ALABASTER, ALA. – Sarah Ellen Battles and Katie Parr each hit a solo homer, and Wallace State’s softball team rallied for a 4-3 victory over Central Alabama on Friday in its Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 tournament opener at Veteran’s Park.
Wallace State, which overcame three different deficits against the Lady Trojans, seized control for good in the bottom of the fifth, scoring runs on consecutive bunts for a 4-3 lead.
Sophomore Julia Dailey closed the door in relief for the Lady Lions, earning the victory with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Wallace State is seeking its second straight ACCC/Region 22 tournament championship, eighth in 10 seasons and 10th overall.
Battles, a sophomore from Hartselle, fueled Wallace State’s rally in the fifth with a leadoff bunt single. Jennifer Gonzalez sacrificed Battles to second, and Amber Hammonds followed with a one-out single to center. Elam scored Battles with a perfect RBI bunt single, tying the game at 3, and Taylor Beshears followed suit with a suicide squeeze, scoring Hammonds for the 4-3 edge.
While Wallace State (45-20) entered with a conference-best 67 home runs, Battles isn’t known for her power. Battles’ solo homer in the third inning was her second of the season, yet her bunt single to begin the fifth-inning rally was as equally important.
“I honestly didn’t think the home run was going out, but it was good to get the team fired up with it. We were hitting the ball hard. We just couldn’t find any holes,” Battles said. “I knew in the fifth I needed to get on base somehow. I thought I might be able to fool them with a bunt since I had hit the home run earlier.”
Battles’ teammates joined in on the bunt barrage in the fifth, sending Wallace State into the winner’s bracket.
“We just needed to relax and get the nerves out of the way. Once we settled down, I knew we would be fine,” Battles added.
Central Alabama tallied a run in the top of the first on a Nicole Hoots’ RBI single for an early lead.
Battles’ solo shot in the third tied the game at 1-1.
Central Alabama grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Destiny Perry. Hammonds gunned down a potential third run for Central Alabama at the plate on Perry’s single.
Wallace State quickly answered in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game at 2-2 on Parr’s team-leading 14th homer of the season.
Central Alabama added a third run in the top of the fifth.
Dailey (8-0) relieved Wallace State starter Brittany Ledbetter with two outs in the fifth, inducing a groundball to strand the bases loaded.
Dailey retired all seven batters she faced, striking out a pair.
Wallace State advances to play Snead State at noon Saturday. Wallace State swept the Lady Parsons in four games this season.
The double-elimination tournament concludes Sunday with the championship game set for 1 p.m. The winner advances to the NJCAA Division I softball championship at St. George, Utah from May 18-21.
Wallace State baseball sweeps Central Alabama
Wallace State’s baseball team maintained control of the second spot in the jumbled ACCC North with a doubleheader sweep of Central Alabama in Alexander City on Friday, winning 14-4 and 10-8.
Wallace State, the ACCC/Region 22 tournament runner-up last season, continues the series with the Trojans at home Saturday. The first game is set for noon.
“The biggest thing for us is staying consistent. We’ve been either consistently good or consistently bad during conference play. A lot of teams in our division have been in the same boat,” said Wallace State coach Randy Putman, a NJCAA Hall of Famer in his 27th season with the Lions. “This Central Alabama series is the most important series because it’s the current one. Everyone in our division has the opportunity to make the tournament, so we need to start playing well and get on a roll. Baseball is a game of peaks and valleys, and we want to peak at the right time like we did last year.”
Sophomore Stephen Dobbs has been consistent for the Lions (29-18, 13-9 ACCC), entering Friday’s doubleheader with a .327 average and a team-high 22 RBIs. Dobbs exploded on the scene last postseason, earning All-Tournament honors in Ozark.
“Stephen has been excellent for us. He’s picked up where he left off last season,” Putman said.
Turner Vincent is hitting .302 with three homers and 19 RBIs for the Lions, while Lance Cleveland has 15 RBIs.
On the mound, Jesse Scott entered Friday with a 4-1 record and 2.57 ERA. Garrett Suchey is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA.
Wallace State’s final regular-season series is next week against Shelton State.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit http://athletics.wallacestate.edu/
Wallace State Community College
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