Sailfish Settle for a Sunday Split to Close Out the Charger Chillout

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

Box Score

DECATUR, Ala.- After freezing temperatures forced the cancellation of Saturday’s final game, the Sailfish softball team went back to work on Sunday in their final day of competition at the Charger Chillout in Decatur, Alabama. The Fish would take on two members of the Gulf South Conference and would come away with a 2-0 victory over Delta State (Miss.) University and a 16-9 loss versus No. 1-ranked Valdosta State (Ga.) University in the tournament finale.

The two contests presented two different styles of competition with freshman Amber Johnson twirling a four-hit shutout in game one versus DSU while the potent offense of both the Sailfish and VSU made Sunday’s final game look more like a football score.

Palm Beach Atlantic finished the tournament going 1-4 and returns to West Palm Beach to begin an eight-game home stand starting on Thursday, Feb. 21 versus Northwood University.

Game One

Taking part in another cold day of competition, the Fish (4-8) and Lady Statesmen (4-2) were scoreless through four innings as Johnson and DSU counterpart Brittany Gonzales traded zeroes on the scoreboard from the pitcher’s circle.

The Fish finally broke through in the top of the fifth inning by sparking a rally with two outs and nobody on base.

Miranda Welch started the rally by delivering a single and then advanced to second-base on a DSU error. Senior Kara Anderson then stepped in and came through with a run-scoring single while advancing into scoring position herself on the throw to the plate.

Another two-out single would then follow from another PBA senior in Brittany Jones who scored Anderson for the 2-0 lead.

That advantage would hold up thanks to the good work of Amber Johnson (Win, 4-3) who finished with eight strikeouts and just four hits allowed in posting her third shutout of the season. Johnson would retire the final two batters of the game via strikeout with the potential tying run on base.

PBA finished with 10 hits in the game as Anderson and Jones set the table at the top of the lineup by each going 2-for-4. Camille Benito continued her solid work at the tournament by finishing 2-for-3 at the plate.

Game Two

The finale of the tournament featured a matchup of Palm Beach Atlantic versus the defending NCAA Division I National Champion, Valdosta State Blazers.

VSU wasted little time getting on the board as they plated two runs in the top of the first inning and then chased PBA starting pitcher Kayti Lundin (Loss, 0-3) in the second inning by plating seven more runs for an early 9-0 lead.

The Sailfish would return the favor however in the bottom of the second as they scored six runs of their own and sent VSU starter Brianna Hancock to an early shower.

A bunt single with the bases-loaded by Welch plated PBA’s first run of the contest while a bases-loaded walk to Anderson gave the Fish another run to draw a bit closer.

After a force-out at the plate on a groundout, Sailfish freshman Lindsey Johnson delivered her second homerun of the weekend by popping a grand-slam over the fence that got the Fish once again thinking upset.

After a VSU answer of a 2-run homerun in the top of the third inning, it would take until the fourth inning for PBA to cross the plate again. 

Facing their third different pitcher, Palm Beach Atlantic took advantage of some shoddy VSU defense as Welch reached on an error, moved up a base on a passed ball and then came in to score on a Benito RBI single.

Following a three-run fifth for VSU, PBA answered back again with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning thanks to a 2-run triple from Anderson that scored Welch and pinch-runner Sarah Gosciniak.

Valdosta put the game at a more comfortable margin however in the seventh as they scored two more times while holding PBA off the scoreboard in the seventh for a 16-9 win.

The Sailfish managed nine hits in the loss including a 2-for-4 showing from Mackenzie Johnson while Welch scored three times while going 1-for-3.

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