BENTONVILLE, Ark. – No. 3 Southeastern scored runs in each of the last four innings and added a 2013 Great American Tournament Championship to its regular season title by earning a 6-2 win over Henderson State in the finals in Bentonville, Ark.
The Savage Storm improved to 44-7 on the season and will be back in action on Tuesday afternoon with a double-header on the road against No. 5 West Texas A&M.
Mindy McElroy tossed three innings in relief and allowed no runs on two hits to wrap up her fifth save and earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player honor after posting three wins and a save on the weekend.
Lacie Cook, Jessica Simmons and Courtney Moore also earned spots on the all-tournament team for their outstanding performances on the weekend.
Cook turned in a 2-for-3 outing in the title game with an RBI and two runs scored.
Simmons scored a run and picked up a stolen base on the contest, while Moore went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Jacee Bennett got the start and tossed four innings, allowing a pair of runs on five hits with two strikeouts.
Cook's two hits led SE en route to nine total with seven others picking up a hit apiece.
Cook, Courtney Riddle, Moore, Paige priest and Bennett each logged an RBI.
SE found itself in an early jam as HSU pushed runners to second and third thanks to a single and an error by Kaija Morris at third base.
Morris, however, would atone for the miscue one batter later by snagging a popped up bunt and firing a shot back to third to a covering Lacie Cook to double off the lead runner. Jacee Bennett would end the inning with a strikeout to keep the Reddies off the board.
Jessica Simmons opened the bottom of the first by drawing a walk and two pitches later swiped second.
She then moved to third on a groundout by Cook and came home on a sac fly by Courtney Riddle to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Reddies would get two more runners on in the second on a hit and a bit by pitch, but Bennett would strike out the HSU eight-hole hitter looking to end any threat.
Whitney Hamilton opened the bottom of the second with a single, Morris would come in to run for her and advance around to third with one out. Paige Priest would lay down a squeeze bunt right back to the pitcher, apparently scoring Morris from third only for Priest to be called out for stepping on home plate during the attempt, forcing the runners to return to their bases.
Bennett again allowed runners in the third inning, with the Reddies loading the bases with two outs when Hali Kizer doubled to left, plating two runs to take a 2-1 lead midway through the third.
In the bottom half of the third, Cook drew a one-out walk and stole second and then with two outs Courtney Moore connected on an RBI single to right-center to plate Cook and knot the game at 2-2 after three innings.
Bennett sat down the Reddies in order in the top of the fourth and the SE offense took advantage.
Darrian Williams came on to pinch hit for Laramie Beal to lead off the fourth and doubled down the right field line.
A Lauren Renneker bunt moved Williams to third and a Priest squeeze bunt would score her for the 3-2 lead.
Cook and Riddle opened the bottom of the fifth with singles, with Kelsey Overacker coming on to run for Riddle at first.
Moore then attempted to move the runners up with a sac bunt, but the HSU threw the ball wide of first base and Cook would score and leave runners on second and third.
Shayna Milam would come in to run for Moore at second as SE would look to extend its 4-2 lead, but a Williams squeeze bunt attempt was popped up and caught in foul territory by the catcher who then doubled off Overacker at third to end the inning.
HSU would put two runners on in the top of the sixth, but the Storm would again get out of trouble without allowing a run.
Renneker then opened the bottom half of the inning with a double off the left field wall.
Dakota Palmer would come on to run for Renneker and move to third on a Priest bunt single.
Palmer would then score on a Bennett single to short for a 5-2 lead.
Both runners would move up on a Simmons sac bunt, but Priest would be tagged out at the plate on a failed squeeze bunt.
Cook then drove in Bennett with a single up the middle for a 6-2 lead which would hold to be the final earning the Storm its first GAC postseason championship.