KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Competing in day one of the Diamond Sun Classic, hosted by the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the Saint Leo softball team (10-6) collected a pair of significant wins over No.2-ranked North Georgia College, 2-1, and No.25-ranked Flagler College, 2-1, Friday afternoon in Kissimmee, Fla. The regional contests mark the first wins over ranked opponents for the Lions this season.
The Lions used an extra innings comeback to upset North Georgia in game one, and a first inning, two RBI double to hold off a pesky Flagler squad in the nightcap.
Ashlee Sismilich and Alex Garris led the way for the Lions offensively as they each posted three hits. Sismilich scored two of the Lions' four runs, while registering Saint Leo's only stolen base. Ali Lamb cracked a two-RBI double and Rachelle Gremo recorded a multi-hit performance as well. Saint Leo recorded eight walks, while Lions' pitching did not allow an earned run in 15 innings of work.
In the upset win over the No.2-ranked Saints, a brilliant pitching performance by Lions' hurler Megan Still (4-3) preserved the team's chances at winning as she, along with a solid defensive effort, kept the normally potent North Georgia offense off the board during the regulation seven innings.
After North Georgia notched its first and only run in the top half of the eighth inning, the Lions mounted a comeback that sent the Saints and All-American pitcher Jessica Coan to their second loss of the season. After Angela Kafalas and Sismilich strung together two walks to load the bases, Garris roped a single down the third base line to tie the game at one. Following a Yates intentional walk, the Lions' Gremo ended the clash as her two-out shot to the shortstop was bobbled, allowing the speedy Sismilich to score the game winner.
Still collected the victory for the Lions as she tossed 8.0 innings of five-hit ball while not allowing a single earned run.
The Lions did not face a letdown in the nightcap as they struck early in game two. After Sismilich drew a walk to begin the contest, Garris advanced her to second on a single. Lamb followed by blasting a two-out double to deep left centerfield to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
It was all Saint Leo needed as the pitching duo of Kristen Kelly and Ashley Ehlers protected the advantage throughout the remaining course of the contest. Kelly (4-2) tossed 5.1 strong innings before being tagged for an unearned run in the sixth. Meanwhile, Ehlers, the Lions freshman hurler, closed the game out as she threw 1.2 innings to collect her third save of the season.
The Lions will return to action on Saturday, February 25, when they continue action at the 2012 Diamond Sun Classic, hosted by the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Lions will see Kentucky State at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a rematch with the No.25-ranked Flagler College Saints at noon.
For the latest news, information, and updates on the softball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.