Matak's Long Ball Lifts Ladies Past South Alabama
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary softball team improved to a perfect 4-0 at home this season with a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Wednesday over South Alabama. Bonnie Matak’s two-out, two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth put the Ladies on top 2-1 and the Maroon and White held on from there.


Centenary (11-15), winners of 9 of their last 11 games, struggled to put runners on base against South Alabama’s Amanda Legget throughout the contest. It looked for a while that the Ladies may have already had their best chance to score and missed the opportunity in the early going.


After a three up and three down effort in the top of the first for Centenary starter Stacy Whitmer, the Ladies put together a rally in the bottom half of the inning. Matak walked and Emerald Doria singled through the left side to put runners on first and second for hot-hitting Allison Shepperd. Shepperd entered the game batting a robust .455 on the season, but Leggett coerced the power-hitting third baseman into a double play to end the threat.


Legget only allowed one base runner over the next 4 2/3 innings, a single by Jennifer Martin in the third, but Martin was quickly erased on a steal attempt.


Meanwhile, Whitmer matched Leggett inning by inning as both hurlers posted zeros. The right-hander allowed only three hits, without a walk, while striking out four over four innings. The sophomore did make one mistake though, and Tara Donaldson made her pay. The Jaguars designated player took Whitmer’s offering deep to left field for a homerun on a ball that hit off the top of the fence and bounced over in the fourth inning.


Seemingly in control with a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Leggett continued to sail through the Ladies lineup, easily recording the first two outs of the inning. However, freshman Caitlin Cavarra fouled off several pitches and earned a walk to keep hope alive just before Matak stepped to the plate to deliver the heroics.


Head Coach Mark Montgomery called on Leslie Postles to pinch run for Cavarra, but on the first pitch Postles was not running as Matak fouled the delivery off. Montgomery then called for a player-coach conference with Matak, seemingly asking the freshman to take a pitch for a steal attempt.


Instead, Montgomery told his lefty to be ready for an inside pitch because South Alabama may be looking for a steal in the situation. Matak got exactly what her coach had told her to look for and the 5’3” outfielder ripped a lined shot off the scoreboard in right field, breaking two light bulbs, to give Centenary the lead.


South Alabama (9-11) was shut down in the fifth and sixth innings by sophomore pitcher Ryan Thacker, who relieved Whitmer. Freshman Lauren Highsmith then closed the door in the seventh, picking up her second save on the season after striking out two of the three hitters she faced.


Thacker notched the win, improving her record to 7-6 on the season with two solid innings out of the bullpen. Leggett (1-5) was saddled with the tough-luck loss, going the distance in giving up two runs on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.


Centenary will receive only one day of rest before returning to its home field to host IUPUI in a Summit League series on Friday and Saturday.