Lions Take Two in Final NTC Spring Games

CLERMONT, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team (23-13) collected two more wins from the National Training Center in Clermont, Tuesday evening. In the doubleheader, the Lions defeated the Kutztown Golden Bears (9-6) by a score of 2-1, just before taking a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (15-5).

Freshman Alana Tabel took the mound for the Lions in the first contest of the evening, tossing a seven-inning complete game for the win. Allowing 10 hits, Tabel collected five strikeouts and walked none in the effort. The win improved her record to 8-5 on the season.

Leading off in the top of the first inning, the Golden Bears' first hitter, Morgan Booth, singled to third base to give Kutztown their first hit and base runner of the game. One out later, Booth stole second base and soon advanced to third on a single from teammate Jackie Hetzler. A Saint Leo error on the next play then allowed Booth to score and put the Golden Bears ahead.

Although Kutztown scored early on, the Lions were not fazed as they went into the bottom of the first inning. Saint Leo's leadoff hitter, McKenzie Burns led off the inning with a single to centerfield. On the next play, an infield groundout, Burns safely reached second base, and when Sarah Steiner collected an infield single, Burns turned on her speed and took home to tie the game.

Neither team was able to score again until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Lions tacked on another run to go ahead when the Golden Bears committed a costly error in the infield that allowed Steiner to score.

Despite Kutztown's 2nd place national finish last year and high national ranking earlier this year, the Lions collected five hits and one stolen base in the outing, walking once and striking out once.

Saint Leo's second game of the evening featured a more exciting contest, as the Lions defeated the University of Minnesota Duluth and snapped the Bulldogs' 14-game win-streak.

Although the Bulldogs had already collected 29 homeruns in the year, Saint Leo's senior pitcher Megan Still shut down the strong-hitting team. In Still's ninth win of the season, she tossed a seven-inning complete game shutout against the Bulldogs, allowing just five hits and striking out four in the effort.

Offensively, both teams were slow to warm up, as Saint Leo scored the first runs of the game in the top of the fifth inning. It was sophomore Angela Kafalas who led off the inning by blasting a triple to give the Lions a runner in scoring position. Sophomore Torrie Weindorf then followed suit with an RBI double that scored Kafalas and gave the Lions yet another base runner. After a sacrifice bunt from junior Kylee Hardesty moved Weindorf to third, an RBI single from freshman Tiffany Thompson allowed Weindorf to score and put the Lions up by two.

With the Bulldogs unable to score at all throughout the contest, Saint Leo tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh inning, when the Bulldogs allowed three singles and a passed ball.

In the second game of the evening, the Lions collected nine hits and two stolen bases.

The Saint Leo Lions softball team will return to action on Friday, Mar. 22, when they head to Ft. Lauderdale to take on the Nova Southeastern Sharks in game one of the three-game Sunshine State Conference weekend series. First pitch of the game is slated for 6:00 p.m.

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