Kelley wins 100th career victory following 26-hour rain delay, 12-4

Kelley wins 100th career victory following 26-hour rain delay, 12-4

Maryville College Head Coach Leah Kelley earned her 100th victory, as the Scots fought off a rain delay to sweep Methodist University with a 12-4 win.

In just her fifth season, Kelley holds a record of 100-79. She has a .575 winning percentage over her career.

"It's great," Kelley said. "It's not just me. It's all my staff and players – former and present – that have helped me by buying into the program and buying into my coaching style. It's cool to finally get 100. It's never how you expect it. It's just how life works, and that's really just the game of softball. You can expect when something is going to happen, and it never works out. It's always a special moment."

Win 100 came in a surprising fashion, as Kelley had to wait more than a day to complete her 100th win. The second game of the double-header against Methodist was halted in the top of the fifth due to a heavy rain storm.

More than 26 hours later, Kelley and her squad walk off with the 12-4 win in five innings.

"It's insane," Kelley said. "I'd just told the team that you can plan something out – you know as a ballplayer, you can picture an at bat or as a pitcher, you can picture a pitch when you go out to perform. I was picturing my 100th win, and this is definitely not how I pictured it. That's how life works. It's such a crazy circumstance, but I'm proud of my team coming out here and finishing this game for the program – not for me, but for the program."

Kelley and her squad made history last season, as they earned only the second conference tournament championship for the program. Maryville won the USA South Athletic Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championship – the first since the 2002 Great South Athletic Conference Tournament crown.

They advanced to only the third NCAA Appearance in school history, eventually finishing as the Atlanta Regional Runners-up. MC also broke the school record for wins last year with 31 – a record that had stood since 2003 at the 2012 graduate's alma mater.

"It makes me emotional thinking about," an emotional Kelley said. "I have such a passion for Maryville, and all I've ever wanted to do was give back to the program that gave me so much. When I played here, I played my heart out and left everything on the field. Then, the NCAA said I couldn't play anymore, so I thought, 'Well, I can coach.' I decided to coach and come back to do it at the school that I care so much about. To continue to give back to the program that has given me so much is pretty special."

Kelley has coached 19 USA South All-Conference performers and two All-Region performers in the past four seasons. She was named the USA South Coach of the Year in 2016, while Morgan Brewer won Player of the Year last year under the fifth-year coach.

Katlyn Smith – the 2018 USA South Rookie Pitcher of the Year – and Taylor Campbell – the 2018 Rookie of the Year – have both won major conference awards under Kelley.

Maryville jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as Campbell blasted her second home run of the series. The solo shot gave the Scots a one-run lead early.

Methodist would rally, however, taking a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. A pair of singles from B Best and B Junker put runners on for the Monarchs, as a two-out RBI single by K Smith scored Best from third. Junker stole home, as Methodist held the lead after one inning.

The Scots scored four runs in the top of the third to take a 5-2 lead they would not look back from. Amaya Goodloe singled to shortstop to leadoff the inning, before Christina White's RBI triple to center scored the right fielder. Murray would score White with an RBI to short, before Campbell found her second RBI of the game with a double to center. Murray scored on the play, before Reid Ballard's RBI single up the middle plated pinch runner Ashleigh Geary. Maryville led 5-2 going to the fourth.

MC would rally against in the fifth, as a Campbell walk and back-to-back singles by Morgan Brewer and Essence Strambler loaded the bases with two outs. A wild pitch scored Campbell, as Sarah Gordon drew a walk to load the bases again. Goodloe earned the RBI with a bases-loaded walk, before White would earn her second and third RBI of the game with a single. Goodloe and Strambler scored, as the Scots led 9-2.

The game would be delayed for more than 26 hours, before the Scots could continue the fifth. Murray had a two-RBI single through the left side to score White and Goodloe, as Ballard added an RBI single to score Murray. Maryville scored seven runs in the fifth, taking a 12-2 lead.

Methodist added a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, as the Scots held on for the five-inning win.

Maryville was led by Campbell who went 2-for-2 with two RBI, two runs scored and two walks. White was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs, while Ballard was 3-for-4 with two RBI.

Murray was 1-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, while Goodloe was 1-for-1 with an RBI and two runs. Sarah Gordon, Strambler, Brewer and Geary each added runs for Maryville.

Morgan Corland moved to 2-1 on the year with the win, as she had three strikeouts. Katlyn Smith finished the game, pitching one inning with three strikeouts and a walk.

Methodist was led by Blythe Best who was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs.

Maryville will have a few days off, before the Scots return home on Wednesday, March 20. The Scots wil open USA South Athletic Conference play with a doubleheader against Brevard College at 2 p.m.