PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL – The softball Highlanders had an impressive offensive showing during their first weekend of play in 2018 at the Gulf Coast Invitational Tournament in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Game 1: Gulf Coast State College (FL) 8 Gordon State College 7
Game one matched the Highlanders with the tournament host, Gulf Coast State College Commodores. The Highlanders jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning when Hannah Rae Griffin had a RBI single scoring Morgan Sterrett and then Addy Allegretti blasted a 2 run homerun in her first collegiate at bat. That lead didn't last long as early miscues in the bottom of the 1st plagued the Highlanders and helped Gulf Coast quickly put up four runs of their own. It was then a back and forth affair with missed opportunities by both teams, but Gordon was able to tie the game in the top of the 6th when Montana Schug scored on a Cheyanne Mosteller single to left field. With the game tied at seven in the bottom of the 7th, Sam Sisco singled on a 0-2 count, scoring Courtney Schweinsberg to secure the 8-7 victory for Gulf Coast.
Maddie Greene took the loss for Highlanders. She lasted 6.3 innings while striking out 5. Griffin went 3-for-3 with a RBI and run scored to lead Highlanders at the plate.
Game 2: Gordon State College 9 Lake Land College (IL) 8 (8 innings)
There was come great softball being played on Friday night between the Highlanders and the #9 nationally ranked Lake Land College (IL) Lakers. Down 3-1 in the top of the 7th, the Highlanders tied the game on a pinch-hit two RBI single by sophomore Savannah Chalfant which led to an eventual six run 7th inning for Gordon State. The Lakers then manufactured a big inning of their own by scoring four in the bottom half of the frame to tie the game and send it to extra innings. The Highlanders nabbed the lead for good in the top of the 8th inning when Lauren DeLoach doubled to left field scoring Taylor Dykes and Hunter Lee. The Lakers answered back with one of their own in the bottom of the 8th, but the Highlanders held on for the 9-8 win and their first victory of the 2018 season.
Maddie Green pitched Highlanders to victory. She battled for seven innings, allowing three hits and three runs while striking out ten.
"We had to compete in all three phases of the game; it wasn't always pretty, but it was enough. It was good to see us win a game like this as it says a lot about the character of our team." said Associate Head Coach Ken Deyton.
Game 3: Gordon State College 9 Coastal Alabama – North 3
Day two of the Gulf Coast Invitational slated the Highlanders in an early Saturday morning match up against Coastal Alabama College North (Monroeville). The Eagles came out swinging by scoring two runs in the first inning as the Highlander defense and hurler Savannah Chalfant were not getting off to the start they wanted. But, Gordon State took the lead in the bottom of the first by plating six runs of their own. Chalfant then settled in, only allowing one more run for the remainder of the game and an eventual 9-3 victory for the Highlanders.
Freshman Kelly Bostwick led the highlanders at the plate going 1 for 2, with three RBI's. Barnes, Deloach and Coulter all were 2 for 3, with Barnes and Coulter having 2 RBI's each. Chalfant got the win in the circle for the Highlanders, allowing six hits and three runs while striking out six.
Game 4: Chattanooga State Community College 9 Gordon State College 1
Game two on the day put the Highlanders up against the Tennessee power and #14 Tigers of Chattanooga State College. The Highlanders fell behind early and couldn't come back in a 9-1 loss. "They are a good team; they don't need any help and we helped by putting runners on base and making mistakes in the field," said Deyton. "But I do think it was an eye opener for our players. It's situations like these that you grow and improve from and we will do that," Deyton continued.
Maddie Greene took the loss for Highlanders. She went one inning, allowing four runs on three hits and walking one.
Mosteller, Sterrett, Lauren Hawkins and Barnes each collected one hit to lead Highlanders.
Game 5: Northwest Florida State College 11 Gordon State College 2
The final and third game of the day at the Gulf Coast Invitational found the Highlanders facing off with the Raiders of #19 Northwest Florida State College. The Highlanders out hit the Raiders, but timely hitting was scarce for the Highlanders as they could only muster two runs in the 11-2 loss. To their credit, most of the time the Raiders got runners on, they found a way to advance them and score.
The bright spot for the Highlanders was Barnes going 3 for 3 at the plate, with a double and a run scored. Maddie Green took the loss for Highlanders.
Comments from the Coaches: "We were excited to see us hit the ball how we did for our first weekend of play. Barnes batted .643 overall and Coulter, as a freshman in her first official games, put up a .438 average. To bat .643 anytime is a challenge, but against that pitching and nationally ranked teams made it more impressive. Additionally, we had six players that had .300 or higher averages and we were very impressed with the offensive production of our bench, as Hawkins, Bostwick, and Chalfant all had pinch hit RBI's." Coach Deyton on the defense: "Although the defense wasn't terrible, overall I don't think they were prepared well, and that's on me. I have to do a better job going forward." Head Coach Ally Hattermann on the battery: "We've got be better. We gave up way too many free bases (and then runs), especially in moments when we needed to close the door and end innings. I know we are better than this and we will use this as a learning experience moving forward."
Next up for the Highlanders will be the "Visit Dothan Invitational" hosted by Chipola College. Their first game will be at 1:30 PM (central) vs. Coastal Alabama South. All games will be played at James Oats Park in Dothan, AL.