On a windy Friday at Shuford Fields in LaGrange, Ga., Indian River Community College used an explosive offense and stellar pitching to jump to a 2-0 start on the opening day of the 2005 NFCA Junior College Leadoff Classic.
The Lady Pioneers of Indian River kicked off the tournament with an offensive explosion from Jessica Mendenhall in a 14-1 win over Illinois Central. Mendenhall kicked off the scoring for Indian River with a two-run home run in the first. She followed that with the remaining four of her RBIs on a grand slam that was followed by a solo shot from Melanie Denischuk. Denischuk, who was 2-for-4 with four RBIs, launched a two-run blast in her next at-bat.
Lisa Newman picked up the win for Indian River as she worked three innings and allowed four hits and a run while striking out six.
Indian River’s offense got held in check in the night cap by a tough Central Alabama squad, but the Lady Pioneers rallied with a pair of runs in the seventh to prevail 5-4.
Indian River jumped on top 2-0 with a pair of doubles, but Central Alabama rallied with three in fifth behind a home run from Shea Austin.
The Lady Pioneers tied the game in the seventh on a double from Jenna Schwarz, and she scored two batters later on a single by Sarah Backe.
Rick Church’s Blinn squad outscored its opponents 13-0 to move to 2-0 on the day. The squad scored all six of its runs in the second through fourth innings, and that was plenty of support for Anna Lamb as she hurled a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts. The offensive support continued for Blinn as Celeste Rickert homered in a four-run third. Rebecca Forse continued the Bucaneers’ outstanding pitching effort as she allowed just four hits in the complete-game performance.
Gulf Coast opened pool play with a decisive 10-1 victory over Georgia Perimeter, but the Commodores ran into a tough Wallace State-Hanceville club in the nightcap and fell 7-2 thanks to Tara Fair’s pair of home runs. Gulf Coast took the 1-0 lead in the fourth, but the Lady Lions rallied in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game on the first of Fair’s home runs.
Wallace State jumped on top for good with a pair of runs in the sixth, and they added additional runs in the seventh on Shannon Rozof’s two-RBI double and Fair’s second home run.
The Lady Lions roared to a 2-0 mark as the bats remained hot in a 9-1 win over Alvin Community College. Rozof continued her solid production at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Katie Veres collected a pair of hits with three RBIs to help Kelly Dison claim the win. Dison went the distance, allowing a run on six hits.
Chattanooga State opened play with a 2-0 mark following a 7-2 win over Abraham Baldwin and a 2-1 defensive struggle with Daytona Beach.
The Tigers jumped to an early 2-0 lead over Abraham Baldwin, and they padded the lead with three runs in the fourth on a three-run home run by Melissa Hendon. The round-tripper helped Hendon’s own cause as she went four innings in the circle, giving up one hit with six strikeouts.
The Lady Tigers took the early 1-0 lead over Daytona Beach, but the Falcons answered to tie the game in the next frame. Hendon battled Savannah Filley to the wire in the circle, and she once again provided the deciding offense as she lifted a sacrifice fly to center in the eighth that scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth.
Wallace-Dothan won its first two games of the tournament with an offensive explosion in a 9-1 win over Meridian Community College and a pitcher’s duel in a 1-0 win over Tallahassee Community College.
The Lady Govs scored three runs in the opening two innings, and the squad capped the scoring with four in the sixth off of RBI singles from Courtney Davis and Cary Walker.
Parkland also jumped out to a solid start in pool play with a pair of victories that came through a tremendous defensive effort. The Cobras opened the day with a 4-1 victory over Navarro, and they followed it up with a 3-2 win over Young Harris.
The 2005 NFCA Junior College Leadoff Classic continues with pool play Saturday at 10 a.m. Bracket play begins at 5 p.m., continuing Sunday at 10 a.m.