Feb. 12, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Marshall's explosive offense was quieted once again by Alabama's Stephanie VanBrakle, as the Crimson Tide used an eight-run second inning to turn back the Thundering Herd 10-2 Sunday afternoon at the UA Softball Complex.
With the win, the sixth-ranked Crimson Tide (5-0) won its sixth consecutive Bama Bash! tournament title. The Herd (3-2) finished in second place, followed by Eastern Kentucky (2-3) in third and Mississippi Valley State (0-5) in fourth.
Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison), Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) and Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) were named to the Bama Bash! All-Tournament team. Williams finished the day 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Folden finished 1-for-1 with an RBI double. Rodriguez went 0-for-3 Sunday. She finished the tournament with a pair of three-run home runs.
Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills), the winning pitcher in the Herd's dramatic 9-8 come-from-behind victory Saturday night, received the loss, dropping to 1-2 on the early season. Ralston allowed seven runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings. Amanda Luers (Dover, Ohio/Dover) allowed a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Abigail Harter (Monmouth, Ore./Santiam Christian), Marshall's starting pitcher Sunday, allowed Alabama's first two runs of the second inning before being replaced.
VanBrakle (2-0) pitched her second complete game of the weekend - both against the Thundering Herd. The Chambersburg, Pa. senior struck out 11 Herd batters Sunday and 26 combined in two starts.
Friday, the Herd scored the game's opening run with Alabama, then Bama proceeded to score three in the first en route to a 5-1 win. Sunday was a different story.
The Herd scored two runs on three hits in the first inning, while holding the Tide defense hitless to take a 2-0 lead after an inning. Amanda Williams
led off with a single up the middle and later advanced to second on sister Jessica Williams' (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) ground out. Folden then plated Amanda Williams
with an RBI double to center field.
After Joscelyn Bitner (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) replaced Folden on second as a pinch runner, she advanced to third on a Rachael Sofie (Everett, Wash./Cascade) single up the middle. Bitner later scored the Herd's second run of the inning on a passed ball.
After a scoreless first inning, Alabama was respond with an eight-run, six-hit second inning to take a commanding 8-2 lead over the Herd.
Dani Woods' double down the right field line in the second inning was the first hit of the afternoon for the Tide. Katie Johnson would plate Woods with an RBI triple to right-center field, cutting into the Herd lead, 2-1.
That RBI triple resulted in Harter being pulled from the game for Ralston. Ralston pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief in the Herd's 9-8 comeback victory over EKU Saturday night.
The first batter Ralston faced was Bama catcher Ashley Holcombe, who drove Johnson home on a sacrifice fly to center.
Mandy Burford, Brittany Rogers and Jordan Praytor reached base to load the bases with one out for Staci Ramsey. Ramsey then cleared the bases with a grand slam to right-center field, giving the Tide a 6-2 lead.
Alabama added two more runs on an errant Jessica Williams relay to first, extending its lead to six runs, 8-2.
Woods would extend the Crimson Tide lead to seven, 9-2, with a solo home run over the right field fence in the fourth.
Alabama added the game-ending run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a throwing error by Sara Spenia (Las Vegas, Nev./Durango).
After an impressive showing in the 2006 Hampton Inn Bama Bash!, the Marshall Thundering Herd will return to action Friday, Feb. 17, at the Third Annual Georgia Softball Classic in Athens, Ga.
2006 Hampton Inn Bama Bash! All-Tournament Team
Alex Merrell, Eastern Kentucky
Chanze Patterson, Eastern Kentucky
Rachel Folden, Marshall
Samantha Rodriguez, Marshall
Amanda Williams, Marshall
Stephanie VanBrakle, Alabama
Staci Ramsey, Alabama
Jordan Praytor, Alabama
Co-Most Valuable Player: Crissy Owens, Alabama and Dani Woods, Alabama