Softball is clicking on all cylinders with sweep of GSW in Wednesday’s double-header; 2-0, 9-1. Improve to 9-2 record.
VSU freshman centerfielder Courtney Albritton hit a walk-off two-run homerun shot to secure the Lady Blazers first victory of the doubleheader against Georgia Southwestern Wednesday afternoon 2-0.
The rest of the team contributed tremendously in the second game with a 9-1 win leaving the Canes stunned and winless for the day.
The true freshman’s homer was one of the only two hits the Lady Blazers recorded the entire opening game.
Albritton began the day playing like a typical freshman striking out twice before her opposite-field slam and VSU Head Coach Thomas Macera loved seeing the young blood stay focused and come up big for the team.
“She’s a beast,” Macera said. “I don’t like singling out kids, but she is a freaking ball player and she doesn’t act like a freshman. That’s the difference.”
Both teams had a tough time getting on base because of impressive pitching from both star pitchers.
GSW’s senior ace Jessica Martin had seven strikeouts but found her no hitter interrupted in the final inning.
VSU pitcher Alanna Hadley led the Lady Blazers on the mound allowing just three hits and tallying seven strikeouts as well.
Martin committed two of seven walks in bottom of the first inning putting VSU in scoring position.
However, the final out of the inning came when third basemen Sam Posey was called for runner interference after she ran into GSW shortstop Janna Anderson.
In the top of the second, Hadley obviously starting settling in retiring the first three batters she faced.
The side included her making a difficult bare-handed throw to first and recording her first strikeout of the day.
During the bottom of the inning, Martin allowed two walks again putting herself in another early jam.
VSU was in a good position with runners on first and second base with two outs left in the side, but they were stranded when senior second baseman April Hutchens lined out.
Despite the missed scoring chance, the Lady Blazers continued to be defensive minded and it showed the next inning.
The top of the third inning was highlighted by a Hadley strikeout and great defensive grab by outfielder Morgan Johnson.
In the bottom of the inning, Johnson managed to steal second base after being walked.
Senior captain Marti Littlefield picked up her second walk of the day, but both runners were stranded once again.
GSW third basemen Gabbi Buck was caught looking on three pitch strikeout by Hadley in the top of the fourth inning followed by a ground out from GSW star hitter Avery Purser.
Purser leads the team with a .433 batting average.
The bottom of the fourth continued the pitching showcase with Martin finishing off the side striking out Hutchens.
Hadley wasn’t on the mound for long in the top of the fifth inning getting assistance from teammates on defense.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Martin was showing no sign of slowing down striking out All-GSC Littlefield and game one hero Albritton in the side.
The next inning VSU’s defense held with a three and out.
While GSW struggled swinging the bats, Martin showed no weakness recording two more strikeouts in the sixth.
The Canes looked to make a late score in the seventh with the score deadlocked at 0-0 when Buck hit a leadoff double.
GSW leftfielder Rachel McElroy’s sacrifice fly moved Buck up to third base.
With a runner 90 feet away from home, the Canes were in position to finally take the lead.
Hadley pitched aggressively and made her last strikeout of the day in perfect timing.
Littlefield made a diving grab in the infield for the final out.
This exciting play got Hadley out of a huge jam.
Martin, who held the VSU offense without a hit through six innings, saw her great outing squandered in the final inning.
Junior outfielder Sarah Vaughn stepped in as a pinch hitter and hit a single up the gap.
Albritton was up, and despite her rough at bats prior to the inning she connected for her third home run of the season.
“The first three at bats I was really frustrated, but the last at bat I was told not to think, just react and that’s what I did,” Albritton said.
UGA transfer Hadley picked up her fifth win of the season and is proud to have a young teammate who can step up for this team.
“I have just as much confidence in her as some of the seniors knowing that she can get the job done, and I think it’s awesome,” Hadley said. “It’s great for Coach Macera and the years to come.”
VSU got a lot more offensive production in the second game of the doubleheader forcing the officials to consider the mercy rule ending the game after the fifth inning because the Lady Blazers were up by more than eight points.
Julia Fink and Brianna Hancock pitched for the Lady Blazers in the second game.
After Fink put in 1.2 innings Coach Macera replaced the senior with Hancock who took credit for the win with 3.1 innings of work.
The sophomore only gave up three hits and zero runs.
The Canes took the lead early in the second inning when Johnson committed an error fumbling a sure out in the outfield.
Johnson redeemed herself in the bottom of inning when she cleared the bases on a double to left field pushing VSU to a 3-1 lead.
The junior finished the game with four RBI’s.
VSU continued to play strong defense leaving GSW runners stranded on base in the top of the fourth.
During the bottom of the inning, Posey hit a RBI single to drive Steinhilber home who was on third base prior to this play after hitting a double.
The defeated Canes were scoreless in the top of fifth inning. VSU, leading 8-1, just needed one more run to clinch the mercy rule.
Johnson in the bottom of the fifth hit a pop fly to centerfield. Although it was an out, it drove in the game ending run who was on third.
The Blazers move to 9-2 on the season while Georgia Southwestern drops to 5-9.
“This team is as solid as they get. We have the best defense in the country,” Coach Macera said.