It’s been more than a month since the Chattanooga Mocs played a softball game at home, but they celebrated in a big way with a 3-1 win over the Lipscomb Bisons Wednesday evening, the Mocs improving to 15-13 with the win.
Actually, the game wasn’t really at “home” as Frost Stadium is still undergoing improvements, but Field Number 3 at Warner Park served the same purpose as a healthy crowd of spectators from both teams showed up for the non-conference game.
But it was nice to be playing in front of the home folks, regardless of which field, after playing the previous 18 games on the road, including a six-game losing streak prior to Wednesday’s win.
Chattanooga coach Frank Reed was just happy to get a win and to hear his team’s fight song playing over the PA once the game ended.
“I wish we could have gotten a few more hits as we got off to a slow start, but it was important for us to get a win today as we prepare for the beginning of conference play this weekend at Mercer,” he said afterward.
“Playing here isn’t quite the same as playing at Frost, but we had a bunch of fans here to support us and it was nice to hear that fight song at the end,” he continued.
Peja Goold pitched the first five innings and got credit for the win after allowing just the one run on five hits. She also had four strikeouts and one walk as she improved to 5-4 with the loss.
Taylor Long, like Goold a talented freshman, came in and hurled the final two innings and was lights out as she struckout five of the six hitters she faced. She also had three walks, but they were all stranded.
“Both of our pitchers today are freshmen and did a good job. Long is a strikeout pitcher, so she did what she’s known for as she came in late and totally shut them down,” Reed added.
The Bisons scored first with a single run in the third inning. Kaylyn Belfield led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Elise Shewmaker. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Presley Leebrink.
Goold then retired the next two batters to avoid further trouble.
Chattanooga scored its three runs in the bottom of the third.
Addy Keylon led off and stole second.
Kailey Snell was out after stepping out of the batters box before Emily Coltharp took a called third strike. Olivia Lipari then got hit by a pitch before a single from Acelynn Sellers plated Keylon with the tying run.
Jayce Purdy, who had struck out in the previous inning, then smacked a 2-1 pitch up the middle to drive in Lipari and Sellers with what turned out to be the winning runs.
Long made things interesting as she walked two of the first four batters she faced in the sixth, but got a fly to left by Josey Polk to leave those runners stranded.
Then in the seventh, she started off with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Katelyn Belding before walking Kelly Paulson. But refusing to be denied and feeling the end in sight, she struck out Belfield and Shewmaker to end the game.
Chattanooga ended the game with seven hits, including one from seven different players. Leebrick was the only Lipscomb player with two hits as the Bisons finished the day with five.
Brinkley Kita was the losing pitcher after allowing all three runs on six hits. She also had six strikeouts and no walks.
Chattanooga will travel to Macon, Ga. for a three-game series at Mercer, starting with two games on Saturday and one on Sunday. Another away game will be played in Atlanta on Wednesday against Georgia State before coming back home for a three-game series with Western Carolina.
The first two games will be played on Good Friday with starts at 3 and 5 p.m. while the third game is set for Saturday at noon.
Wednesday’s game was a reunion of sorts for a couple of former Baylor stars, including Chattanooga’s Sellers and Lipscomb’s Kamrie Rich. Most of the current Baylor players were in attendance, including head coach Kelli Smith, but nobody knows for sure who they were cheering for.
Rich, who has already graduated, is currently working on her Masters degree and has already been accepted into their doctoral program for Physical Therapy. She didn’t get a hit in Wednesday’s game, but did make a putout at home in the fifth.
LIPSCOMB 001 000 0 – 1 5 2
CHATTANOOGA 003 000 x – 3 7 0
Kita, Yakubowski (6) and Rich; Goold, Long (6) and Purdy.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)