The Chattanooga Mocs softball team won its 15th Southern Conference Tournament Championship in improbable fashion Saturday afternoon at top-seeded UNC Greensboro. The ladies came back from a 7-2 deficit with a five-run seventh and then won it in the eighth to claim a 9-7 final tally.
Chattanooga will advance to its 12th NCAA Tournament. The team will learn its fate during the NCAA Softball Selection Show which airs tomorrow night on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. The team invites the public to join them at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux on Broad Street to watch the selection show.
“The way it happened today, this has to be one of them [the most exciting games in SoCon Championship history],” said Head Coach Frank Reed. “Having our kids come back in the seventh, having the two home runs in the eighth… it has to be up there.
“This team is special. We have said the entire year that they have a lot of fight. Days like today make it fun to coach these kids,” Coach Reed concluded.
Chattanooga improved to 29-25 and won its sixth-straight game. UNCG ended its season with a 39-18 record.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the second, plating two runs. The first run scored on a Brookelynn Maxwell double down the left field line. She scored during the next at bat on a wild pitch.
In the next half inning, Chattanooga got on the board with one swing off the bat of Reagan Armour. Armour blasted a 0-1 pitch over the center field wall, cutting the Mocs’ deficit in half.
The Mocs tied the game in the next half inning. Gracey Kruse notched her second double of the tournament down the left field line with two outs. She drove in Kaili Phillips from first to tie the game at two.
In the bottom of the fourth, UNCG retook the lead as Jordan Gontram hit a two-run homer to center. The hosts doubled their lead with another two-run blast in the fifth. The hosts added one more insurance run with a Brokolynn Maxwell homer in the sixth.
Chattanooga wasn’t done and the insurance wasn’t enough. With two on and one out in the seventh, Armour belted her second home run of the game, a three-run blast to left, bringing in the Mocs within two. After Olivia Lipari drew a full-count walk to extend the game, Phillips stepped up to the dish. She took the second pitch of the at bat over the wall in left, tying the game.
After throwing the first three innings to start the game, Brooke Parrott reentered the game in the bottom of the seventh and set down the Spartans in order to send the game into extras. In the eighth, Adison Keylon sent the Mocs fans into a frenzy with a home run over the UNCG scoreboard, giving Chattanooga its first lead of the game. After back-to-back groundouts, Armour stepped up to the plate and hit her third home run of the game. She became the first player in SoCon Tournament history to hit three homers in a game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Parrott began the inning getting a fly out to left on the 11th pitch of the leadoff at bat. After a one-out walk, she retired the next two batters, including getting the final out with her fourth strikeout of the game.
Parrott picked up her fourth win of the tournament. She went five innings and allowed three runs, two earned on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Armour dominated UNCG pitching, going 3-for-4 with three homers and five RBI with a walk. Phillips went 2-for-2 with two RBI. Coltharp, Snell, Kruse and Keylon recorded the other hits for Chattanooga.
Morgan Scott, the SoCon Pitcher of the Year picked up the loss. She went 7.1 innings and allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and nine K’s. UNCG’s Reese Byrd allowed the other five runs.
UTC 9, UNCG 7 | BOX
B2nd: Brooklynn Maxwell doubled down the left field line, RBI; Ashley Gontram scored (UNCG 1-0).
B2nd: Brooklynn Maxwell scored on a wild pitch (UNCG 2-0).
T3rd: Reagan Armour homered to center, RBI (UNCG 2-1)
T4th: Gracey Kruse doubled down the left field line, RBI; Kaili Phillips scored (Tied 2-2).
B4th: Jordan Gontram homered to center, 2 RBI; Maycin Brown scored (UNCG 4-2)
B5th: Delaney Cumbie homered to center, 2 RBI; Jessie Shipley scored (UNCG 6-2).
B6th: Brooklynn Maxwell homered to center, RBI (UNCG 7-2).
T7th: Reagan Armour homered to left center, 3 RBI; Emily Coltharp and Kailey Snell scored (UNCG 7-5).
T7th: Kaili Phillips homered to center, 2 RBI; Olivia Lipari scored (Tied 7-7).
T8th: Adison Keylon homered to right, RBI (UTC 8-7).
T8th: Reagan Armour homered to left, RBI (UTC 9-7).
WP: Brooke Parrott (15-7)
LP: Morgan Scott (25-12)