The Lady Eagles, No. 12 in the NAIA rankings, trailed 7-1 after two innings, but they rallied to beat St. Andrews 10-7, complete a sweep of a doubleheader and clinch one of the AAC’s automatic berths into the NAIA tournament.
Reinhardt won the first game 9-1 in five innings.
Coach Glen Crawford was pleased to see the Lady Eagles win the AAC title for the fifth straight season.
“We had to overcome some adversity to get here,” he said. “We could have folded up tents and been content with a possible share of the conference championship, but I told C.J. (Browder) after she got on third base in the fourth (in Game 2) that we’ve scored six runs in an inning before. We just needed to relax and let our offense do what we knew it could do.”
Browder reached third when a fly ball down the right-field line dropped just inside fair territory. Taylor Braselton then doubled to left-center to plate Browder at the start of the five-run inning. Kaley Garmon made it 7-3 when she drove in Braselton with a single.
Former Creekview High School standout Amber Herrington entered as a pinch-runner for Garmon and stole second. Another former Creekview standout, Alexis Chumbler, reached on a bunt single before a sacrifice by Tyler Sampson plated Herrington.
Reinhardt added two more runs thanks to a single by Shelby Sinclair and some good luck.
On Sinclair’s single, Chumbler was racing home when the throw to the plate was cut off in an attempt to catch Sinclair rounding third. However, the throw to second struck the umpire and ended up in left field— allowing Sinclair to score on what was considered a two-base error.
The inning ended with Reinhardt trailing 7-6.
After a scoreless top of the fifth, Randi Wimpy started the Lady Eagles’ half of the inning by being struck by a pitch. Singles by Browder and Braselton loaded the bases before Garmon connected for a bases-clearing double, which gave Reinhardt the 9-7 lead.
Wimpy scored an insurance run in the sixth after reaching on a triple.
Former Creekview standout Madison Luck, who has been the Lady Eagles’ ace this season, collected both victories and improved her record to 27-2. She only pitched the final inning of Game 2, but she was the pitcher of record.
Highlights of the first game included a triple by Wimpy that drove in Katie Rietkovich, and a two-run homer by Browder.
The Lady Eagles will return to action Tuesday to begin the AAC Tournament at Domtar Park in Kingsport, Tenn.