NCAA Division II Softball Championship
Four years ago, Florida Southern pitcher Megan Brown endured the hardship of watching Angelo State hoist the national title. Saturday in Akron, Ohio, Brown responded by leading the Moccasins to a 5-1 win over ASU that eliminated the Rambelles from the 2007 NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
Brown allowed the run on six hits and struck out four as she moved to 34-9 and advanced the Mocs (53-13) into a showdown with second-ranked Columbus State Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
FSC staked its all-America pitcher to an early edge and never looked back. Ashley Alpizar drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second on sacrifice bunt from Jesse Shepherd. After Sarah Kohlbrenner walked, Jackie Leppla stepped in and laced an RBI double down the line that put the Mocs up 1-0.
“I love pressure situations,” Leppla said. “I think this whole week is about that. I’m more relaxed. I’m more relaxed this week than I have been all season.”
“If you beat anyone this time of year, you have to be happy,” Florida Southern head coach Chris Bellotto said.
They scored the deciding runs of the game the next inning. Leah English singled to lead-off the inning, and Michelle Tatlock reached on a fielder’s choice. Both Tatlock and pinch-runner Jena Wolfersteig advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice, and Shepherd delivered a double down the left-field line that extended the FSC lead to 3-0.
Florida Southern gave Brown added insurance two innings later as Michelle Tatlock homered to chase ASU starter Kari Galm out of the circle. Galm fell to 32-8 on the year as she gave up four of the five runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Galm gave way to Brittany Cargill, and two batters later, Alpizar blasted a home run over the fence in right-center field.
The Rambelles got on the board in the fifth with Whitney Meeks’ single that scored Leina Braxton. ASU wouldn’t be able to rally as it did Friday, as Brown snuffed a couple of late rally efforts.
“I’m disappointed it’s over for us,” ASU head coach Travis Scott said. “I’m proud of our team for the way we’ve come out of the South Central region two of the last four years. Hopefully we can find a way to get back here. It’s never easy to get here; that’s why you have to treasure the moments when you do get here.”
Meeks and Kandace Kubat paced the Rambelles as each collected a pair of hits on the day. The six FSC hits each came from different players, with Shepherd driving in two of the team’s five runs.