|No. 2 Chattanooga vs. No. 3 Charleston
May 12, 2012
|Boone, N.C. (Sywassink/Lloyd Stadium)|
BOONE, N.C. - A record-setting offensive season for the Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team came on an end on Saturday afternoon at the Southern Conference Tournament in Boone, N.C., with a 7-6 loss to College of Charleston. It was a heartbreaking loss as the Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off win with the winning ball put into play coming from Amanda Lonergan.
all boils down to how far you go," said head coach Frank Reed. "We haven't been here in this spot in quite a
while. We need to try to figure it out and learn how to play as a team. I feel
bad for our seniors, all three of them had an outstanding year."
Chattanooga seniors Michelle Fuzzard (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Jessica Traxler (Chino Hills, Calif.) and Vivian Morimoto (Sao Paulo, Brazil) ended their illustrious careers. Traxler was apart of three SoCon Championship teams from 2008-11, while Fuzzard aided the Lady Mocs to three NCAA Regional appearances. Morimoto, a transfer from Miami-Dade, was a key contributor as Chattanooga paced the NCAA in batting average over the past two seasons.
"This is a tough one to swallow," said sophomore Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.). "I don't think it's really hit me yet that I'm never going to play with those three seniors again. They are three of the best leaders I have ever played with. They were awesome and I have learned so much from them. I am going to take that and try to be something like them next year."
The Lady Mocs seemed to find their offensive fire-power with a six-run sixth inning, but three mistakes including one on the final play of the game over the course of the next six outs enabled Charleston to come from behind.
Earning the start was Fuzzard, who logged 5.1 innings and struck out three batters. She was responsible for four runners in the sixth that scored. Deason came in and registered two strikeouts along with allowing three hits. None of the three runs that scored off of Deason were earned.
Both teams were kept off the scoreboard as the game moved quickly over the first five innings.
The Lady Mocs had just one hit entering the sixth, but singles by freshman Sarah Beth Roberts (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and Poteat started a rally. A single by freshman outfielder Cheyenne Willis (Manchester, Tenn.) up the middle scored the first run of the contest.
With two runners on, sophomore outfielder Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) drilled a double into the gap in left center and took third on an error in the outfield, 3-0. The fourth run was driven in by Morimoto with a liner that dropped in front of the left fielder.
"We started a little slow, but we knew we
could hit off of her," said Rieck. "We just needed to hit the ball into the right spots
and holes in the defense. We finally started to do that in the fifth when we
scored all of our runs."
The big hit for Chattanooga came from junior first baseman Kasey Tydingco (Fairfield, Calif.), a two-run homer, to extend the lead to 6-0. It was the eighth home run of the tournament for the Lady Mocs, tying the record set by Chattanooga in 2008.
Charleston answered in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs on six hits with RBI doubles struck by Hope Klicker and Mackenzie Maples to cut the lead to 6-5. One run was unearned as the Lady Mocs defense committed a mistake on the infield with two outs.
The Lady Mocs need three outs to advance to the championship game and Deason recorded the first with a strikeout. A single by Ashton Jarrett to short enabled for a runner on base with one out. Deason notched her second strike out to sit down Kelsey Hodgson.
Charleston tied the game up on the next play as a throwing error sent the ball down the right field line, enabling the runner at first to score. Another fielding miscue by the Lady Mocs enabled for the winning run to score from second as the Cougars celebrated the walk-off win.
The Lady Mocs ended the season with one of the best offensive seasons in history including a team-record 65 home runs, paced by Fuzzard with 16. Chattanooga also shattered the team's double record finishing with 105 in the campaign.