MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Huntingdon softball team saw its season come to an end after losses to top-seeded Piedmont and No. 4 seed LaGrange in the Great South Athletic Conference Tournament, hosted by Huntingdon at Lagoon Park.
The Hawks (22-22) fell to the Lady Lions 3-2 in a winner’s bracket game, before dropping an 8-2 decision to the Panthers in an elimination game.
In the contest against Piedmont (28-10), the Hawks committed five miscues, including a throwing error that allowed the game-winning run to score.
Huntingdon took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, when junior Barton Hunter beat out a two-out infield single to plate freshman Chasity Ward. Ward reached on a one-out single through the left side before swiping second and being sacrificed to third.
The Lady Lions answered with a run in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Michelle Crandall, tying the score at one each.
The Hawks took advantage of a pair of errors by Piedmont in the top of the fifth, when Hunter scored on a potential inning-ending fly ball that dropped in between a pair of Lion infielders. Hunter reached on a fielder’s choice, in which fellow junior Ashley Blocker was thrown out at the plate with just one out in the inning.
Piedmont rallied again in the bottom of the sixth inning on a throwing error by the Hawks to tie the score, before using a similar play to score the game winner one inning later.
Jamie Dennis, who was ninth in the line-up for the Lions, led off the bottom of the seventh by being hit by a pitch. Megan McClain followed with a sacrifice bunt down the first-base line, which Hunter fielded and tossed to freshman Brittney Calma. Calma tagged first and threw to third in an attempt to retire Dennis, but her throw went into left field, allowing Dennis to score the game winner.
Senior Kayla Bratcher took the loss, falling to 9-13 on the season after allowing two unearned runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief. The Lady Lions’ B.J. Cofer (21-3) earned the victory, tossing 7.0 innings and allowing just six hits and one earned run, while striking out five.
The heartbreak carried over into the elimination game for the Hawks, as the Panthers (25-20) raced out to a 6-0 advantage after three at bats.
Huntingdon scored its runs on solo home runs by senior P.J. Pringle and junior Mary Lawren Hill.
Freshman Melissa McClure (10-8) suffered the loss, after allowing six runs on four hits in just 1 2/3 innings. Shanna Brumbelow earned the victory, improving to 9-6 on the season.
Katie Ison and Valeree Williams each had two hits and a RBI for the Panthers, while Becca Abernathy drove in a pair of runs with a two-run homer.
Piedmont and LaGrange will now square off for the GSAC Championship on Sunday, beginning at noon. The Lions must be defeated twice by the Panthers in order for LaGrange to defend its three consecutive titles.