BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell's softball team (25-25, 8-7 Big South) made its "Strikeout Cancer Day" memorable with a 5-4 thrilling victory over Coastal Carolina (33-17, 10-8 Big South) on Saturday, April 21, at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium. The Camels took two of three games in the conference series on the weekend.
The nationwide "Strikeout Cancer Day" event had special significance for Campbell's softball program with the Camels renaming the team's newly renovated softball stadium for former catcher Amanda Littlejohn, who passed away after a four year battle from cancer on Sept 1, 2011, in a special ceremony on Friday evening, April 20. On Saturday all members of the program wore specially made black t-shirt as jerseys for the event with the word "Camels" in bright pink lettering on the front of the shirt. The team went one step further and put the name of a loved one, family member or friend that that has been affected by cancer on the back of their uniforms in a sign of remembrance and honor for the special day.
Sophomore Olivia Scarborough (8-3) was steady in allowing four runs in six innings to earn the victory. The loss was taken by Coastal's Ashley Bagwell (10-8). Bagwell was tagged with five runs and nine hits in her six innings of work. Junior Brittany Arnn earned her first save of the season when she was called on to get out of runner on first, no-out situation with the team clinging to a one-run lead.
Coastal scored a run in the opening inning. Brooke Donovan walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored the first run on Cacia Pierre's two-out double to left field.
The Camels answered and tied the game up with a run in the bottom of the frame. Junior Sarah Forgacs reached on an infield single. A sacrifice from freshman Ericka Nesbitt moved her to second. She raced around the bases and scored on freshman Stephanie Jones' double to center field to tie the game at one all.
CU took the lead with a run in the second inning. Freshman Kerstine Womack reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on Forgacs' single up the middle. Nesbitt followed with a single to short right to allow Womack to score just ahead of the tag at home with the second run of the game for the Camels.
Coastal threatened to tie the game up in the third inning. Sarah Maples reached on an infield single to third and moved to second as the ball was thrown away. Kiana Quolas then singled to short with two outs to put runners on the corners. Pierre ripped a ball that was ticketed for right field if not for the diving stop from sophomore Shaela Churchill at second. Churchill recovered quickly and threw on to first to end the Coastal inning.
The Chants did tie the game up with a run in the top of the fourth inning. Chelsea Pineda was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Courtney Howell was inserted to run for Pineda and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then third on a steal. Howell came in to score on Sara Rasley's sacrifice fly.
Coastal wrestled the lead back with a run in the top of the fifth inning. Maples and Kory Hayden both singled to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved each runner up a base. Pierre was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. After a strikeout, Beth Kassuhn hit a ball to deep in the hole at short and was ruled to have beaten the Nesbitt throw at first to allow Maples to score the go-ahead run from third.
The Camels took the lead back in the bottom of the frame. Nesbitt started the inning with a bunt single. Jones followed with a single of her own. Sophomore Raven Lee then laid down a bunt to move each runner up a base. Lee also reached on the ball as a play was unsuccessfully tried at third to get out the lead runner. With the bases now loaded senior Taylor McGee was able to draw a walk to drive in a run and tie the game at three all. Fellow senior Christina Melton was inserted to pinch hit and was hit by a pitch to drive in Jones with the go-ahead tally.
The Camels added a big and necessary insurance run in the sixth inning. Womack started the frame with a single. After a foul out for the first out, Nesbitt laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Womack to second base. Jones proved to be the nemesis again and laced a single to left to score Womack with the team's fifth run of the game and give the Camels a 5-3 advantage heading to the seventh inning.
The Coastal seventh proved interesting as the Chants crept a run closer plus has the tying run in scoring position with only one-out. Quolas started the trouble with a lead-off walk. Nicole Saggiomo was then inserted to run for Quolas and moved to second on a wild pitch. Saggiomo scampered home with the Coastal run on Pierre's single to left. Arnn was then inserted. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Jazmin Daigle to second before Arnn recorded strikeouts of Kasshun and Rasley to end the game.
Next, Campbell heads off to Lynchburg, Va. to take on Liberty on April 27 for a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.