PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team (17-20) split its Saturday afternoon doubleheader with the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish (21-14) in region action from Lake Catherine Stadium. The Lions fell 2-1 in game one, before registering an 8-7 win in game two.
Game one featured three runs scored in the first inning, but a Sailfish two-run blast proved to be difference as Palm Beach took the contest, 2-1. The Lions' offense took over game two as the team scored eight runs over the final four innings to come away with an 8-7 win.
Offensively, the squad combined for 14 hits, including a trio of player registering a game-best three hits. Rachelle Gremo and McKenzie Burns tallied three hits and two runs scored, while Alex Garris went 3-for-8 with one run scored. Ashlee Sismilich was 2-for-5 with a run, and Brittany Yates was 1-for-2 with two RBI.
Yates provided Lions' starter Megan Still early run support as her RBI single platted Burns from third base. However, the Sailfish, led by Lisa Santos, answered in the bottom of the first inning as her two-run home run gave the home standing Sailfish a 2-1 advantage.
The scoreboard remained untouched through the remainder of the game, although the Lions did put a pair of runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings. Unfortunately for the Lions' faithful in attendance, both opportunities were stranded at second base as Palm Beach Atlantic took home the 2-1 win.
Still was docketed with the tough loss as she fell to 6-12 on the season. She surrendered just five hits and two earned runs, while striking out a season-high eight batters in six complete innings.
The Sailfish tagged the scoreboard first in game two, but it was a two-out, two-run rally for the Lions in the fourth inning that put Saint Leo, 2-1. After an error by the Sailfish put the Lions' first run on the board, Kaitlynn Diaz roped a single through the middle to score Danielle Moreda and give the Lions the advantage.
Four hits, coupled with defensive miscues, allowed Palm Beach to take the lead in the fourth, 4-2, but Saint Leo refused to go away. In the top of the fifth inning the Lions strung together four hits, including an RBI single by Gremo to tie the game at four apiece.
The Sailfish, as they had in each of the Lions' scoring innings, went back on top in fifth on a Camille Benito two-run home run. The Lions were not going to be denied, however, as Alex Garris poked a two-run triple down the left field line scoring Burns and Emily Holman. Yates gave the Lions the lead on the very next pitch as her sacrifice play scored Garris.
The Sailfish answered again in the bottom of the sixth as an RBI single by Miranda Welch tied the game at seven. The final frame belonged to the Lions, however, as Burns sliced a bases loaded single over the shortstop's head to score Gremo and the eventual game-winning run.
Still (7-12) shutdown the Sailfish in the last inning to preserve the 8-7 lead and collect her seventh win of the season. She tossed 2.1 innings of relief, striking out three batters.
"We fought hard today, especially in game two," said Head Coach John Conway. "We didn't give up and kept plugging away. In the end our perseverance got us over the top. It was a good win."
The Lions will return to action on Wednesday, March 28, when they travel to Valdosta, Ga. to battle nationally-ranked Valdosta State in a regional doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
For more on the softball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com.