Lance's late home run lifts Lady Eagles past Catawba, 3-2
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Caitlyn Lance hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning as Carson-Newman College rallied for a 3-2 victory over Catawba College in an elimination game at the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Softball Championship Friday evening at Red Edmonds Field.
The fourth-seeded Lady Eagles (33-21) advance to face fifth-seeded Tusculum in an elimination game Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The Pioneers defeated the Eagles 5-1 in the opening game of the tournament Thursday morning. The No. 2-seeded Indians were the second team C-N eliminated from the tournament. Earlier Friday morning Carson-Newman ended Mars Hill's season with a 10-4 victory at Chuckey-Doak High School.
Catawba had runners on base in every inning against Carson-Newman starter Mary Shealy (33-17), who walked four in addition to allowing 10 hits, but stranded 11 runners on base including five in scoring position. Carson-Newman finished with six hits off Catawba starter Brittany Murray (16-10), including Lance's seventh home run of the season with one out in the sixth.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Lauren Lewis, but the Eagles knotted the game at 1-1 in the fourth as Bri Shoemake led off with a single and came around to score on an RBI single by Sara Kelley. Catawba regained a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Lewis' second RBI single of the game, but left the bases loaded.
In the sixth, Shoemake led off by drawing a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice by Shealy. Lance then slugged a 3-2 pitch from Murray over the fence in left to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 3-2.
"I have a signal for when my gut says, 'you've got a change-up coming,'" C-N coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "She (Lance) since on that pitch and when she gets her hands extended, that ball is going to go."
Catawba put a runner at third base in each of the last two innings, but Shealy worked out of trouble both times to lock up the win.
"It wasn't looking to good," Kazee-Hollifield said. "We got a break with the kid leaving the base early. The umpire is right there and on top of his game. It gave us some breathing room. The kids still had to play defense and get three outs."
Shoemake finished 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored for the Eagles, while four players had two hits apiece for the Indians. Tara Gibbs reached in three of her four trips for Catawba with two singles and a walk, and Amanda Terry went 2-for-4 with a double.