By ADAM WHITTEN
Blinn (Texas) College needed a home run in its final at bat to beat the BYU women’s extramural softball team in the semifinals of a tournament held in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
In accordance to the international tie-breaking system used in softball, Blinn placed a runner at second base at the start of the inning. At that point, BYU expected Blinn to bunt, but instead its batter surprised BYU by swinging away. The result was a mammoth home run to end the game.
“We outplayed them,” BYU head coach Tammy Strunk said. “But one pitch determined the game. If we had known she wasn’t going to bunt, we would have pitched her differently.”
The loss aside, Strunk said pitcher Danielle Anderson pitched her best game of the season. She said Anderson was one of BYU’s most valuable players of the tournament.
BYU outhit Blinn, but stranded 10 runners on base in the game. BYU’s inability to take advantage of scoring opportunities came back to haunt it in the end.
“We did really well, but we didn’t have any bats,” said second baseman Erin Ellsworth. “We always had people on base, but we didn’t get the runs. We got base hits, but we couldn’t get base hits when people were on base.”
BYU won its first four games before losing to Blinn. BYU defeated San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College in its opening game. Anderson hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to force extra innings. With Anderson pitching the whole game, BYU eventually won 3-2.
BYU next defeated Johnson County (Kansas) Community College 4-2. Anderson again led the team, going 2-3 at the plate while picking up the win on the mound.
Behind Sunshine Vanwie’s pitching and Jill Combe’s clutch hitting, BYU defeated St. Louis Community College 4-2. Combe went 2-3 with a triple and two RBI.
In the opening round of elimination play, BYU got solid pitching from Anderson and beat Meridian (Miss.) College. Holly Darnell scored BYU’s first run of the game following her lead-off triple. It was the only run BYU would need as it won 3-0.
Although the team did not win the tournament like it had hoped to, Strunk said she was pleased the team gained confidence by winning some games in Florida. She said the team learned it could beat good teams and also that it could come back if needs be.
“We were definitely one of the best teams down there,” Strunk said. “Too bad we didn’t win (the tournament).”