MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Walters State softball coach Larry Sauceman recorded his 900th career victory Wednesday afternoon and did it in grand fashion as the Lady Senators swept a pair of mercy rule games over visiting Spartanburg Methodist at the Walters State Softball Complex.
Walters State opened the day scoring 14 straight runs in the opener before seeing a possible shutout wilt away in the fifth and final inning in a 14-5 victory before rolling to an 8-0 victory in the nightcap. The second victory pushed Sauceman's career total to 900 wins.
With the sweep, the Lady Senators are now 28-17 on the year heading into the final regular season games this weekend.
The losses ended an eight-game winning streak for the Lady Pioneers, as they fell to 19-23 on the campaign. The two teams had split a pair of one-run games in Spartanburg on Feb. 27.
The Lady Senators opened the first game with a bang, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a three-run homer by Emily Whitaker, her fourth of the year, and Erin Foster clocked her third round tripper of the year in the second frame to add to the lead. Sydney Fox added an RBI double, Taylor McConnell drew a bases loaded walk and Whitaker scored on a wild pitch to increase the margin to 7-0 after two.
After Delilah Malczewski worked out of a jam in the third frame, stranding runners on the corners, the Lady Senators added to the lead in the home half. Emma Seagrave led off the inning with a single before Foster and Keeley Quillen both walked in front of a double by Sydney Fox that plated a pair and made it 9-0.
Malczewski had a perfect fourth frame before her teammates added to the lead in the bottom of the inning. Kallyn Newport and Sydney Dukes both singled around Foster being hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, and Quillen smoked an RBI single and Fox hammered a grand slam home run to make it a 14-0 margin, giving Fox seven RBIs in the contest and her third homer of the year.
The Lady Pioneers avoided the shutout by getting a leadoff single from Desiree Santos in the fifth before Amber Campbell added a base hit to put runners on the corners with no outs. A double steal allowed Santos to score, and Lauren Reed added a two-run single before a two-run homer from Brooke Moore cut the final margin to 14-5.
Malczewski (14-8) picked up the win over Lindsay Jordahl, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs.
It didn't take long for the Lady Senators to shake off the final inning of the opener in the nightcap, as Lauren Brickey worked a perfect first inning before Fox led off with a single and scored on Quillen's 13th homer of the season to make it a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Pioneers got two runners into scoring position in the second inning with no outs, but Brickey calmly settled in and struck out the next three hitters to quell the threat.
Foster led off the bottom of the second by sending the first pitch from Charlsy Traylor into the pines beyond the centerfield wall for her fourth homer of the campaign. Newport and Taylor Henson both followed with singles before Quillen was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Dukes was hit by a pitch to bring in another run, but that was all WSCC could muster in the frame, taking a 5-0 lead after two.
The Lady Senators were held scoreless in an inning for the first time on the afternoon in the third inning, but Brickey helped her own cause in the fourth frame. After a leadoff double from Quillen, Brickey drove her home with an RBI single, making it 6-0 after four innings.
WSCC walked it off in the fifth, as Newport hammered a two-run homer, her seventh of the year, to end the game by the mercy rule, 8-0.
Brickey (10-4) allowed just one hit in getting the win over Traylor.
The Lady Senators will close out the regular season this weekend with a four-game home Tennessee Community College Athletic Association series against Motlow State at the Walters State Softball Complex. Friday's doubleheader begins at 2 p.m., while Saturday's double dip on sophomore day will begin at noon.