Ladies Notch 30th Victory with Sweep of Western
Friday, April 25, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary softball team used a walk-off grand slam and a near no-hitter to sweep Western Illinois, 6-2 and 7-1, on Friday in Summit League softball action. It was a long day for both teams as game one went extra innings and game two was delayed for 43 minutes due to lightning in the Shreveport area. However, the Ladies persevered to collect their 30th win of the season.  


Centenary (30-23, 14-6 Summit) was in a bit of trouble in the opening game. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out double from Allison Shepperd to score Caitlin Cavarra, the Ladies allowed two runs in the second inning to fall behind.


With Centenary starter Stacy Whitmer cruising along and retiring the first five hitters, something went awry all of the sudden. Whitmer walked two consecutive hitters and was no where near the plate. Still with two outs, Beth Golitko stroked a liner to left field. Jennifer Martin started inward at first and then realized the ball was hit deeper than she had originally thought. At that point it was too late to make up the difference and Galitko’s resulting double plated both runs.


Western Illinois (8-27, 6-9 Summit) pitcher Lori Pankratz held the Ladies at bay over the next four innings until Centenary benefited from a bit of luck in the sixth.


Trailing 2-1 with two outs, Haley Bassett doubled to the right field wall. Lauren Flowers then lifted a towering, deep fly ball to left field, but Golitko camped under it at the warning track. It seemed the Ladies would come up short, but Golitko dropped the fly ball. Bassett scored and Centenary had new life at 2-2.


The game moved to extra innings where lady luck would show up again for the Ladies in the bottom half of the eighth inning.


Emerald Doria led off with a single, but was quickly erased as part of a double play when Shepperd lined out to right field. The Westerwinds’ outfielder made a sliding grab and Doria thought the ball had been trapped. She raced towards second base as the right fielder threw behind her to first base to complete the double play.


With two outs and nobody on, Centenary started a small rally. Bassett singled through the left side to keep the inning alive and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Flowers drew a walk and then Allison McClain’s dribbler to second base was mishandled by the Western Illinois fielder. The Ladies were again given another chance and they would make good on it one more time.


On the first pitch of the next at bat, Amy Wiedeman ended the game with a dramatic walk-off grand slam to left field. It was the fourth homerun of the season for the senior from Houston.


Ryan Thacker collected the win to improve to 16-9 on the season. She tossed five scoreless innings in relief of Whitmer. The victory lands her in fifth place all-time for most wins in a single season.


Game two would not be near as dramatic as it was decided with a six-run fourth inning by the Ladies. Centenary sent 11 batters to the plate in the rally and collected four hits, the biggest one coming off the bat of Martin. The senior sent a pitch from Colleen Biebel over the left field wall for her first homer of the season. It was a three-run shot.


Leading 7-0 in the bottom half of the fifth, the Ladies had a chance to end the game by the eight-run mercy rule. With runners on first and third with one out, a fly ball was sent to left field. It would have been risky to try and tag up, so the decision was made not to send the runner from third. The next batter grounded out and the game went on.


Freshman Lauren Highsmith (3-5) was throwing a no-hitter to that point in the game, allowing just two base runners on a pair of walks. Had the mercy-rule been achieved by Centenary, she would have had her first career no-hitter.


As fate would have it, the game did go the entire seven innings and Highsmith went the distance, surrendering one run on four hits. She also struck out two hitters.


Shepperd, Bassett, McClain, and Martin all tallied three hits in the double dip to pace the Ladies offensively.