Cougar Softball (23-20, 15-17) travelled to Jackson TN on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, going 2-2 in the final conference series vs. the Jackson State Generals winning on day one, 3-2 and 8-1 and then losing on day two, 6-5 and 15-5. Still waiting on final league results, Cleveland State appears to be the 5th seed in the Region Seven conference tournament which begins on Sunday, May 6. The tournament this year will be hosted by Chattanooga State.
In game one, trailing 2-1 going into the top of the 7th inning, the Cougars put two runs on the board to take a 3-2 lead in what would be the winning score giving Shiann Stockwell, who struck out eight while giving up four hits, her 15th win of the season.
The Generals would take a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning only to see Cleveland State tie the score in their half of the 4th as Baylee Woods would double with two out and then would be driven home by a Summer Dean double. Jackson State would quickly answer back and take a 2-1 lead in the 5th, sending seven batters to the plate scoring a single run.
In the 7th it was Woods and Dean again; Woods leading off with a double and Dean following with an RBI single to center knotting the score at two. Emily Yell would add to the four hit inning with a single and would eventually come in to score when pinch hitter Bekah Copas would drive her home with a two strike single up the middle giving the Cougars a 3-2 lead.
Stockwell would end the game in fine fashion striking out two Generals and inducing a pop fly to Bre Dunsmore at short stop to end the game. Stockwell, Woods, Dean and Yell would each have two hits on the game while Copas would chip in one with her game winning pinch hit.
Kaitlyn Pickens would pitch her first complete game of the season, winning game two 8-1 while giving up four hits and striking out nine. With the score tied at one in the top of the 3rd, the Cougars would score four runs and then follow up with a single run in the 5th and two more in the 7th.
Woods started the scoring in the 2nd when she led off with a walk and was plated by a Yell single who had three hits on the game. In the 3rd Cleveland State sent eight batters to the plate led by Stockwell, Grayson Brown, Macy Bryant and Woods who started the inning with four straight singles, each scoring on RBI's with the hits by Bryant, Woods and another hit driving home the final run of the inning by Yell. The 3rd run scored on an error.
In the 5th the Cougars added to the score making it 6-1 when Dean who had singled to start the inning was driven home by Dunsmore who reached base on a fielder's choice. In the 7th Dean was in the mix again leading off with a walk, coming home to score on a Sadie Coons sacrifice fly to left, with final run of the inning scoring when Tori Ogle who had singled, came home when Stockwell singled to left.
On the win, Cleveland State banged out 13 hits led by Yell with three, Stockwell, Brown and Dunsmore with two hits each, while Bryant, Woods, Dean and Ogle each had one.
On Saturday in game three of the series Cleveland State came back from deficits of two runs and three runs only to lose in the bottom of the 7th when Jackson State scored a single run for their 6-5 win.
The Cougars evened the score at two in the 2nd inning on a throwing error by the Generals short stop as Dean and Coons who had each singled came home to score. In the 5th with Jackson up by a 5-2 score, Woods who had started the inning with a single worked her way around to score when she was singled to second by Dean and then wild pitched to third and wild pitched home, cutting the Generals lead to 5-3.
In the 7th, Cleveland State would send 7 batters to the plate, scoring two to tie the game at five but would strand two runners on base, leaving Jackson State the opportunity to score a final run in their half of the 7th which they did sending the Cougars to the 6-5 lose. A single by Woods would start the Cougars 7th who would score along with pinch runner Kaitlin Crump who was running for Copas who had singled up the middle. Yell and Coons would have the RBI singles but a pop out and fly out would end the Cougar half of the inning.
Cleveland State hitters would use another 13 hits to score their five runs as Yell once again had a 3-hit game while Woods, Dean, Copas and Coons would have two each with Stockwell and Cortney Mooneyham chipping in with one.
Cleveland State took a 3-2 lead in to the bottom of the 3rd inning of the final game of the series when the wheels fell off as Jackson scored ten runs in their half of the third and three more in the bottom of the 4th sending the Cougars to a five inning 15-5 loss.
Seven hits and seven runners left on base by the Cougars plated three runs in the 3rd and only two in the 4th. Brown had two hits while Bryant, Hailey Galvan, Ogle, Yell and Coons each had one.
As Coach Willingham reflected on the season she said: "While I am not happy that we lost our last two games of the season, I am satisfied that we are ready for the conference tournament and I expect each one of the Cougar softball players to play at a high level and to be at their best. We will be coming to the tournament to compete and win."
Coach Willingham and her Cougars await the league announcement on the schedule for the double elimination tournament. The winner of the tournament earns the right to represent the region at the National Tournament in St. George Utah in the middle of May.