Lee Softball Ends Season In Super Regional

Friday, May 19, 2017
An outstanding season for a young and talented Lee softball team ended on Friday when they fell to 10th-ranked West Florida in a hard-fought 7-6 battle in the final game of the Super Region.

"What a great year. We are thankful for our seniors contributions to our program. They came to Lee when we were entering the NCAA and everything changed. They believed in our vision and helped us build what we have today. They made lasting impressions and their fingerprints are and will be on the program from here on out.
They made history for the school and our program and I am forever thankful for their hard work and dedication," said coach Emily Russell as she praised the senior leadership.

After a pair of scoreless innings, the Lady Flames jumped on top 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Annabeth Pruett reached on an error and took second on a passed ball. Kayla Louie put down a bunt single and Courtney Crawford had a one-base knock to score Pruett. Abby McKinney picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice that scored Louie.

The Lady Flames put a single run on the board in the fourth. Leigh Beatenbough walked and Sarah Merced was called on to pinch run. Pruett's sac bunt pushed the runners to second and third and Merced crossed the dish on a single by Louie.

Lee extended the lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning. McKinney doubled, Taylor Moran singled and McKinney tallied on a fielder's choice by Brooklynn Frazier.

The Lady Flames ran into deep trouble in the sixth inning when the host Lady Argonauts put together seven runs on five hits and three costly errors by the Lady Flames. The aggressive West Florida club picked up a key triple in the inning by Baleigh Boltz.

With the Argos on top 5-4 coach Emily Russell went to the circle and called on Beatenbough to relieve the workhorse Moran. The freshman hurler had pitched 34 straight innings over the last two tournaments. West Florida took advantage of an illegal pitch and an error to plate the two scores against Beatenbough.

The never-say-die Lady Flames came battling back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pruett singled, Louie walked and a fielder's choice by Crawford scored Pruett. A one-base knock by McKinney quickly took the margin to 7-6. The Lady Argos called on Becca Taylor to put out the fire in the sixth inning and she also retired the Lady Flames in order in the bottom of the seventh.

Lee (36-20) had nine hits in the loss. McKinney and Louie had two hits apiece. Crawford and McKinney collected two RBI apiece while Frazier and Louie drove in the other runs. Louie finished with a perfect 2-for-2 on the afternoon and she joined Pruett in scoring four of Lee's six runs.

Rhiannon Sassman paced the Lady Argos with two hits. Meghan Toney and Boltz each drove in a pair of runs. West Florida (45-13) only had six hits in posting the win and advancing on to the NCAA Division II Championship in Salem, Virginia.

Moran hurled five innings and allowed five hits and five earned runs. Beatenbough came on for the final two innings and allowed just one hit and an earned run. Sarah Maloney (14-3) picked up the pitching win. In five innings she allowed three earned runs. Taylor was credited with the save.  In two innings, she surrendered two hits and two earned runs.

"Last year we didn't qualify for the conference tournament and this year we were at a super regional. Today we played six innings of great ball but we couldn't get out of the 6th soon enough and lost by one. It was a tough loss but it's hard to be disappointed when you are looking at the whole season," Coach Russell concluded.

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