HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Mackenzie Hill’s walk-off double scored Olivia Royals from first in a 3-2 victory for Wallace State’s 10th-ranked softball team over conference foe Shelton State on Thursday, capping a doubleheader sweep at Bobby McCracken Stadium.
Wallace State sophomore hurler Amanda Medders went the distance in the opener, a 5-3 victory, for her conference-leading 18th win and fellow sophomore Rachel Ragland struck out eight in the second game, keeping Wallace State (37-10, 8-0 Alabama Community College Conference) perfect in league action.
“Some people say Shelton State isn’t as good as they normally are, but whoever comes in here is going to play their best against us. I can tell you Shelton State is a good team. They’ve got good pitching,” said Wallace State coach Jayne Clem, whose team has won 15 of 16 games. “We scrapped out two good wins. We went up to the plate with a plan and stayed with it. Amanda (Medders) and Rachel (Ragland) both pitched great and players like Olivia Royals and Julia Dailey stepped up big time today. It was just a total team effort. We played a lot of different players between the two games.”
In Thursday’s finale, Wallace State grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Dailey.
Shelton State (15-15, 4-4 ACCC) tied it at 1-1 in the third and earned a 2-1 edge in the fifth on a Tanner Brown run-scoring single.
Wallace State quickly answered in the bottom of the fifth. Royals led off the inning with a double and scored on a two-out, RBI single by Brooke Kinsey, notching the game at 2-2.
Shelton State’s Morgan Burbage led off the seventh inning with a double, but Ragland kept her stranded, striking out the final two batters of the frame.
Royals, a freshman from Eclectic, started the seventh by putting down a beautiful bunt single and raced home for the winning run as Hill followed with a double to the left-center field gap.
Clem said Royals, who leads the conference with 30 stolen bases and entered Thursday hitting .411, was the ideal Lady Lion to have on the bases in the seventh.
“You get Olivia on and she’s virtually on second base. I have to rein in (assistant) Jeff Benson because he wants to have fun and steal her on the first pitch. You can’t coach the speed Olivia possesses. It never goes away. She’s one of the players who is coming through when we need them to come through,” Clem said.
Royals finished 2 for 3 with a pair of runs scored. Katie Parr singled and scored a run for the Lady Lions.
Ragland (13-6) scattered two runs on nine hits in a complete-game effort, recording eight strikeouts and walking only one.
In Thursday’s opener, Medders won her seventh start in a row, allowing three runs on seven hits. She struck out four, walked one and hit one batter.
Andrea McKenzie was 2 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored for Wallace State, Royals finished 2 for 3 and Sarah Jordan added a single and two RBIs.
Dailey finished with a RBI double for the Lady Lions, Leisha Yamauchi singled and scored a run, Ragland drew a pair of walks and Sarah Ellen Battles scored two runs.
Wallace State plated a pair of runs in the second inning, getting a sac fly from Jordan and an RBI single by McKenzie.
Jordan added an RBI single in the fourth and Dailey an RBI double in the fifth.
Wallace State continues conference action on Saturday, traveling to Marion Military Institute for a doubleheader.
Clem is two wins shy of 800 career victories at Wallace State. She’s currently in her 16th season with the Lady Lions, leading the program to a pair of national titles and eight conference championships.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
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Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu