Head Coach Leah Kelley calls it 'the Scots' way,' as Maryville College continues its trek for a USA South Athletic Conference Softball Tournament Championship.
The Scots rallied late again on Friday afternoon, as MC pulled its third upset of the USA South Tournament in defeating the No. 3 Huntingdon College Hawks, 4-3.
Maryville used a sixth-inning rally to overcome three errors and a 3-0 deficit in order to advance to Championship Saturday.
"It's that never quit, never give up attitude," Kelley said. "That's the Scots' way. That's what we preach, day in and day out. Bad things are going to happen. It happens every single day and every single game, but it's how you respond to it. It's that never give up attitude, no matter what. As long as there's outs to give, and our offense has a chance and our pitchers have the ball in their hands, we still have a chance."
Maryville came into the conference tournament as the lowest seeded team – a No. 6 squad. In the first weekend, the Scots tallied a third-game rally to defeat top-ranked Piedmont College, before knocking off the No. 2-seeded Spirits of Salem College in a sixth inning rally earlier today.
MC's third upset comes with another late surge, as the only defeat came in extra innings against Averett University.
"That's awesome," Kelley said of the upsets. "We're a good team, and we know that. We don't look at [the rankings]. We just look at it as there's a team in the dugout that wants to play us. We're just going to play ball."
Maryville will play Ferrum College tomorrow, April 15, at 10 a.m. in their third-consecutive elimination game. Should the Scots defeat the Panthers, they would play Averett in the USA South Championship game.
"For us to be so young, and to be able to have that experience and be in that moment and have the chance to even play in a championship game – being this young – that's huge," Kelley said. "That's huge for this program, and that's huge for this school."
Should Maryville get to Averett in the championship, the Scots would need to beat the Cougars in two-straight games in order to claim the crown.
Against Huntingdon, the game went scoreless until the bottom of the third when errors again haunted Maryville. Back-to-back errors plated a pair of runs for the Hawks in the bottom of the third, as Kelsie Dardon earned the RBI. Brandi Blair and Maggie Porter both scored on the play. Dardon was able to score on a wild pitch, giving Huntingdon a 3-0 advantage going to the fourth.
Maryville's four-run sixth would usher them to victory, though, as Nicole Blackburn came in a closed the door on the Hawks.
A Morgan Brewer walk and an Alexus Murray single put runners on for Maryville, before the pair was able to score on a crazy, fielder's choice error – a one-hopper back to the pitcher. Aly Snider would go to second on the play, before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Casey Joliff drew a hit-by-pitch as a pinch hitter, as Kelley put in Jessica McMahan to run for Snider on third. Essence Strambler would tie the game with an RBI single to center, plating McMahan. Ashton Hayden's RBI single down the left-field line would score pinch-runner Gabrielle Rathmell from third, as Maryville took the one-run victory.
MC's Christen Torres would make a spectacular diving catch down the right-field line in the bottom of the seventh to keep the Hawks at bay.
The Scots (22-18) saw Blackburn pitch 4.1 innings to move to 7-4 on the 2017 season. She gave up just three hits, while striking out a pair in the victory.
Hayden was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while six other Scots recorded hits. Strambler recorded MC's only other RBI, as Brewer, Murray, McMahan and Rathmell plated runs.
For Huntingdon (18-26), it was MacKenzie Shelley who led the way with a 2-for-3 afternoon. Dardon recorded the Hawks' only RBI.