“Ana had a monster day,” said coach Emily Russell. “She put us on her back and had some awesome at bats.” Coscorrosa raised her average to .469 and now has eight homers and 62 RBIs.
The 16-8 victory over a battling Olivet Nazarene University team earns the Lady Flames the right to advance to Columbus, Ga., the final site for the 2013 championship. Their first opponent in the double-elimination bracket is scheduled to be released later today.
All totaled Lee put the scoreboard operator on his toes by banging out three home runs and four other extra base hits. The Lady Flames scored in every inning but one and capped off the day with seven runs in the seventh inning.
“I could never relax until the seventh,” admitted Russell after her club improved to 47-9 on the year. “Over the years we have let leads slip away in national tournaments, and I kept thinking back to those games. Our pitchers had some control issues and we were not as sharp in the field, but our hitting took care of those problems.”
Lee jumped on top 2-0 in the first inning. Amanda Lynn, who finished the day with a double and a single, reached on a bunt. Jennifer Ringle followed with an infield hit and Coscorrosa was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Dezirae Parsons, who tallied a pair of hits and collected two RBIs, knocked in her first run of the afternoon with a one-base knock. Lizzie Stevens, who continued her fine tournament hitting, also singled a run home.
The Tigers struck for a solo run in the bottom of the first, but the Lady Flames went up 3-1 in the top of the third on Coscorrosa’s first homer. Olivet stunned the Lady Flames in the bottom of the same inning by scoring four runs. The key hit that helped put Olivet on top 5-3 came on a double by Hannah Gardner.
The Lady Flames continued to pound out the hits and jumped back on top for good with three runs in the fourth to take a 6-5 lead. After hits by Dominique Hannah and Ringle, Coscorrosa drilled a three-run shot over the left-field fence.
The margin reached 9-5 when Lee scored twice in the fifth and once more in the sixth. Hannah tripled down the right-field line in the fifth to drive in a run and scored on a groundout by Lynn. The single run in the sixth came off Coscorrosa’s double and an RBI hit by Stevens.
The Tigers fought back with two scores to cut the lead to 9-7 in the sixth and coach Russell started to have flashbacks again. A two-run homer by Cheryl Sendzik put Olivet back in the hunt, but that threat didn’t last long.
Seven big runs went up on the board in the seventh, spelling victory for the Lady Flames. Lynn doubled and Coscorrosa picked up an intentional walk, and Parsons made the Tigers pay with an RBI single. Stevens collected another RBI with a sacrifice fly and Jenevieve Cena came off the bench to collect an RBI hit. Meghan Macias also posted a hit in the rally and Hannah sealed the victory deal with a three-run home run over the center-field fence.
Hannah, who is the Lee home run leader with nine and also has the top batting average at .484, joined Coscorrosa, Macias and Laurel Allen with three hits. Hannah and Coscorrosa drove in eight of Lee’s 16 runs and scored seven times.
Caroline MacAusland worked 5 1/3 innings in the pitcher’s circle and improved her record to 16-4. Angie Hughes came on to hurl the final 1 2/3 innings. Caitlin Santefort was the losing Olivet pitcher. The Tigers finished the year with an impressive 48-9 record.
“I am so proud of this team,” said Russell after the win. “They have played hard to win these last two tournaments. They have faced great competition and the team is hitting well. The seventh inning made me glad we were the visiting team.
“I think it helped us get over the hump a little bit. This team learns from mistakes and overcomes obstacles. We have the most depth we have ever had and the bench is a large part of our success.”