Reinhardt faced the regional host Wednesday afternoon in Clinton, Miss., and lost 4-2. Dealt their first loss, the Lady Eagles then had to play a must-win game with the Blazers and came through with a 2-1 victory.
With ace Maddie Monroe losing the opening game — just her second loss in 28 decisions this season — Kelsey Floyd started the second game. Floyd had entered the first game in relief of Monroe and allowed just one hit over three innings, so Reinhardt (43-7) was confident behind her.
The senior improved to 9-5 on the season, giving up just one run on four hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings. Monroe relieved her for the final two outs and her third save.
“From Day 1, this team never stopped fighting,” Reinhardt coach Glen Crawford said in a release from the university. “Kelsey pitched an amazing game, our defense made the plays it needed to make, our baserunners were alert and got us the runs we needed, and Maddie did a great job of bouncing back and getting the final two outs. I’m so proud of this team for everything they have gone through to get to this point. It’s a great feeling to know that our season will still be going on at the end of May.”
Katy Adair (15-7) pitched both games for Belhaven (38-14) and held Reinhardt to just three hits and two walks in her losing effort. The Lady Eagles, however, made the most of their opportunities, with both runs coming in the fifth inning.
After a leadoff single by Kandi Gates, Shelby Sinclair drew a one-out walk. Former Creekview High School standout Amber Herrington entered as a pinch-runner for Gates and scored from second when Belhaven shortstop Courtney Fairly misplayed a grounder.
Sinclair, who moved to third on Fairly’s error, scored when the Lady Eagles’ Alexis Chumbler, another Creekview product, was caught in a rundown between first and second. Chumbler was eventually tagged out, but she extended the play long enough for Sinclair to cross the plate safely. A flyout ended the inning, but the two runs proved to be enough.
Belhaven (38-14) scored its only run in the bottom of the seventh, before Monroe entered to get the Lady Eagles out of a bases-loaded jam.
In the opening game, Reinhardt scored in the first and seventh innings, getting nothing in between.
Meanwhile, Belhaven rode a three-run third inning to the victory.
Chumbler did connect for a home run in Game 1.
Reinhardt will now turn its attention to the national championships, which run May 24-30. It will face some tough competition in Columbus, as at least eight of the 10 No. 1 seeds in the regionals advanced to the national championships.
Seeding for the tournament will be announced today.