Clinton, Miss. — It was a test of toughness and endurance on Thursday for the Lee Lady Flames as they were forced to play three games in one day as a part of the NCCAA Mid-East Region softball tournament.
The Lady Flames came up just short of the championship falling to Union, 5-4 in game three to wrap up a full day of work. Lee defeated Hiwassee (8-0) and host Mississippi College (11-4) earlier in the day to battle out of the loser’s bracket.
The region championship secures Union a spot in the 10-team NCCAA National Championship next week in Roanoke, Va. The Lady Flames (25-24) will hope to secure an at-large bid to keep their season alive.
Lee 8, Hiwassee 0 (5 innings)
Opening play with the daunting task of having to win four straight to capture the regional title the Lady Flames made quick work of Hiwassee College, winning 8-0 in five innings.
Lee jumped on the board early with a pair of runs in the first inning. Lexie Dean hit a sacrifice fly followed by a run-scoring single from senior slugger Ana Coscorrosa.
After two scoreless innings the Lady Flames opened things up with a five-run fourth inning thanks in large part to Tigers’ miscues. Lee scored runs on a bases loaded walk, two wild pitches and a throwing error to take a 7-0 lead.
Lynn’s infield single would seal the run-rule victory in the fifth and final inning for the Lady Flames.
Freshman Hailey Clark (3-7) was dynamic in the circle for Head Coach Emily Russell. Clark worked the full five innings, giving up just two hits while preserving the shutout.
Anderson was tagged with the loss for Hiwassee. She worked four innings giving up eight runs (six earned) on eight hits.
Lee Senior Meg Macias tripled and scored run. Freshman Amber Broome went 2-for-3 with a double while Lynn singled, scored twice and drove in a run.
Lee 11, Mississippi College 4
The Lady Flames sent the host club home early with a 11-4 thumping of Mississippi College in the 4 p.m. game.
The two clubs will be conference foes beginning next year when the Choctaws jump from to NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference.
Lee opened things up with a pair runs in the first inning. Ana Coscorrosa drove in a run with a single followed by a run-scoring triple from Dominique Hannah.
Mississippi College used that same formula in the third inning. A single by Bethany Fletcher got the Choctaws on the board followed by a two-run triple from Macey Lee to give the Mississippi-club a brief 3-2 lead.
Trailing 4-2 in the fifth inning the Lee bats came alive with five in the fifth and four in the sixth to cruise to the victory. The high-powered Lady Flames’ offensive pounded out 16 hits in the contest.
Lynn was a perfect 4 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.Dean, Macias, Coscorrosa and Hannah would each record two hits.
Benifitting from the hit parade was Lee starter Angie Hughes. The sophomore pitched seven innings giving up four runs on seven hits. She struck out four and walked only one.
Union 5, Lee 4,
Playing for the second time in as many days the Lady Flames let a three-run lead slip away in falling to the Bulldogs, 5-4 in Thursday’s finale.
Lee benefited from Union errors to jump out to the early 4-0 advantage. The Lady Flames scored on a fielding error in the first inning followed by a throwing error and wild pitch in the second frame.
When the smoked cleared Lee held a four-run advantaged and looked to be poised to force the "if necessary" game later in the evening.
Whether it was fatigue or unlucky breaks the Lady Flames gave up an unearned run in the third, two in the fourth inning and let another run score via a wild pitch in the sixth inning to let the Bulldogs take over the contest and win the tournament.
Annabeth Pruett worked four innings and gave up three unearned runs on seven hits. Angie Hughes (16-13) worked two innings of relief, giving up one hit and two runs and was tagged with the loss.
Kelly Robey (22-18) went the distance in the circle for the Bulldogs. She gave up nine hits and four runs (two earned) while striking out five.
Amanda Lynn, Lexie Dean and Laurel Allen each had two singles to lead the Lady Flames. Sarah Krueter had a pair of hits while Shelby Lamb drove in two for Union.