Lady Govs earn berth in softball nationals with dramatic sweep

Lady Govs earn berth in softball nationals with dramatic sweep

The Wallace Govs, down to their last strike in Friday's Game 1, managed to force extra innings and win 6-3, then swept South Carolina-Salkehatchie 7-0 and captured a spot in the national championship tournament.

"Next stop, the World Series. It can't get any better than that," Wallace coach David Russo said from the bus as the Govs were leaving Spartanburg, S.C., late Friday afternoon.

Wallace (59-8) trailed 3-1 in the top of the seventh in Game 1. With two outs and nobody on, Emmie Coachman faced an 0-2 count against pitcher Haley Haselden, looked at ball one and then lined a single to right field.

Schylur Edwards stepped in and drilled a 2-1 pitch over the center-field fence, tying the game.

"Everybody was just going crazy. It was so dramatic," Russo said of Edwards' home run. "That girl was really pitching well. She got two quick outs – boom, boom – and we got back in it. It just happened so fast."

Bailee Dempsey, who pitched two complete games, retired the Indians in order in the seventh and the game went to extra innings.

Wallace scored three runs in the eighth. Hope Mynard's one-out double got it started. Evin Bibb reached on a catcher's interference. Turtle Peters' bunt single loaded the bases with one out.

Dempsey singled in the go-ahead run, then Asia Jones followed with a huge two-run double to center. Dempsey closed out the game in the bottom of the eighth.

There was far less drama in the nightcap. Dempsey, who only gave up five hits in the first game, pitched a four-hit shutout and Peters and Anna Poland both hit a home run in the Govs' 7-0 victory.

"In the second game, we just took charge," Russo said. "Bailee threw both games. (Normal Game 1 starter) Mallie Brown thought she had a muscle pull and couldn't go. … It was an unbelievable day."

Dempsey pitched 15 innings on Friday, gave up nine hits and three runs. She didn't walk a batter, hit one and had 14 strikeouts – nine in the first game.

Her one mistake nearly cost her Game 1. With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Daisy Byrd hit a three-run homer that gave USC-Salkehatchie a 3-1 lead.

 Wallace broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning on Coachman's lead-off home run.

In the nightcap, Peters and Poland both had two hits and three RBIs. Peters' two-run homer came in the fourth inning and Poland's three-run shot came in the fifth.

The Govs scored a run in the first when Bibb doubled and scored on Peters' single. They made it 2-0 in the third when Edwards' two-out, RBI single drove in Dempsey.

"To battle back on the road, I was really pleased," Russo said. "They've competed well year. We've been very fortunate and it's been a blast."

The Govs next trade a bus ride for a flight to the national tournament May 22-25 in St. George, Utah.

"We've got to get some flights to Utah. It's going to be a crazy week," Russo said. "The tournament starts at week from Wednesday, but I think we'll have to leave a week from Sunday. There are all kinds of events up there, a home run derby, banquets, things like that."

Follow Ken Rogers on Twitter @debamabeat.