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franklin county times

Lady Eagles' title run cut short

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Saturday, May 19, 2001
KISSIMMEE, Fla. In nearly every one of the Meridian Community College softball player profiles, the players listed the Chattanooga State Lady Tigers as the team they'd most like to beat in the 2001 NJCAA Fastpitch National Championship Tournament.
During the regular season, the Lady Tigers handed the Lady Eagles a 9-1 loss in the Central Alabama Tournament.
Friday afternoon at the Osceola County Softball Complex, MCC got its chance to avenge that loss. Chattanooga had other plans though, handing the Lady Eagles a 5-1 loss in the loser's bracket to effectively eliminate MCC from tourney action.
And the Lady Tigers (61-2) put away MCC (41-13) via the long ball, as Chattanooga left the extremely short porch three times under the blistering Kissimmee sun.
Lady Tiger starting pitcher Charmaine Johns from New Southwest, Australia, slammed a pair of dingers, including a two-run job with two outs in the bottom of the fifth that provided the final scoring for the home team.
But early on for the pair of weary clubs, it didn't look as if it would turn into that type of show.
Both teams won their noon contests and turned right around and played each other in the unforgiving central Florida heat.
The Lady Tigers struck first with an RBI single from Paige Cochrane that followed an infield error, a sacrifice bunt and a single from Jada Pescatore. But the heavy hitting Jones couldn't quite catch up to the Amy Adcox fast ball and she flew out to right to end the frame.
It stayed that way until the fourth inning, despite MCC getting a single from Stephanie Dixon and a stand-up double from Faith Robinson.
In the bottom of the frame, Bretney Jones and Johns left the field to push the lead to 3-0 before Johns came back in the fifth.
Chattanooga, a team that had only hit 40 homers all season-long, has nailed nine through four games in the tourney.
Johns got the win, hurling seven strikeouts through five innings, while only allowing three hits. Delaney Warrian came on in the sixth and pitched two innings for the save, allowing only one run on one hit, while striking out two.
For MCC it was once again Amy Adcox who went the distance and took defeat, giving up the nine hits.
Eakins said he was reluctant to go to No. 2 starter Ryan Reid, a former Chattanooga player last season because her velocity is not as high as Adcox's.
This was a notion that was confirmed by Reed. "Yeah, our kids know her pretty well as far as what she's going to throw and we hit her hard at Central," he said. "So I didn't figure they would bring her in unless they got a lead and brought her in to try and throw us off stride. She's not as fast as the other kid."
In the hitting department for the Lady Eagles, Stephanie Dixon led the way with a 2-for-3 effort with a double and an RBI. Shanna Blanks and Faith Robinson accounted for the other two MCC baseknocks.
Robinson's double in the fourth barely missed clearing the left field barrier in the fourth frame that would have given the Lady Eagles a 2-1 lead. Instead MCC wound up with nothing.
Despite the loss and the Lady Tigers record, Robinson doesn't think Chattanooga will hoist the big trophy. "A lot of teams came in here saying (Chatt. St.) will win it, but I really don't think they will."
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. You can call him at 693-1551, ext. 3234 or E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.