The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta State softball team won both of its games on Sunday at the Charger Chillout in Decatur, Ala.
The defending Division II national champions defeated Palm Beach Atlantic 16-9, then beat Wayne State 5-1. The top-ranked Blazers (9-1) went 3-1 overall in the two-day tournament, which was hosted by rival Alabama-Huntsville.
In the first game, Valdosta State won a slugfest, outlasting Palm Beach Atlantic 16-9.
The Blazers jumped out to an early 9-0 lead with two runs in the top of the first inning and seven more in the second. Sarah Vaughn’s two-run single down the left field line drove in Courtney Albritton and Morgan Johnson in the first.
VSU’s Fran Johnson led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run. Four batters later, Morgan Johnson’s double to center scored Hannah Strickland. Shelby Altman singled in Albritton, and Morgan Johnson came home on an error by the center fielder.
After a pitching change, Karson King and Vaughn hit back-to-back RBI doubles, and Kylie Rusen followed with an RBI single, making it 9-0.
Palm Beach Atlantic answered with six runs in the bottom of the second. Four of those runs came on a grand slam by Lindsey Johnson, which cut VSU’s lead to 9-6.
Altman answered with a two-run homer in the top of the third. PBA scored a run in the fourth, making the score 11-7.
The Blazers loaded the bases in the fifth, then King doubled to right center, bringing home all three runners to make it 14-7.
Palm Beach Atlantic’s Kara Anderson made it 14-9 with a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth. Valdosta State scored the game’s final two runs in the seventh, on an RBI single by Albritton and a ground out by Altman.
Eight of the nine hitters in Valdosta State’s lineup had at least one hit, and five had at least two. Altman went 2 for 4 with three runs scored and four RBIs. King was 2 for 5 with a run and four RBIs. Vaughn was 2 for 4 with a run and three RBIs. Morgan Johnson went 3 for 4 with three runs and an RBI. Albritton was 2 for 3 with an RBI, and scored four runs. Strickland scored three runs.
Hanna Lythberg (3-1) was the winning pitcher, allowing three runs and five hits in four innings of relief.
The Blazers’ second game on Sunday was much different. VSU right-hander Kenzi Reed (2-0) held Wayne State to just two hits and one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings, and struck out four.
Ashley Steinhilber’s RBI single in the bottom of the second scored Fran Johnson and gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
The next time Steinhilber came to bat, in the fourth inning, she blasted a solo home run, making it 2-0.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, King drilled a two-run homer, which increased Valdosta State’s lead to 4-0.
Wayne State got an unearned run in the top of the sixth, but then Brianna Hancock came out of the VSU bullpen to get the final five outs for her first save.
Strickland’s RBI single in the top of the seventh made the final score 5-1.
Steinhilber went 2 for 2 with a home run and two RBIs. King also homered and drove in two runs. Rusen and Albritton had two hits apiece.
On Saturday, the Blazers hammered Lander, 11-1 in five innings. Albritton and Rusen had three hits apiece for Valdosta State in the win. King had two hits and drove in two runs. Altman also drove in two runs. Reed pitched a complete game, allowing one run and four hits and striking out six.
But in the Blazers’ other game Saturday, Samantha Krechlich hit a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to give No. 15 Indianapolis a 3-2 win over VSU. Albritton homered and had two of VSU’s three hits in the game.
Valdosta State will travel to Albany State on Tuesday for a doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m.