same. Ana Coscorrosa knocked in the first run and she later scored.
However, this day belonged to Charlie Wooden. She delivered three hits, including a double and triple. The slugger had three RBI and scored twice. Dezirae Parsons (two hits, two runs and two RBI) scored what turned out to be the game-ending run in the bottom of the fifth. She tallied on the second big knock of the day, a double by Tabitha Farrow, who finished with two hits and two RBI. All together Lee pounded out six extra base hits.
"We came into this tournament with an entirely new attitude," said coach Russell after the impressive win. "I went to coach (Matt) Yelton and coach (Andrea) Hudson after we played so poorly in our conference tournament. They have been so successful in tournament play and we talked about how they handled things."
However, the coach did take a certain matter into her own hands after the SSAC tourney. They practiced in the yellow shirts supplied at the conference event. Russell also pulled out some old, hot pants out of storage and made them wear them each day. "I wanted them to look like we played in the SSAC," she pointed out.
Yes, there appears to be a new attitude and spirit with this club, and apparently the changes the coaching staff has made are working!