MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Walters State is playing its best softball of the season and it couldn't come at a better time.
The Lady Senators rolled to an impressive doubleheader sweep of visiting Motlow State Saturday afternoon and locked up the number two seed when the Region Seven Tournament begins on May 5 at Columbia State.
Coach Larry Sauceman's club pounded out a 13-5 triumph in the opener and blanked the Lady Bucks, 11-0, in the nightcap as winning hurler Lauren Brickey flirted with a perfect game. Both games ended after the visitors batted in the top of the fifth because of the mercy rule.
Brickey got within two outs of pitching the gem but gave up a double before retiring the final two batters. Delilah Malczewski also pitched well in the first game although a very tight strike zone led to her allowing four runs in the final inning.
Offensively, Walters State collected 11 hits in each game including a pair of home runs in both.
The same teams square off in another twinbill this afternoon with the first pitch slated for noon.
The Lady Senators improved their record to 30-17 and are 20-9 in Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play. Motlow fell to 22-20 overall and is 16-11 in league play.
Sauceman, who won his 900th game on Wednesday and will be honored Sunday, said, "We've actually played pretty good the last four games.
"We're actually right where we really wanted to be because that's as good as we've played all year," he added. "Our hitters are coming alive and hopefully we can carry it over into tomorrow and then the tournament and get something done down there. You never know."
The coach said Brickey pitched well. "Actually, they've all upped their game and that's important this time of year. We just have to keep playing like we have recently."
Brickey was in control all the way as she struck out six and allowed just the double by Aly Barfield in the fifth. Of the 15 outs, there was only one ground ball and eight pop ups.
Her teammates got her way more runs than she needed by pouring across eight runs in the bottom of the second. Emily Whitaker led off with a base hit and then Taylor McConnell smacked her fourth home run of the season to open the scoring.
After a ground out, Kallyn Newport's infield hit and Taylor Henson being hit by a pitch set the stage for a three-run blast by Sydney Duke. Before the inning was over Emily Whitaker doubled in two runs and McConnell singled in another.
Kendall Durant was the losing hurler.
Dukes and Whitaker had three hits apiece for the winners with Fox and McConnell adding a pair each.
In the first game, Fox led off the game with her fourth home run of the season to set the tone. Before the first was over, Newport doubled in a run and Brickey singled in another with a fourth crossing the plate on an error.
Durant clubbed a home run to left field in the second to get the Lady Bucks on the scoreboard.
But Walters State's Keeley Quillen slugged her 14th homer of the season with a runner on in the second and Edwardson added a two-run single to make it 8-0 going to the third inning.
After failing to tally in the third, the winners banged out five straight hits and scored five times in the bottom of the fourth. Brickey, Erin Foster, McConnell and Fox all had singles and Emma Seagrave rapped a double in the uprising.
Motlow needed to score at least five in the fifth to extend the game and almost did it, plating four runs and leaving the bases loaded.
The only hit Malczewski had given up to that point was the home run and she had only walked one. However, the strike zone seemed to shrink a little and she would up walking three that combined with two hits and an error.
Fox and Brickey had two hits each to lead the Lady Senators at the plate while Durant added a double besides her round-tripper for Motlow.
Sam King, first of three pitchers for the Lady Bucks, took the loss.