The Pirate softball team traveled to Bay Minette, Alabama on Thursday and split a double-header with Coastal Alabama-South.
In the first game the Pirates got on the board first when Kaeleen Koehler mashed a 2-run home run to right field. In the bottom of the third inning Coastal capitalized on a error to make the score 2-1. The top of the fifth saw the Pirates extend their lead to 3-1 thanks to a homer off the bat of Natalie Sorensen. Unfortunately Coastal used a couple of doubles to pull ahead 4-3 in the bottom half of the fifth. The Pirates threatened in the top of the seventh by loading the bases, but a flyout ended the game. Kayla Leibman and Danielle de Ruiter each picked up two hits in the game.
The second game turned into a slugfest and the Pirates finally prevailed in the ninth inning to take the 14-11 win. Again the Pirates struck first when they plated two runs on a single off the bat of Madison Marshall. Coastal plated one run in the bottom of the first to make the score 2-1 and then used a home run in the second to take a 4-2 lead. Coastal extended their lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the third courtesy of another home run.
The score held until the top of the fifth when back-to-back doubles from Alexis Guzman and Marshall made it 6-3 and then Shelby Thornsberry drove a triple to right field to make it 6-4. A double from de Ruiter pulled the Pirates within one before a single from Lia Johnson tied the game at six.
In the sixth inning the Pirates used a couple of errors to their advantage and took a 7-6 lead. Later in the seventh they extended their lead to two runs on an RBI-single from Koehler. Unfortunately Coastal used a couple of singles and a sacrifice fly to tie the game in their half of the inning.
The international tie-breaker went into effect in the eighth inning and each team had a runner placed on second base to start the inning. The Pirates used a double from Natalie Sorensen to go ahead 9-8 right away. They extended their lead to 11-8 with the help of RBI singles from Johnson and Leibman. Coastal used three singles to again tie the ballgame and the teams proceeded to the ninth inning.
The Pirates got things rolling in the ninth with a sacfrice fly from Thornsberry to go ahead by one run and then a double from Sorensen gave PSC a 14-11 lead. Jensen Strickland, the Pirates fourth pitcher of the game then shutdown the Sun Chiefs in the bottom half of the inning and the game was finally over.
While it was a pitcher by committee game, Strickland (1.2 innings pitched, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 strikeout) was credited with the win while Rayfield also had a strong contribution (2.2 innings pitched, 0 runs, 4 hits, 1 strikeout).
The Pirates have a little bit of a break and will not return to action until they travel to Sanford, Florida for a tournament hosted by Seminole State on March 3 & 4.
Photo courtesy: Sarah Demuth