Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tigerville, S.C.-  Tuesday was not just another double header of softball games at NGU. It wasn’t just the North Greenville Crusaders vs. the Brevard Tornadoes. For 3 of NGU’s softball players it was the last scheduled home game in their college softball careers. For Lindsey Eargle, Bridget Watson, and Ashley Warlick it was their last chance to play softball on the home turf at NGU in front of friends, family, and teammates.

Coach Jan McDonald could not have written the script better for the first game. It was "Senior Day" in Tigerville.

The Lady Crusaders did win the first game 3 to 2 and Kristyn Smith did have another gem of a game on the mound but the story was the manner in which the 3 runs were scored. The Crusaders started the scoring in the 1st inning. In today’s case, 3 runs equaled 3 seniors crossing the plate. Bridget Watson score in the bottom of the first inning off of an RBI fielder’s choice from Whitney Center.  Kristyn Smith would hold the Tornadoes scoreless in top of the second. The leadoff batter for NGU in the bottom of the second inning flied out to left field which set the plate for softball dramatics. Ashley Warlick stepped to the plate and with one swing of the bat on senior day hit her first career collegiate homerun.

Lindsey Eargle would not be outdone by her senior counterparts. In the bottom of the 5th with 1 out Lindsey Earle would knock a line drive double to center field. Eargle would advance to 3rd on a Hope Brewer sacrifice fly. Lindsey Eargle was feet away from adding a 3rd and decisive run. Up to the plate steps Karli Taylor. Taylor would score Eargle on an infield base hit to end the scoring. Kristyn Smith would go on to give up 5 hits and 2 runs in 7 innings of work. But to Coach McDonald the real story on “Senior Day” were the seniors. “Our senior girls who have been leaders all year accounted for all 3 of our runs today which was a very special feeling for not only me and the team but for them as well,” McDonald says, “I am extremely proud of our 3 seniors and wish them the best in the future.”

Unfortunately for the Crusaders the “Senior Day” was a two game affair. The Crusaders took the field of the second game high on their 3 to 2 win in the first game but in the second game of the day the team seemed to have left their bats in the locker room. “Our bats just weren’t there in the second game,” said Coach Jan McDonald, “we always have trouble hitting “junk ball” pitchers and that’s what Brevard started in the second game.”  Brevard would go on to take the second game 5 to 1 in 7 innings.
The Crusaders started freshman Taylor Roof in the second game. She would pitch 6 innings and give up 5 runs on 7 hits including a 3 run homer in the 5th inning. The lone run for the Crusaders would come in the bottom of the 4th inning. Karli Taylor ripped a two out double to center field and would later score on a Brevard error off of the bat of Whitney Center.

On a last ditch effort to come back and win the game Coach McDonald would send in relief pitcher Elizabeth Bruce and place Taylor Roof in the lineup to bat to no avail. The final score Brevard 5, North Greenville 1. Coach Jan McDonald said “its never fun to lose but we are going to move on. On Saturday we play Emmanuel College at 10 am in the NCCAA Regional Tournament so we are going to use our few days to prepare for that and try our best to win that tournament.” The Crusaders do have to more home games that are rescheduled makeup games on April 22, at 3 pm against Spartanburg Methodist.


Softball: Bridget Watson BRIDGET WATSON

Softball: Lindsey Eargle LINDSEY EARGLE

Softball: Ashley Warlick ASHLEY WARLICK