#17 Softball falls to #12 St. Mary’s (Tex.) at NFCA Leadoff Classic

#17 Softball falls to #12 St. Mary’s (Tex.) at NFCA Leadoff Classic

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The difference maker of the game between the 12th-ranked St. Mary's (Texas) Rattlers and 17th-ranked Saint Leo Lions would be the second inning as St. Mary's (Texas) scored one run in the bottom half of the inning. Saint Leo fell to the Rattlers 5-4 in their final game at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Leadoff Classic game on Sunday at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.

The Lions finished the classic with a 3-2 record to move to 8-3 overall. In the five games played, Saint Leo defeated Central Missouri (7-5) and Georgia College (7-2) on Friday before splitting Saturday's games with Texas A&M-Commerce and Tiffin. The Lions fell to TAMUC (3-2) and defeated Tiffin (9-1) in six innings. Saint Leo dropped their final contest Sunday morning to St. Mary's (Texas) 5-4.

On the day, Alison Mitts took the loss for the Lions and moves to 1-2 on the year after coming into the game in the middle of the third inning. Mitts finished with four hits, three runs, and one walk while striking out three. Sara Neuman got the nod for the Lions and left the game after 2.1 innings pitched. While in the circle, Neuman gave up five hits, two unearned runs, and two walks while recording one strikeout.

Bailey McKenna went 2-for-4 on the day with one run scored. Samantha Ohmie finished going 1-for-1 with two RBI and one walk with one double in the game. Rachael Heath, Danielle Bottley, and Amanda James joined McKenna in the runs scored column.

Against the Rattlers, the Lions scored first in the top of the first after Rachael Heath laid down a bunt and reached safely. Heath then swiped second and advanced to third after Sommer Pollard walked and Kacie Kelly was hit by a pitch. Brittany Creamer grounded out to the short stop.

St. Mary's (Texas) bounced back and answered the Lions one run in the bottom of the first on a Raynelle Nash double to right center scoring Alena Moreno.

In the top of the second, the Lions were back at it getting their leadoff runner aboard as Alyssa Wash hit a double down the left field line. Bailey McKenna reached on a fielding error by the third baseman allowing the Lions to have runners on the corners with Samantha Ohmie up to bat. McKenna stole second and then Ohmie walked to leave the bases loaded with no outs. When the lineup rolled back to the top of the batting order, the Lions left the bases loaded.

The Rattlers would jump ahead as they scored one run in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead.

After three scoreless innings by the two teams, Saint Leo's top half of the inning would start off with a Creamer walk. Amanda James hit a bunt single to third allowing Danielle Bottley, who pinch ran for Creamer, to reach second. A Samantha Ohmie double to right center scored Bottley and James leaving McKenna standing at third after the base paths got jammed up at second. Heath laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached on a dropped catch by the second baseman covering first. On that drop, McKenna took off for home and slid in safely as the catcher couldn't come up with the ball, allowing Ohmie and Heath to advance to third and second, respectively where they would be stranded to end the inning.

Again St. Mary's (Texas) came back in the bottom half of the inning and put runs on the board. The Rattlers scored one on a single by Moreno before a single down the left field line allowed Jourdan Alvarez and Alessandra Ortiz to come across as the game-tying and game-winning runs, respectively.

Creamer led off in the top of the seventh with another walk, this time battling her way aboard. Wash followed Creamer's footsteps and walked with two outs. After a batter-pitcher duel, between the Lions' McKenna and the Rattlers' Ashley Mills, Mills got McKenna to ground out to third base to end the game.

Saint Leo will start play at the Florida Tech Tournament in Melbourne on Friday, Feb. 17 at 12:30 p.m. against East Stroudsburg before a 5:30 p.m. meeting with Florida Tech that night. The Lions will face Armstrong State (12:30 p.m.) on Saturday before Stonehill (9 a.m.) and Armstrong State (1:30 p.m.) on Sunday.  

For more information on the Saint Leo softball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.