Badger Athletics - Spring Hill College News
Junior Raleigh Downs scored the winning run on Wednesday
Junior Raleigh Downs scored the winning run on Wednesday
Softball - Wed, May. 29, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Spring Hill College softball team kept its national title dreams alive with a 4-2 victory over the Lubbock Christian University Lady Chaps at the 2013 NAIA National Championship Tournament Final Site at R.G. Jones Field on Wednesday night.

Badger walk-on freshman designated hitter Taylor Lahasky opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd inning with a two-run homerun out of left-centerfield against LCU starter Katera Eltsosie (28-7).

SHC freshman pitcher Caroline Sagrera (39-10) was called for three illegal pitches in the first two innings, but she also benefited from two Lady Chaps being called out at the plate for stepping out of the batter's box during bunt attempts.

The Lady Chaps (61-10) collected a single up the middle by centerfielder McKenzie Clemmons and an RBI double off the bag at 3rd base by shortstop Megan Sullivan to open the bottom of the 3rd inning. The Badgers then allowed LCU to load the bases with two outs off an infield error and a walk before Sagrera put an end to the situation with a swinging strikeout.

In the 4th inning, the badger flirted with disaster again when a leadoff walk, a single and two stolen bases put runners at 2nd and 3rd for the Lady Chaps with one out, but a foul pop-out to senior third baseman Mariha Partman was followed by a fly out to senior left fielder Katelyn Hinson as SHC once again dodged an LCU bullet.

The Badgers' luck ran out in the bottom of the 5th inning when Eltsosie connected on a double to the fence in left-center that brought in a runner from 2nd base to tie the game at 2-2 with two outs.

Sullivan drove the ball into the gap at right-center for a two-out double in the 6th inning and was moved to 3rd base on a single to center by first baseman Latainna Eltsosie, but Hinson made an over-the-shoulder catch in deep left to end the inning.

The Spring Hill bats finally awoke in the top of the 7th inning when junior second baseman Raleigh Downs led off with a single, was sacrificed to 2nd by freshman shortstop Sam Leach and then brought home by a single to centerfield by sophomore right fielder Shea Blanchard. Blanchard then scored off a bunt single by Partman that was compounded by a missed played catch at 1st base by the Lady Chaps to make it 4-2.

LCU refused to go away quietly in the bottom of the 7th, however, as third baseman Diana De La Paz and Katera Eltsosie each singled with one out to put runners on the corners, but a third call for hitting the ball while out of the batter's box and a tap grounder to sophomore first baseman Elise deBruler ended the game.

Sagrera and Eltsosie both went the distance in the contest with Sagrera tallying seven strikeouts with five walks and allowing 10 hits while Eltsosie had 11 strikeouts with just one walk and seven hits surrendered.

As the winner of the elimination bracket, Spring Hill (49-16) will face the tournament's top-seeded and undefeated Concordia University (Calif.) Eagles (51-3) on Thursday at 4 p.m. EDT at R.G. Jones Field. The Badgers will need to win twice tomorrow to earn their first NAIA Softball National Championship and the school's first team National Championship in any sport.