Florida Southern Pushes Past Sailfish in Softball Action as Extra Innings Needed

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

Mari Stokes (Pictured) Leads Off Second-Base in a Recent Home Game. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Mari Stokes (Pictured) Leads Off Second-Base in a Recent Home Game. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

LAKE WORTH, Fla.- Entering their third extra inning game already in the early part of the 2009 season, the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team was unable to come out on the winning end on Thursday evening as they hosted Florida Southern College in the first of two games against the Moccasins as they prevailed in nine innings by a 3-2 final score.

Having already defeated both #4-ranked Barry University and previously-unbeaten Nova Southeastern University in extra innings over the weekend, the Sailfish appeared poised to earn another big victory on Thursday evening against the Mocs as both teams were tied at two runs apiece after seven innings.

While the tournament rules enforced international tie-breaking procedures, Thursday’s action would be a fight to the finish after PBA’s Ashley Jones and FSC’s Brittany Minton battled to a tie.

Both pitchers put up zeros in the first four innings as neither team seemed poised to bust out against two of the top pitchers in Jones and Minton in the NCAA South Region.

Finally in the top of the fifth the Mocs broke through as Angela Williams led off with a single and came all the way around to score when Jones could not handle a grounder and threw the ball over the head of second-baseman Mari Stokes who was covering first.

Florida Southern added another run the next inning when second-baseman Peggy Alex delivered a two-out single and came home to score the team’s second run on a passed ball by the Sailfish catcher Erica Walters.

With their bats in an early-season funk and facing a tough pitcher in Minton, the Sailfish didn’t appear to have luck on their side going into the final two innings. That all changed in the bottom of the sixth however as sophomore Caitlin Bouschet lifted her second-homerun beyond the center-field fence that tied the game at two.

After both teams were held scoreless in the seventh inning and Jones once again shutting down the Mocs lineup in the top of the eighth inning, the Sailfish had a legitimate shot at taking the game in their half of the eighth.

Becca Bolinger reached on fielding error by FSC and moved ahead to second-base on a wild-pitch. Bolinger would advance to third on a long flyout by Chelsea Gravini. Now with Bouschet back at the plate, the Mocs chose to work closely to the PBA slugger and ended up walking the dangerous PBA shortstop. On ball four the ball skipped off the glove of FSC catcher Heather Raulerson which allowed Bolinger an attempt to score.

Raulerson alertly chased the wild pitch however and tossed to Milton covering to tag Bolinger out to end the inning.

In the FSC portion of the ninth inning, Jones retired the first two hitters once again before facing Williams with no one on and two out. Williams proceeded to get a single, steal second-base and scored on a RBI single to center-field from Natalie Lang. Sailfish centerfielder Gravini came up firing but just late in attempting to cut down the speedy Williams.

Despite their efforts in the final frame the Fish were held down and handed their first loss to a Sunshine State Conference opponent on the season.

Jones earned her first loss of the 2009 campaign as she drops to 4-1 now and finished with six strikeouts and only one walk in nine innings. Minton earned the victory for Florida Southern (2-0) as she allowed just three hits while walking three and tallying five strikeouts.

Williams was the top performer for FSC as she finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

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