Lady Senators fall in TCCAA semifinal round
GALLATIN — The 15th ranked Walters State Lady Senators saw their season come to an end late Saturday night after suffering a pair of losses in the second day of the TCCAA-NJCAA Region VII Tournament at Volunteer State.
The Lady Senators opened the day in the winner’s bracket final needing only one win to make it into the championship game for the third straight year, but they suffered a 6-0 setback against sixth ranked Chattanooga State in the opening game of the day.
With the opening loss, Walters State was forced into a loser’s bracket final game against a Columbia State team they had defeated 9-1 in the opening round of the event, but the late night game Saturday was a different story.
The Lady Senators fell behind early, fought back to send the game into extra innings but fell 4-3 in eight innings against the Lady Chargers to bring their season to a premature end.
With the losses, Walters State finished the season 40-8, and it also brought an end to the careers in Morristown for five sophomores – Andrea Eison, Taylor Green, Kendi King, Lauren Dreitlein and Tori Griffin. In two years, the sophomore class combined for a 78-17 record and made the program’s first-ever trip to the NJCAA National Tournament last year along with the first TCCAA-NJCAA Region VII championship for the program and coach Larry Sauceman.
The opening game against eventual tournament champion Chattanooga State (51-6) was a tough one from the start, as Green (16-2) allowed four runs – one earned – in the first inning and the team never fully recovered.
The Lady Tigers added another unearned run in the second inning and pushed one more run across in the fifth to gain the 6-0 win.
Walters State did not have a base runner in the contest until Eison reached on an error to being the fourth inning and Dreitlein added a single in the inning to put two runners on with one out. Lady Tigers pitcher Sharlene Godoy (18-5) worked around it however and got the next two batters out to thwart the best scoring chance for the Lady Senators.
Walters State had runners on in each of the final three innings, but no one moved past second base.
The nightcap saw the Lady Senators fall behind 3-0 in the third inning, with only one of the runs being earned against starting pitcher Emily Kendrick. Green came on in relief and held Columbia scoreless into the sixth inning before Megan Thompson took over.
In the meantime, the Lady Senators finally got on the board in the fourth inning. Olivia Lawson ripped a one-out double and scored on a two-run homer by Amber Cook to cut the deficit to 3-2. After Thompson (10-4) fanned three batters in the sixth, WSCC knotted the score in the home half of the frame on a solo homer by Erin Roper, her first of her collegiate career.
The score remained tied into the eighth when the Lady Chargers (39-23) took advantage of two errors and a passed ball to score the go-ahead run. Columbia State pitcher Shelby Dawson made the lead hold, as she fanned two of the three batters in the bottom of the eighth and got a come backer to the mound for the other out to end the game.
-From Staff Reports