It was a bittersweet for five Patriot softball seniors as they played the final home game of their collegiate career. Their pain was eased after they completed the four game sweep of Mid-South Conference foe Cumberland (Tenn.). They came away with a pair of shutout victories thanks to dominant pitching and timely hitting. They won the first game 6-0, and then completed the sweep with a 4-0 victory in the series finale.
Christina Day (Paducah, Ky.), Kelsey Brooks (Bloomfield, Ky.), Krystal Cammuse (Frankfort, Ky.), Shelbi Thornhill (Hardinsburg, Ky.), and Brandi Hood (Bardstown, Ky.) each were honored after playing their final game at Salt River Electric Field.
Holly Smith’s squad will enter next weeks’ Mid-South Conference Tournament riding a five game winning streak and 17-25 record overall and an 11-15 record in the conference. The team will be traveling to Bowling Green, Ky. this week for the MSC tournament, where they will enter as the fifth seed. They will take on Pikeville (Ky.) in their opening round game on Thursday, April 30th at 1 p.m. ET.
SCC 6 CU 0
The Patriots were able to win the opener thanks to some dominant pitching from Krystal Cammuse. Cammuse (7-13) was stellar for the Patriots, allowing just two hits and striking out nine in her seven innings of work. She allowed just seven base runners and none of the seven made it past second base.
The Patriots jumped on Leah Newsome from the get-go with a run on two hits in opening inning. After two quick outs to open the inning, Carly Benz (Louisville, Ky.) reached on a dropped third strike. A Shelbi Thornhill single moved the runner up to second, and then Cammuse helped her own cause with a base hit to score Benz from second. Newsome worked her way out of the jam with a Brittany McKee (Somerset, Ky.) pop out.
After Cammuse threw up a pair of zeroes in the second and third inning, the offense heated back-up in the bottom half of the third. Kelsey Gravens (Mt. Washington, Ky.) led the inning off with a double to right. Benz moved the runner up to third with a base hit and then she moved into scoring position with a stolen base. Thornhill again came through with a base hit two score Gravens and Benz. Two batters later, Brittany McKee doubled to score Thornhill to push the advantage to 4-0 after three.
After a perfect top half of the fourth, the Patriot offense got back at it in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs on two hits. Brandi Hood led the inning off with a single, she then moved up to second after an errant throw by Vienna Benavides. Two batters later, Kelsey Gravens homered to right the push the lead out to its final score of 6-0.
SCC 4 CU 0
St. Catharine got a solid performance from Tiffany Wickline (Georgetown, Ky.) in the circle. Wickline (7-11) scattered out eight hits in her six innings of work. She allowed just one base runner to reach third in the contest. Brittany McKee entered the game in the seventh and nailed down the victory for the Patriots.
Just like the first game, the Patriots jumped on Bulldog starter Kristen Abell from the start. Abell recorded just one out allowing three runs on three hits. After a walk to Wickline and a Kelsey Gravens’ single, Shelbi Thornhill jacked a three run home run to left to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead. It looked as though the Patriots would get more out of the inning after a double and a hit batter, but Crystal Bryant worked her way out of the jam with a ground out and strikeout.
The Patriot bats got it going again in the bottom half of the second thanks to a key defensive error by Cumberland. After a ground out and a strikeout to open the inning, Kelsey Gravens singled. Carly Benz then hit a ball sharply to right field that went off the right fielders’ glove for an error. Gravens scored from first, but Benz was thrown out at third to end the inning.
From that point on, Crystal Bryant was lights out. Bryant allowed just three hits the remainder of the game. The Patriots had a chance to tack on more after back-to-back hits in the third, but Bryant worked her way out of it with a fly out.
Wickline, on the other hand was also lights out. She got herself in trouble a couple of time, but her defense came through with some great defense. That defense was on display in the sixth inning.
A single to open the inning, then after back-to-back pop outs, another single put runners at first and second. The next batter also singled, but the return throw by Christina Day got the runner trying to return to third base to end the inning. The defense also helped out in the final inning by turning a double play.