CLINTON, Miss. - The Belhaven softball team saw the 2013 season come to a close on Wednesday afternoon, falling to top seeded Reinhardt University 2-1 in the finals of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round at the Clinton High School Sportsplex. The Blazers, the number two seed in the tournament, needed two wins to advance to the round of 10 and picked up a 4-2 victory in game one to force the if needed contest, but fell short in the second game as the Blazers wrap up the season 38-14.
With the win, Reinhardt (43-7) will head to Columbus, Ga which is the host site for the final 10 teams. The Lady Eagles will represent the Belhaven bracket at the event.
The Blazers kept their hopes alive with a solid performance in what would be the first of two games on Wednesday afternoon. Reinhardt had defeated Belhaven 8-0 in game two of the tournament, but the Blazers turned the tables on the Lady Eagles in game one on Wednesday.
Reinhardt struck first in the top of the first inning on a two out single to center field by first baseman Kelsey Floyd. The Blazers let a scoring opportunity go by the boards in the home half of the first when they loaded the bases with one out, but failed to score. Reinhardt pitcher Maddie Monroe induced a pop up and picked up a strike out to maintain a 1-0 lead.
Belhaven continued to fight and their perseverance paid off in the third with three runs crossing the plate. Second baseman Jordan Cole led off the inning with a base hit, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Courtney Fairley, and scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Denee' Crawford.
Left fielder Dominique Corona followed Crawford with a two out walk and then an RBI double off the bat of pitcher Katy Adair and a run scoring single from first baseman Haley Yasses gave the Blazers a 3-1 lead. The three runs were the first to be scored against Monroe in the tournament.
Belhaven tacked on an insurance run in the fourth when DP Jessica Paris crossed the plate on a throwing error. The Lady Eagles final run in the seventh was produced on a solo home run to left by left fielder Alexis Chumbler.
Adair went the distance in the circle for Belhaven and notched her 15th win of the season. Adair allowed two runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Cole and Yasses both had two hits for Belhaven to pace the offense.
Monroe was tagged with just her second loss all season as she fell to 26-2. Monroe allowed four runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Floyd had two of Reinhardt's hits and one run batted in.
Floyd and Adair went toe to toe in a classic pitcher's duel in Wednesday's second game. Neither side gave an inch going into fifth inning with zeros in both run columns.
However, Reinhardt would then get the only two runs they needed in the top of the fifth to take the lead.
First baseman Kandi Gates led off with a single to left center and then with one down center fielder Shelby Sinclair reached on a walk. Disaster then struck when Chumbler reached on a costly fielding error that also allowed pinch runner Amber Herrington to score. The Lady Eagles then manufactured the second run when Chumbler got in a run down at first allowing Sinclair to score from third to make it a 2-0 game.
Belhaven had one final chance in the seventh thanks to a couple of miscues by Reinhardt. Adair reached with one out on a base hit and then the first of two errors put Blazers on first and second on a batted ball by Yasses. The second error on a ground ball to the right side by third baseman Brittni Trawick resulted in Adair crossing the plate to cut the gap to 2-1.
With runners on first and third and one down, Reinhardt Head Coach Glen Crawford went to Monroe out of the bullpen to try and preserve the win. Monroe loaded the bases with a walk, but got the final two outs on a pop up and a strikeout to send the Lady Eagles into the round of 10.
Adair took a tough loss for Belhaven as she finishes the 2013 season with a 15-7 record. Both of her runs were unearned and she gave up just three hits along with two walks and three strikeouts. Crawford, Adair, Trawick, and center fielder Lizzy Hess each had a hit for Belhaven.
Floyd won for the ninth time in the circle with the decision going in her favor after 6.1 innings of work. Floyd permitted one unearned run on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Monroe got the final two outs for her third save of the season. Gates, Chumbler, and Sinclair had one hit apiece for the Lady Eagles.
#8 Reinhardt University vs #13 Belhaven University
May 15, 2013 at Clinton, Miss (Clinton Sportsplex)
Reinhardt University 2 (42-7)
Player ab r h rbi
Shelby Sinclair cf 4 1 1 0
Alexis Chumbler lf 3 1 1 1
Haley Brannon rf 4 0 1 0
Kelsey Floyd 1b/p 4 0 2 1
Kaley Garmon c 3 0 1 0
Amber Herrington pr 0 0 0 0
Katie Blair dh 3 0 1 0
Tyler Sampson 2b/3b 3 0 1 0
Kandi Gates 3b/1b 2 0 0 0
Lindsey Booker ss 3 0 0 0
Maddie Monroe p 0 0 0 0
Ashleigh Armstrong 2b 0 0 0 0
Totals 29 2 8 2
Belhaven University 4 (38-13)
Player ab r h rbi
Jordan Cole 2b 4 1 2 0
Courtney Fairley ss 2 0 0 0
Denee' Crawford c 1 0 0 1
Dominique Corona lf 0 1 0 0
Katy Adair p 2 1 1 1
Haley Yasses 1b 3 0 2 1
Brittni Trawick 3b 3 0 0 0
Jessica Paris dh 2 1 0 0
Lizzy Hess cf 2 0 0 0
Shelby Watson rf 0 0 0 0
Totals 19 4 5 3
Score by Innings R H E
Reinhardt University 100 000 1 - 2 8 1
Belhaven University. 003 100 X - 4 5 2
E - Booker; Fairley; Yasses. DP - Blazers 1. LOB - Eagles 8; Blazers 7. 2B - Cole; Adair. HR - Chumbler. SH - Gates; Fairley 2; Adair; Hess. SF - Crawford.
Reinhardt University ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np
Maddie Monroe L,26-2 3.0 4 4 3 4 3 0 0 0 0 10 17 3 3 69
Kelsey Floyd 3.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 9 12 2 5 34
Belhaven University ip h r er bb so wp bk hbp ibb ab bf fo go np
Katy Adair W,15-6 7.0 8 2 2 1 6 0 0 0 0 29 31 6 8 84
Pitches/strikes: Monroe 69/42; Floyd 34/21; Adair 84/59.
Strikeouts - Sinclair 2; Brannon 2; Floyd; Sampson; Cole; Crawford; Yasses; Trawick; Paris. Walks - Chumbler; Crawford; Corona 3; Paris.
Umpires - HP: Donald Finlayson 1B: Ken Allen 3B: James Naramore
Start: 1:00 PM Time: 1:37 Attendance: 179
Weather: Sunny and 80 degrees
Monroe faced 1 batter in the 4th.
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