C-N sweeps Mars Hill in wild doubleheader at Mossy Creek
Carson-Newman’s Haley Taylor bats during Wednesday’s home South Atlantic Conference doubleheader against Mars Hill. Taylor, a former Jefferson County and Walters State standout, had a game-tying hit in the opener to send it to extra innings as C-N swept the twinbill.
JEFFERSON CITY — If you just glanced at the scores of Carson-Newman’s softball doubleheader against Mars Hill on Wednesday, you might think the teams decided to play slow pitch instead of the normal college softball.
Believe it or not, the Lady Eagles gave up 24 runs, 30 hits and seven walks and committed five errors and still got a sweep, having to come from behind in both games. C-N had an even better day at the plate, pounding out 33 hits in the twinbill.
In the opener, Caitlyn Lance’s game-winning single in the 10th inning lifted C-N to a 12-11 triumph. The Lady Eagles scored three times in the bottom of the sixth for a 14-13 victory in the nightcap.
Coach Vicki Kazee-Hollifield’s club is now 26-8 for the season and 5-3 in SAC play. The Lions slipped to 14-12 overall and 2-6 in league play. Beating Mars Hill is nothing new for the Lady Eagles, who now have a remarkable 56-4 mark in the series history.
The coach was obviously exhausted after the 5-and-a-half hour marathon. “I knew they would score some runs and that we would have to score a bunch, but this wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought we would pitch more effectively than we did today.
“Our hitting, we won that department today, we really did,” she added. “But we have to pitch a whole lot better and our defense, we’re usually known as a good defensive team, but not today. We made too many base running mistakes and I’m not used to that as well.
“But we will address those things first thing at practice (Thursday),” closed Kazee-Hollifield.
The Lions had things going their way, taking a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the fourth in the first game. Hard-hitting Jamie Hockaday, who was 6 of 8 on the day and knocked in nine runs, clubbed a two-run homer in the first and knocked in two more with a single in the fourth for MHU.
But C-N banged out four straight hits and later had a sacrifice fly to score four times in the bottom of the inning and then took the lead as Audrey Woodby doubled in a pair of markers in the fifth.
However, Mars Hill scored twice in the sixth and added three more in the top of the seventh to take an 11-7 lead. The Lady Eagles came back to force extra innings as Haley Taylor’s two-run single capped the rally.
C-N left the bases loaded in the eighth and runners at second and third in the ninth before winning it. Under the international rule, Sara Kelley started as the runner at second in the 10th. Brittany Hefner walked and Kelley moved to third on a wild pitch. Lance then delivered the walk-off single to left.
Kelli Hensley had three hits for the Lady Eagles while Cassie Lyons, Hefner, Lance, Brittany Bass, Elayna Siebert and Woodby all had two. Shaundee Woosley and Aleshia Peek got three hits apiece for the Lions.
Kalyn Davis, now 12-3, got the mound decision in relief of Sara Howard. Shelby Culler, the third pitcher for the visitors, was tagged with the loss.
The second game was even wilder. After a scoreless first, Mars Hill scored three in the second and the Lady Eagles responded with five in their half as Lyons’ two-run single was the big blow. The lead grew to 9-4 after three but the visitors plated four in the fourth.
Hefner smashed her sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the frame and Siebert tripled in another run to make it 11-8. Neither team scored in the fifth before the Lions banged out four hits and grabbed a 12-11 lead in the sixth.
But Carson-Newman came right back with three in their half of the inning, with the winning run scoring on Sara Kelley’s first hit of the day.
Taylor and Jessica Morgan led the Lady Eagles’ 16-hit attack with three hits apiece. Hensley, Lyons and Siebert all had two hits. Hockaday banged out four hits with Cori Dew getting three and Robyn Stanek and Lauren Saller two each for Mars Hill.
Oddly enough, the first game starters for both teams wound up with the mound decisions. Sara Howard got the win. She started the game, was relieved by Davis in the fourth and then re-entered in the sixth to pick up her 12th victory against five losses. Taylor Hussey took the loss in relief.
-By Derwin Helton, Tribune Sports Writer