Claremore, Okla. (WBCSports.com) – There was little evidence of jitters in the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament for sixth ranked Williams Baptist College. The Lady Eagles softball team exploded with five runs before an out was recorded in the game on their way to 17 for the contest.
The 17-2 run-rule victory over Morningside College improves WBC's record to 41-6 and 1-0 at the NAIA National Tournament. The softball game was the opening contest in the Rogers State Bracket played in Claremore, Okla.
Karisa Hendrix pitched a three-hit complete game to earn her 22nd win of the season. The flamethrower struck out seven batters, while walking one. She allowed two runs, with one earned in the five innings from the circle. "I started out nervous but as the game went on I was able to get in a groove. It helped that we scored five runs in the first inning. When your offense provides that kind of run support, it allows me to relax," said Hendrix.
The Lady Eagles amassed 17 hits in the contest, including five extra-base knocks. WBC scored in every inning. They crossed the plate five times in the first, three in the second, one in the third, seven in the fourth, and one in the fifth inning. Williams' number one through four batters combined to go 11-for-17 from the plate with two home runs, a double, and 11 runs batted in. "The first inning was huge; any time you can score five in the first inning it opens things up for the rest of the game. Seventeen hits is a highlight. We have been in a hitting slump and we focused on our approach and were able to bust out of that slump," said head coach Eric Newell.
Shelby Anderson and Callie Brooks both hit home runs. Anderson drove in five runs to lead WBC, followed by Lauren Sweeten with four RBI's, "I was really nervous being a freshman, but it felt good to get a couple big hits. We came through with clutch hits today, and it has given us a lot of confidence," said Brooks.
The opening round pod play is being host by Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla. WBC is the top seed in the four team bracket. The winner advances to Columbus, Ga., for the final round of the tournament.