The East Central University softball saw the 2014 season come to an end with a 3-4 loss to Henderson State in the 2014 Great American Conference Tournament at the Tiger Athletic Complex. The Lady Tigers finished the season with a 33-25 overall record and a 23-18 mark in the GAC.
ECU was led by junior Kaile Marcum in the final day of the tournament. Marcum tallied two hits for the day and six over the three games, for a .500 average. Sophomore Autumn Suydam added a hit, run and RBI for the day.
Junior Jordynn VanPelt was held without a hit today, but had a batting average of .417 for the tournament, with five hits, three runs and three RBIs.
Sophomore Lacey Paulk suffered the loss in the circle against the Lady Reddies (30-24), throwing the last 1.1 innings. Redshirt freshman Sydney Dow started the game and struck out four batters, allowed one run and seven hits.
The Lady Tigers were the first to get a run on the scoreboard, with one in the top of the second. Freshman Nicole Nordie started the inning with a double to right center and was sent to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Chelsea Patterson. The next batter was retired, but junior Samantha McGraw earned a single through the left side for the RBI.
The Lady Reddies knotted the game at one with a run in the bottom of the third.
ECU added a run in the top of the sixth. After the first out, sophomore Autumn Suydam hit a bunt single. Senior Gina Mengwasser then hit a fielder’s choice that resulted in an error and left both runners on. Sophomore Jordynn VanPelt also added a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases. The run then scored when Nordie hit another fielder’s choice to score Suydam and the 2-1 advantage.
The Lady Reddies had a strong chance to score in the bottom of the sixth, with the bases loaded and no outs, however the Lady Tiger defense was able to get the lead runner out at home, catch a pop-up and they a fly to left to end the inning.
The Lady Tigers then added a run in the top of the seventh for a 3-1 lead. Junior Lacey Williams singled and was sent to second on a sacrifice bunt from McGraw. Sophomore Lauren Reeves and Marcum each singled to load the bases with no outs. That allowed Suydam to earn the RBI with a ground out to second.
HSU had the final chance of the game and started the inning with a single and error to put a runner on second. The next batter grounded out, but the following hit into a fielder choice that left no one out after a run down with the runner at third. Amber Klug that hit a game-winning home run to left to end the game with a 3-4 score.
ECU ended the season with a .328 team batting average and had one player hit over .400 for the year and six more over .300. The Lady Tigers will lose just two players to graduation in seniors Gina Mengwasser and Tarra Underhill-Christy.