DUNCAN, S.C. – The Valkyries softball team dropped their final two games of the Mid-South Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Tyger River Complex. Converse (0-16) gave a valiant effort in the first game, but fell to UNC Pembroke in the final at-bat, 1-0, before coming out on the wrong end of a 8-0 score against the Railsplitters of Lincoln Memorial.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 0, UNCP 1
Both defenses were stellar through the first six and a half innings of play as neither team could push across a run to break the scoreless tie. The Valkyries had a great opportunity in the top of the second to plate the game's first run, but was unable to do so. Mariah Blackmon drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a beautifully executed sacrifice bunt by Anna Bennett. However, back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat.
Pembroke had a golden chance in the bottom of the fifth after putting runners on second and third with one out. A strikeout led the inning off but an error by the Vals outfield allowed a runner to reach and take second with a stolen base. The next batter lined the Braves first hit to left field before also stealing second to put two runners in scoring position.
However, UNCP tried a squeeze play, but the batter popped up to third base and the Converse defensed doubled off the runner breaking from third to end the threat and keep the game even at 0-0.
The Valkyries went down in order during the top of the seventh and sent the game to the final half inning. The leadoff batter for the Braves struck out but the next hitter reached on a shallow single to left field. Tatum Brummitt then roped a ball into right center, but Kelsie Land made a full extension catch to rob Brummitt of a potential game-winning hit. However, a stolen base and walk set up Bailey Hoch, who ripped a ball through the infield, allowing Mary Sells to score the game's only run, giving UNCP the 1-0 win.
Steadman took the hard-to-swallow loss after throwing 6.2 innings and allowing just one run on four hits while striking out a season-high nine batters. Raygan Larson earned the win after her complete game shutout.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 0, LMU 8 (5 INNINGS)
The Valkyries put two runners on in the top of the first after Steadman beat out an infield hit and Allison Plafcan walked, but a strikeout and fly out ended the frame and kept CC off the board. That missed opportunity proved crucial in the bottom of the first as LMU scored four times, the big blow coming off the bat of Audrey Petoskey, who crushed a two-run homerun to center.
Lincoln Memorial added to that lead in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs on two hits and an error. Bella Buccellato tallied an RBI single during the at-bat.
Converse's offense continued to struggle through five innings allowing LMU to post two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, collecting the 8-0, run rule, victory.
Jena Massing dropped to 0-3 on the season after she was tagged with the loss, tossing 2/3 of an inning and allowing four runs on four hits. Justice Smith ran her record to 4-3 with the win.
The Valkyries will return to the diamond on Wednesday, February 28 as they travel to Newberry to face the Wolves in non-conference action. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.