Lions Take Two in Final Day of Saint Leo Invitational

SAINT LEO, Fla. – In the third and final day of the Saint Leo Invitational Tournament, the Saint Leo softball team defeated the visiting Northwood Seahawks (0-10) by a score of 8-0, just before they took a seven-inning 2-0 win over the Tarleton State TexAnns (7-5). The wins improved the Lions' winning percentage to .667 on the year.

The Lions scored in each of the five total innings during the first game, eventually defeating the Seahawks with the eight-run rule. The first run came in the bottom of the first inning, when a sophomore McKenzie Burns walked to give the Lions a baserunner. Two outs later, junior Sarah Steiner singled up the middle to score Burns. The Lions were only able to collect one run during the inning. 

Unable to answer back in the top of the second, the Seahawks took the field once again, and the Lions launched their attack. With one out, junior Kylee Hardesty took a free base in the form of a walk. With Brittany Martinez serving as a pinch runner for Hardesty, the next pitch allowed Martinez to steal second. On the next play, sophomore Angela Kafalas sent a single to center field and took second base on the throw in, allowing Martinez to advance to third. With two runners in scoring position, sophomore Torrie Weindorf sent a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher, allowing Martinez to score the second run of the game. The next play featured a sacrifice hit by Burns, which allowed Kafalas to score and Weindorf to advance to third base. One batter later, junior Brittany Ewing reached on an error by the Seahawk's second baseman, and Weindorf was able to take home plate for the third and final run of the inning.

The third and fourth innings featured one run apiece from the Lions' offense. The first came when a walk to senior Rachelle Gremo resulted in an unearned run for the Lions when she took home on a passed ball. During the fourth, the Lions collected yet another unearned run, as Burns reach on an error, stole the next two bases, and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Hoping to finish the game in just five innings, Sarah Steiner began the bottom of the fifth inning with a homerun over the right-field fence to put the Lions ahead by seven. On the next play, senior Rachelle Gremo ripped a single to left field. Sophomore Kelsey LaNeave then sent a groundball to the pitcher, and the following throwing error allowed Gremo to score from firstbase and end the game early.

The Lions collected five hits in the outing, while capitalizing on four walks and 4 Northwood errors. In addition to her homerun, Sarah Steiner also got the win from the pitcher's mound, tossing five complete innings, striking out three and allowing just two hits.  The win improved Steiner's record to 1-1 on the year.

The second game of the day featured less offense from the Lions', although their solid pitching and defense allowed them to defeat the visiting Tarleton State TexAnns.

Senior Megan Still took the mound for the Lions against the TexAnns, throwing a complete seven-inning game shutout and striking out six for the day. The win, which improved Still's record to 4-1 on the year, signaled the Lions' fourth-straight win.

The only two runs of the game came in the bottom of the third inning for Saint Leo, when the Lions were able to string some hits together. The first hit of the inning came with no outs, when Burns sent a single to centerfield. On the next pitch, Burns stole second base and two batters later, Chelsey Steedley blasted a single to leftfield, allowing Burns to score from second. Steedley took the next two bases freely, and after the TexAnn's catcher made a throwing error, Steedley was able to take home plate for an unearned run.

The Lions collected six hits in the outing, while taking four walks and stealing two bases.

Saint Leo will return to action on Friday, Feb. 22 when they take on Southeastern University in the first game of the Saint Leo Challenge. First pitch is set for 11:15 a.m. 

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