Erskine wins first conference title
Flying Fleet topple Lees-McRae 2-1 to capture win
HARTSVILLE, S.C. – No. 2 Erskine defeated No. 5 Lees-McRae College 2-1 to win the 2011 Conference Carolinas Championship Tournament. It is the first time Erskine has ever won a conference championship tournament title in softball.
Erskine won the title game on another tremendous pitching performance by Kelsey Spurrier and a two-run home run by catcher Larissa Shannon. Spurrier pitched a complete game two-hitter giving up one unearned while striking out four and walking one. In the bottom of the third, Shannon blasted her tenth home run of the season, a two-run shot, to score both Fleet runs.
Lees-McRae picked up an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning. Kierstie Moon led off the inning reaching first on an Erskine fielding error. After being sacrificed to second, Moon advanced to third on a groundout. With two outs, Paige Coleman laced a single to score Moon, snapping Spurrier’s scoreless inning streak at 20.
Lees-McRae threatened to tie the game in the fifth but Erskine crushed the rally with two outstanding defensive plays. After a lead-off walk to Anna Carter, Bryce Campbell followed with a single to put runners on first and second. On the ensuing bunt attempt, third baseman Jocelyn Smith charged and fired a strike to shortstop Whitney Brown covering third for the force out. The next batter Meagan Knowles smashed a line drive that first baseman Colleen Gardner snagged and stepped on first base for an inning-ending double play.
The Fleet were led at the plate by Shannon who went 2 for 3 with a home run and two rbis. Center fielderMorgan Purcell also went 2 for 3. Smith had the other Fleet hit, a single in the third and scored on Shannon’s home run.
Magen West took the lost for the Bobcats going 6 innings and allowing two runs on five hits. She struck out two and did not issue a walk.
Spurrier was named the tournament MVP and Purcell, Shannon, and Lindsey LaPrad were voted to the All-Tournament team.
Erskine entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing 13-5 in conference, one game behind No. 1 seed Limestone College. Erskine defeated No. 7 Belmont-Abbey 1-0 in the opening round and got past No. 4 Mt. Olive College in the next game 5-4. In the semi-finals, the Fleet beat Queens University 6-0 to advance to the title game against Lees-McRae on Sunday. Erskine is now 24-15-1 on the season.