SAINT LEO, Fla. – Senior Kelly Darden (Orlando, Fla.)hit a one-out, deep sacrifice fly in the 12th inning to provide Florida Tech with a 1-0 Sunshine State
Conference softball victory over Saint Leo University Friday night in a game that saw Panthers’ pitcher sophomore Amber West (10-2), who hails from Apopka,
Florida strike out a career high 21 batters, while Saint Leo pitcher Katie Heintz (10-5) of Portland, Oregon also fanned 21 hitters in a losing cause.
“This was a total team effort tonight,” stated Panthers’ Head Coach Ellie Hanover. “Amber was outstanding in the circle and Kelly came through big at the
The only two hits West allowed was a lead-off double by Lions’ first baseman Ashley Urbanik (Riverview, Fla.) in the first inning, and a lead-off infield
single by Heather Stroud (San Antonio, Fla.) in the seventh inning. She walked one batter. Heintz permitted four singles, two of them infield hits, didn’t
walk a batter, but hit two.
The Panthers continue their winning streak to 17 for the year and Florida Tech breaks an all time conference record of seven straight SSC wins. The record
for a non-losing streak was set in 2004 when former coach Nancy Bottge went for 21 straight.
Florida Tech now stands 7-0 in league action and 18-3 overall, while the home team dropped to 2-2 in the SSC and 17-8 overall.
Junior Katie Naumoff (Poland, Ohio) collected two of Florida Tech’s four hits, while fellow juniorsLaura Chisena (Ocoee, Fla.) and Kristen Fettes (Deltona,
Fla.) picked up the other singles.
“Our defensive effort was the best all season, to hold back the Lions,” said Hanover. “ I feel the driving force in the victory came from the support by
the bench which was excellent.”
With the international rule in effect from the 10th inning on, sophomore pinch runner Thyra Dewey (Chelmsford, Mass.) started the inning off at second base
as a pinch runner. She moved to third base on a wild pitch and Darden worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a long, high fly ball to deep left field that
permitted Dewey to tag up and score without a play at the plate.
The Panthers threatened to score in the sixth when Chisena beat out a slow roller for a single and Naumoff beat out a bunt to lead off the inning. Fettes
was hit by a pitch to load the bases two outs later, but Heintz forced Darden to pop up to end the inning. Saint Leo threatened in the 11th. However, with
runners at the corner with no outs, West struck out the side.
Both teams will meet again tomorrow in double-header SSC action beginning at 1:00 p.m.