In fitting fashion it was two seniors who proved to be the difference makers in their final home game at Butler Field, as the Lee softball team completed a series sweep of the University of …
In fitting fashion it was two seniors who proved to be the difference makers in their final home game at Butler Field, as the Lee softball team completed a series sweep of the University of Montevallo (Ala.) with a 12-7 win on Saturday afternoon.
Stevie Baird, a four-year starter for the Lady Flames, gave her team a 6-5 lead with a three-run home run to left field in the third inning.
After Montevallo tied things back up with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, senior Claudia Jones delivered a three-run missile to right field that gave the Lady Flames the lead for good at 9-6. Jones would launch her second homer of the game and ninth of the season in the sixth inning to complete a five-RBI day.
"Our seniors stepped up in a big way today, and I was so happy to see them end their careers at Butler Field the way they did today," said Lee head coach Emily Russell. "They were composed and ready to go, which can be tough with the all the emotion of this day. This has been a tough year but I'm thankful for our seniors. We hit the ball well the whole weekend, and had a great approach at the plate."
In addition to Baird and Jones, the Lady Flames also honored senior Caroline Freiling, a selfless pinch-hit specialist who reached base in that role in the sixth inning.
Kayla Louie doubled and singled twice for the Lady Flames, while Lily Hatcher and Kiley Longmire had two hits each. The Lee offense belted seven home runs over the three-game series sweep fo the Falcons.
Zoe Miller drew a walk to help set up the four-run fifth inning for Lee after battling with Montevallo pitcher Abbey Pratt in a 15-pitch at bat.
Shonna Penney started and went the first 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs for a no-decision. Taylor De Adder (9-10) came on in relief and allowed just one run on four hits while striking out two to earn the win.
Pratt (8-6) suffered the loss in the circle for Montevallo, allowing seven earned runs in four innings.
The Falcons actually outhit the Lady Flames, 13-11, thanks to four singles from leadoff hitter Brianna Stella. Carlee Mullinax gave the visitors an early lead with a two-run homer to left in the top of the first.
The two teams battled a steady rain throughout the last three innings of the game, with temperatures unseasonably cool in the high 40s.
"I was so happy to help the team out today. I 'm so thankful for the trust that my coaches and teammates had in me, not just today, but over these last four years. It's meant everything to me and it fulfilled a dream of mine to play this game here at Lee," said an emotional Baird as she reflected on her career.
The win moves Lee to 22-28 and 10-16 in the GSC. Montevallo falls to 23-25 and 11-16 in league play.
The Lady Flames will look to ride this momentum into the final week of the season as they visit Auburn Montgomery with a GSC Playoff spot till within reach.
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