COLUMBUS, Georgia — Ottawa’s final regular season tournament started with a bang and ended with a sputter.
The Ottawa University softball team went 2-3 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Georgia. The Lady Braves won their first two games, beating the University of South Carolina – Beaufort 7-4 and Saint Ambrose University 3-2 on Friday. The team played three straight ranked teams on Saturday, falling in all without scoring a run. They fell to No. 12 Cambellsville University 7-0, No. 23 University of Rio Grande 2-0 and No. 7 Georgia Gwinnett College 9-0.
Despite the sour ending to the tournament, the No. 13 Lady Braves sit atop the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference standings with a 14-6 record. Conference play is set to begin March 31.
In the team’s first game, USC Beaufort took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Ottawa responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame, spearheaded by a two-RBI single by Kori Lacey, sophomore outfielder. The Sand Sharks scored one run in the top of the third, but OU put some distance on the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Katy Blanchard, sophomore first baseman, and Alexa Romero, junior second baseman, both drove in runs. Rebekah Clinton, senior pitcher, got the win by tossing the final 4 2/3 innings, allowing zero runs on five hits while striking out six.
The Lady Braves scored runs in the bottom of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to earn a comeback win in Friday’s late game against Saint Ambrose. Blanchard scored Jessica Rymer, junior catcher, in the eighth inning from third base on a squeeze bunt with no outs. Rymer started out on second due to the Intentional Tie Breaker Rule, and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice by Aryn Smith, junior designated player. Clinton had another strong outing on the mound, allowing two runs over eight innings on eight hits. She struck out eight and walked zero.
Ottawa plays 2 p.m. Thursday in a doubleheader at Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska.