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Behind Relentless Offense, Lady Tornadoes Sweep Conference (2334 hits)

The start of spring has set TC's offense abloom, as in April Lady Tornadoes' softball has conquered opponents behind an onslaught of runs. A weekend double-header against rival Edward Waters College would see Talladega finish conference play a perfect 8-0.

Coming into the final month of the regular season in 2013, Talladega College softball was 11-25 on the season. A recent offensive spurt majorly contributed to by the sudden breakout of junior outfielder Lindsey Sims has allowed TC to score an average of 6.64 runs a game in the month of April. Together with shutdown pitching from ace Carlie Keenum, the Lady Tornadoes traveled to Jacksonville with a .500 record in a single month of the season for the first time since starting 3-3.

The Lady Tornadoes would only build on their recent success while vacationing in the Sunshine State.

Starting game one for TC was none other than Carlie Keenum, the senior who is undoubtedly pitching her best stuff ever. With an ERA of 3.22 this month, Keenum has led her team to a 6-1 record in her starts. Keenum's command this season has been phenomenal; she has walked only a handful of batters this month while building her strikeout tally into a close race for the team lead.

Keenum was able to pitch into the fourth inning before allowing any runs, but eight blooper singles into the shallowest portions of the outfield led to the scoring of six Lady Tigers. Thanks to the streaking Tornado offense assisted by Lindsey Sims's sixth homerun of the season, which scored three runs, TC was able to set Carlie up for a win and Gina Mathes up for a save in the fifth inning of a 7-6 game. Mathes was able to strikeout the side in the sixth before stranding the tying and winning runs for Edward Waters on second and third base in the seventh.

In game two Talladega looked to Mathes to lead them to a perfect Gulf Coast Athletic Conference season. The offense for TC was able to plate a lone runner in the top of the first inning when Lauren Parker's single drove in Jan Thomas who had reached third base on a triple. In the bottom half of the inning, defensive breakdowns would stretch the Lady Tornadoes thin.

A wild pitch and a passed ball in succession plated the leadoff hitter for Edward Waters. A walk and a sharp single up the middle of the infield put runners at first and second bases for center fielder Shanise Dozier of the Lady Tigers. Dozier laid down a perfect bunt which no defender was able to field in time to make a play on the runner, loading the bases. A walk would follow to score the go-ahead run and end the outing for Mathes after only one out.

Keenum took the mound and induced an infield fly ball before her 2-2 pitch was driven hard at TC shortstop Jamara Thomas. Thomas picked up the ball and made a long throw to first base which skipped out of the reach of her sister, Jan. As a result, the Lady Tigers took a 4-1 lead in the opening inning.

That would be the last of Edward Waters's scoring. Throughout the remaining six innings Carlie Keenum shut down the Lady Tigers.

Lindsey Sims led off the third inning by doubling to left field. After an infield single from Jan Thomas, Jessica Thornton doubled into the gap in left-center, scoring a pair and allowing for a duo of sacrifice groundouts to tie the game. A couple of deep shots late from Jessica Thornton (3-for-4) and Jamara Thomas (3-for-3, sacrifice) would seal the deal, as the Lady Tornadoes would take game two by a final of 10-4.

Mathes earned a no-decision, while Keenum improved to 11-14 on the season and 8-1 in April. The Lady Tornadoes improve to a record-holding 19-31.

Talladega softball finishes undefeated in conference play for the 2013 season and will advance to the GCAC/TranSouth Conference Tournament as a high seed. The tournament will take place May 1-3 in Jackson, TN. The bracket for the tournament will be announced soon.

Next up for TC is Concordia College of Selma, who will be in town Wednesday, April 24 for a Senior Day double-header beginning at 1:00 PM.

Written by Bryan Chunn
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Thursday, May 2nd 2013 at 8:13PM
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