The Maryville College Softball program’s 2017 season has come to an end. The Lady Scots finish their 2017 campaign with a 22-19 overall record, 9-11 in USA South Conference play.
Maryville entered the post-season as the sixth seed in the USA South West Division, and traveled to Piedmont College on April 8, to face the first seed in the West. The Lady Scots had to win a best-of-three series against the top-seeded Lions, to advance to the later USA South Conference Tournament rounds, and they did.
In game one, Maryville upset Piedmont 4-3. Junior Rachel Taylor led Maryville with a 3-RBI outing, and freshman Ashton Hayden added an RBI of her own. Casey Joliff earned the complete game win with 3 K’s, giving up only 8 hits, and 3 earned runs. Later that day, Piedmont took game-2 with a 9-2 win over the Lady Scots.
The next day, and the third game of the USA South Tournament—First round would decide who advanced to the double-elimination rounds of the USA South Tournament. Maryville would stun top-seeded Piedmont, 5-3. Both teams were held scoreless until the sixth inning.
Piedmont struck first in the top half of the inning, and took a 3-0 lead. A 5-run rally in the bottom half of the sixth put the Lady Scots up 5-3, with only 3 outs left. Sophomore Morgan Corland earned the complete game win from the circle, giving up nothing in the top of the seventh, and Maryville advanced in upset fashion.
Maryville then traveled to the Shuford Softball Complex in LaGrange, Ga. on April 13, to face the second-seed in the East, Averett University. The Lady Cougars took the lead early, and went into the fourth inning with a 4-0 advantage. Maryville would come alive in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Alexus Murray’s RBI-ground out put the Lady Scots on the board.
An unearned run by MC was followed by an Averett error on a throw to first base, which allowed another run put Maryville down by one, 4-3. The Lady Scots took the lead in the top of the seventh behind senior Jenna Roberts. Roberts roped an RBI-single to right that scored Hayden, then stole second.
The Averett Catcher tried to gun her down, but missed her target. The error brought across Roberts, and Maryville led 5-4. However, the Lady Cougars tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom half of the inning, and the game went to extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Averett would earn a 6-5 walk-off win. The Lady Scots moved to the loser’s bracket, and faced elimination.
The next day, Maryville faced the Salem College Spirits, the second-seed in the West. Maryville gained a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second without recording a hit. Salem would cut Maryville’s lead in half in the top of the third, and the Lady Scots held a 2-1 advantage. The Spirits would be handed three unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning, and took a 4-2 lead. However, Maryville would answer to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Morgan Brewer’s RBI-triple scored sophomore Gabrielle Rathmell, and an Alexus Murry RBI-sac-fly scored Brewer. The Lady Scots regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Roberts hit an RBI-single to right, scoring Hayden. Morgan Corland protected a 5-4 lead, and earned her seventh win of the year. The upset win over the Spirits put Maryville in the USA South Tournament quarter-finals.
Later that day, the Lady Scots faced the Huntingdon College Lady Hawks, the 3-seed in the West. Both teams were held scoreless until the bottom of the third when Huntingdon put three runs on the board. Maryville had two errors and a wild pitch in the third inning that resulted in a 3-0 deficit. But Maryville battled back, with a huge 4-run top of the sixth.
A Lady Hawks error brought Murray across, and a wild pitch scored Brewer. Freshman Mercedes Strambler hit an RBI-single to center that brought home senior Jessica McMahan. Then Hayden hit an RBI-single down the left-field line that scored Rathmell. Maryville refused to give up another run and advanced to the semi-finals with a 4-3 upset victory over Huntingdon.
The 2017 Maryville College Softball season would end in the USA South Conference Tournament semi-finals against the Ferrum College Lady Panthers, the third-seed in the East. Maryville took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Strambler scored from first on a wild play following an Ashton Hayden bunt down the third base line, that almost resulted in an inside-the-park homerun.
Maryville carried the lead into the fifth inning before Ferrum scored three runs in the top half of the inning, and took a 3-1 advantage. In the bottom of the seventh, Maryville loaded the bases, and was in position for a walk-off upset win after Rachel Taylor was hit by a pitch and scored Strambler. However, Maryville’s rally fell short, and Ferrum advanced with a 3-2 win.
Ashton Hayden was named to the USA South All-Tournament Team. Hayden, Morgan Brewer, Alexus Murray and Jenna Roberts were all named to the USA South West Division Second Team. Jessica McMahan was named to the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team.