Gulf Shores, Ala. (WBC) - The Williams Baptist College softball squad is off to a fast start in the NAIA National Tournament. The 14th ranked Lady Eagles earned their second victory of the tournament, downing Thomas University 3-0 on Friday afternoon. Karisa Hendrix pitched a complete game shutout to earn victory number 31 on the season.
Despite having runners reach base in the first two innings, neither team scored a run until the third. Williams scored the first two runs of the game without the ball leaving the infield. Chelsea Sanders then hit an RBI double off the fence to plate WBC's third run. Felicia Woodard started the inning off with an infield single, and with the help of two Night Hawk errors she advanced to third base.
Wendy Eftink followed the hit with a walk and steal to give the Eagles runners on second and third with no out. After a groundout failed to advance the runners, Hallie Horton came to the plate and Head Coach Eric Newell put on the squeeze play. Horton laid down a picture perfect bunt, and the only play for the Night Hawks was at first base, allowing Woodard to score. Laura Tucker followed the squeeze play with an RBI bunt single to first allowing Eftink to cross the plate. Next, Sanders continued her blistering tournament with a laser off the fence in right field to drive in Tucker. Williams scored three runs in the inning on three hits and one error. "The small game helped us today. That's something that we've worked on an awful lot," said Newell. "When Hallie stepped to the plate, Felicia was ready. I just said get a great read and we've worked on this a lot, and it turned out to be a big run for us." Hendrix shut down the Night Hawks hitters from the circle for WBC. She amassed nine strikeouts in her complete game shutout effort. She allowed two hits and did not walk a batter. "We scored some runs, and as a pitcher that really makes me feel a lot more relaxed. You think, OK we're scoring so I don't have to worry as much. Once we scored the runs, I felt we coasted through the rest of the game," said Hendrix.
"Karisa was dealing it today," Newell said. "Her stuff looked really, really good. I'm not standing in the batter's box, I'm in the dugout, but it looked very good. Obviously it was, because she only gave up two hits." Sanders led the Eagles from the plate with a double and a single, collecting one RBI. She now has four hits in her five at bats in the tournament with three runs batted in. Woodard added a hit and a run scored. Williams pitchers have not allowed a run in the tournament. They have struck out 11 batters while allowing seven hits.
The 14th ranked Lady Eagles are now 2-0 in Pool C during the NAIA National Tournament debut. They will play the decisive game in group play against 3rd ranked Oklahoma City University on Saturday, at 5 p.m. OCU is 2-0 in Pool C and the winner of the final game will advance to the final eight of the NAIA Tournament.