Crusaders Pull Off an Upset in Opening Game for PBA at NCCAA Regional

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Communications

Mackenzie Johnson (Pictured) Doubled and Homered in the Opening Game of the NCCAA Regional on Friday Afternoon at North Greenville. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Mackenzie Johnson (Pictured) Doubled and Homered in the Opening Game of the NCCAA Regional on Friday Afternoon at North Greenville. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

TIGERVILLE, S.C.- For the second straight season the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Regional softball tournament is a three team tournament and also for the second straight season the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish hold the #1-seed. With opening round play beginning on Friday afternoon on the campus of North Greenville University, the Fish would be upended this time around as they fell 9-7 in a back-and-forth contest that saw NGU hold on for the two-run win.

The Sailfish (25-18) earned the #1-seed while North Greenville is the #2-seed and Emmanuel College (Ga.) drew the #3-seed. NGU and EC squared off in game one of the tournament as the Crusaders (18-23) took that contest 4-1 as a warmup to take on the Fish.

With the win over PBA, North Greenville now finds themselves waiting the winner of EC vs. PBA who square off on Saturday morning at 10 am. The winner of the loser’s bracket contest will have to beat NGU twice to claim the NCCAA Regional Championship and an automatic bid to the NCCAA World Series in Virginia.

Palm Beach Atlantic tried all three of their pitchers on Friday versus NGU with all showing varied levels of success. Junior Chris Donovan earned the start and went the first five innings while allowing seven hits and four runs although only two were earned.

With the score 6-4 in favor of PBA after five innings, the Crusaders posted five runs on three hits and a pair of Sailfish errors in the top of the sixth inning to pull ahead 9-6.

The Fish would tally a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to draw one run closer but could not rally for the victory as they will now have a long road to a potential NCCAA Regional Championship on Saturday.

Palm Beach Atlantic jumped out to 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a two-out RBI single from Brittany Schneider but NGU would tie the score in top of the third inning.

Back-to-back homers from Erica Walters and Mackenzie Johnson in the bottom of the inning with Walters shot being a three-run bomb put PBA back in control for a 5-1 lead before NGU would answer yet again.

The Crusaders responded with a three-spot in the top of the fourth inning and then their big five-run outburst in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach.

Brianna Parker (2-4) took the loss for the Fish as she was torched for five runs on three hits in just 0.1 innings pitched before giving way to Lauren Bubeck who closed out the final 1.2 innings of the game.

The Sailfish managed seven hits in the contest including two by Johnson who scored twice with a homerun and a double.


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