COLUMBUS, Ga. — The third-ranked Lee University softball team will play for the Southern States Athletic Conference championship, but will have to wait until Mother Nature allows the final games to be played.
The Lady Flames (43-9) earned their shot at the crown using a combination of solid pitching and timely hitting en route to a pair of victories in the SSAC Tournament play Friday. Lee defeated Spring Hill College, 5-1 in game two. Earlier in the day the Lady Flames knocked off Belhaven, 3-2 in their final at bat.
Play at the tournament in south Georgia was halted Saturday while Belhaven and Auburn-Montgomery were in the third inning of an elimination game, the winner of which will battle Spring Hill for the right to tangle with the Lady Flames for the league title.
After a 25-hour delay, play is intented to resume at 3 this afternoon, weather permitting, with the championship game(s) slated for this evening.
LADY FLAMES 5
SPRING HILL 1
Led by Ana Coscorrosa's three RBI the Lady Flames punched their ticket to the championship game with a 5-1 victory over Spring Hill in game two.
Lee jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage thanks to a two-run double from Coscorrosa in the bottom of the first inning. From there Jessa Watts(6-2) took over in the circle working four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out two to earn her sixth victory of the season.
The Badgers cut into the lead with a solo home run by Taylor Lahasky off Lee reliever Katie Deems. Lahasky finished 2-for-2. Deems worked two innings of relief giving up one run on one hit.
Lee would then open things up with a three-run sixth inning to help put the game away. Coscorrosa drove in her third run of the ball game with a single up the middle. Jennifer Ringle scored on a wild pitch and Meghan Macias capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Amanda Lynn added two more hits and scored two runs for the Lady Flames. Dominique Hannah, Charlie Wooden and Ringle each singled as Lee finished with seven hits in the contest.
Lady Flames game one starter Caroline MacAusland followed Deems and worked a scoreless seventh while striking out two.
LADY FLAMES 3
Meghan Macias delivered a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Lee a 3-2 victory over No. 12 Belhaven University in game one on Friday afternoon.
The Lady Flames took a 2-1 lead into the top the seventh inning but the pesky Blazers would not go quietly as they loaded the bases with nobody out off of Lee starter Caroline MacAusland. That's when Lee coach Emily Russell called on Angie Hughes to come on in relief. Hughes was able to induce a fielder's choice to cut down the would be tying run at the plate for the first out in the inning.
The second out came in a very unconventional sequence as Hughes struck out Belhaven's Shelby Watson on a pitch in the dirt but allowed the tying run to score on what was ruled a wild pitch as the ball scooted away from Macias. Hughes proceeded to strike out the next batter to retire the side.
The Lee offense would respond in the bottom of the seventh. SSAC Player of the Year Dominique Hannah lead off the inning with a single. After a strikeout, Jennifer Ringle singled to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Ana Coscorrosa then grounded into a fielder's choice to force out Ringle and put runners on the corner with two outs. The Lady Flames loaded the bases when Dezirae Parsons was hit by a pitch, setting the stage for Macias. The junior from Orange County, Calif. followed with a single down the left field line to score Hannah and seal the victory for the Lady Flames.
MacAusland, who earlier in the weekend was in the hospital with a serious stomach virus, delivered six-plus quality innings for Lee giving up just two runs on five hits while striking out 10 Belhaven batters. "I was a concerned with Caroline's (MacAusland) strength after having been sick for the past few days." noted Russell. "She pitched a great game though and really showed her toughness out there today."
Hughes (17-2) was credited with the victory as she worked a scoreless inning of relief while striking out two. Belhaven's Katy Adair (12-5) was tagged with the loss. Adair worked 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on 10 hits to go along with five punch outs.
Courtney Fairley but the Blazers up briefly in the top of the fourth inning when she drilled an RBI double into the gap to score Jordan Cole. The Lady Flames would answer back with a two-run fourth of their own. Parsons delivered a run-scoring single for one of her two hits in the game and Savanna Bell brought home the second run on a ground out.