Hartsville, SC – The top seeded North Greenville softball team won both games Friday in the opening rounds of the Conference Carolinas tournament at Byerly Park, defeating Belmont Abbey (NC) 6-1 in the opener, and then squeaked past Erskine 1-0 to advance to the semi-finals against King College of Tennessee Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Coach Sarah Hall’s squad scored three runs in the second and third innings, and sophomore Laura Hopper (3-3) scattered seven hits and struck out seven in the first round win over Belmont. Kansas Wofford and Sarah Armstrong knocked in runs in the second, and Courtney Campbell doubled in two runs in the third and scored on a wild pitch. Campbell went 2-2 in the game, Sarah Griffith was 2-3 and Wofford and Armstrong added big RBI’s for the Crusaders. Hall’s move to use Hopper in game one paid off as her ace, Rachel Glazebrook was fresh for the second round game a few hours later against Erskine.
Sarah Armstrong blasted a leadoff home run against Erskine, and that proved to be the only scoring in the game. Glazebrook was sharp on the mound as she pitched her third shutout of the season and raised her record to 12-4 on the year. The sophomore from Traveler’s Rest, SC worked out of jams in the first, fourth and sixth innings where she left two runners on base. In all, Glazebrook stranded 10 Erskine runners.
North Greenville raised its overall record to 25-9 on the year, tying the all-time record for most wins in a single season. The Crusaders have already established a record for best winning percentage in a single season with its extended run through Conference Carolinas.
“I am excited about how well we are playing because the coaches in Conference Carolinas thought we were a fluke,” Hall said. “All we have to do now is keep playing our game and not put pressure on ourselves. Laura Hopper had a great game in game one, and we used her because she shut Belmont down earlier in the season. We played great defense in both games and had a lot of timely hits. We didn’t hit the ball well in the second game, but Rachel (Glazebrook) worked out of several tough spots to win it. Sarah Armstrong’s home run on the first pitch of the game was huge, and she saved us with a big catch in the seventh inning as well.”
The Crusaders, which face King College of Bristol, Tenn. at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning, need to win only two more games to win the Conference Carolinas title and advance to the NCAA Division II national championship tournament for the first time ever May 4-6. Should NGU win, they would play in the championship game Sunday at noon. The loser of the NGU-King game, will play in the final of the loser’s bracket at 1:00 p.m. Saturday for the right to play winner of first game between the two.