Lee Softball Sweeps West Georgia

Saturday, April 21, 2018
 2018 Seniors Leigh Beatenbough and Sarah Merced with Lee coaching staff
2018 Seniors Leigh Beatenbough and Sarah Merced with Lee coaching staff
In one of the more thrilling victories in Butler Field history the Lee softball team rallied from three runs down in the bottom of the seventh on a three-run home run from Bailey Church and eventually claimed the 7-6 win and series sweep of West Georgia on Taylor Moran's single in the ninth frame on Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Flames led 3-0 heading to the sixth inning behind five shutout innings in the circle from senior Leigh Beatenbough, making her final start at Butler Field in what has been an outstanding four-year career.
Beatenbough went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits. She walked four and punched out four batters.

The Wolves three runs in the sixth inning on a three-run blast from Cassie Henderson to tie the game. Erika Greek then came on in relief and left the bases loaded to keep the score tied.

The Wolves would add three more in the eighth inning and appeared set to avoid the sweep with two outs and two strikes on Church before she electiryifed the home crowd with an opposite field home run into the home bullen to tie things back up at 6-6.

The Lady Flames won the game in the ninth after West Georgia walked three straight batters to set up Moran's walk off hit.

Greek (4-4) won her second game of the day after starting and going in the distance in game one's victory. Greek struck out four, walked three and gave up three runs, two earned in 3.1 innings.

The Lady Flames' offense kept the bats hot with 13 more hits in the nightcap. Kayla Louie, Stevie Baird and Moran had two hits each. Claudia Jones doubled while senior Sarah Merced made her final game at Butler Field count with a single, a walk and scored the winning run.

"I'm so proud of the seniors and so happy we could send them out the appropriate way with such an exciting victory," said head coach Emily Russell. "They have given so much to this program over the last four years and are leaders on and off the field."

Raya Moncus went eight innings for the Wolves and gave up 11 hits, six runs, five earned. She struck out four and did not surrender a walk. Lexie Close (4-2) was tagged with the loss as she pitched eight straight balls in the final frame.

West Georgia's leadoff hitter Alley Taylor had three singles and drove in two. Henderson singled and drilled the big home run in the sixth while Lexie Stohr also had two base knocks in the contest.

The series sweep sends Lee to 25-26 overall and 13-17 in league play allowing the Lady Flames to control their own destiny with the final GSC playoff spot on the line in the final series of the regular season next week at Shorter. The Wolves fall to 24-25 and 9-21 in the GSC.

"We have positioned ourselves to accomplish something that a few weeks back seemed out of reach," added Russell. "To be where we were and keep fighting and have a great opportunity to make the GSC Tournament is a tribute to the character and fight of these girls."

The Lee offense scored 29 runs on 38 hits over the three-game series and only struck out seven times.

Erika Greek went all six innings and the Lee offense kept sizzling with a seven-run sixth to earn an 11-3 run-rule victory over West Georgia in Saturday's opener.

Abby McKinney was a perfect 3 for 3 with three doubles and four RBI and ended the game with a two-run double in the sixth. Brooklynn Frazier went 3 for 4 and launched her fifth home run the season in first inning to give Lee a 2-1 advantage.

Stevie Baird doubled and singled and Louie singled twice to add to the 13-hit attack. Taylor Moran doubled and drove in two as a part of seven run outburst in the sixth inning.

Greek kept the Wolves at bay and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out four.

West Georgia's Taylor gave the Wolves a brief 2-1 advantage with a two-run home run in the third inning but the Lady Flames had an immediate answer with one of McKinney's three two-baggers in the bottom of the inning.

Katie Foote (9-7) was hit with the loss for the Wolves as she pitched five inning allowing six runs on nine hits. Taylor subbed in for 1/3 of the inning and was rocked for five runs on four hits.

The Lee softball team sent nine batters to the plate and scored five times in the first inning to set the tone as it rolled past West Georgia, 11-2 in five innings in Friday's Gulf South Conference series opener from Butler Field.

The Lady Flames repeated the feat with five more runs in the second inning to put the game out of reach.

Stevie Baird led the way for the high-powered Lee offense with a RBI double in the first and a three-run homer to right center in the second.

Claudia Jones doubled home two in the first inning and added a sacrifice fly in the second to account for three RBI. Sophomore outfielder Abby McKinney went 2 for 2 and drove in a pair of runs to add to the 12-hit parade.

Lily Hatcher singled twice and scored two runs, Taylor Moran drove in a run to add to her league leading RBI total with 57 while senior Sarah Merced drove in a run in two plate appearances.

The offensive explosion was more than enough to support senior Leigh Beatenbough in the circle. The Canon, Ga. native entered her final home series at Butler Field second in program history in career winning percentage at 667. Beatenbough earned her 13th win of the season with four innings shutout innings allowing just two hits while striking out four.

"We responded to some challenges in practice yesterday by coming out strong today," said head coach Emily Russell. "We met our goals and hopefully can stay focused and meet our goals for game 2 and 3."

Danielle Easterly (3-8) lasted just 1.2 innings allowing 10 runs, five earned on eight hits for the visitors. Katie Foote tossed the final 2.1 and yielded a run on four hits while fanning three.

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