Louisburg Sweeps Region X Softball Tourney Title

Louisburg Sweeps Region X Softball Tourney Title

BURLINGTON -- Turning a disappointing negative into a euphoric positive was the chief goal of the Louisburg College Lady Hurricanes  heading into last week's Region X Softball Tournament.

One week earlier, LC had dropped three straight games at rival Pitt Community College with the league's regular season crown at stake.

But when it mattered most, the Lady Hurricanes came through in grand fashion, winning four consecutive games at the tourney to earn the championship last Friday at Springwood Park in Burlington.

Already in the winner's bracket thanks to a pair of victories last Thursday, LC claimed a semifinal decision Friday over Florence-Darlington by a 4-1 total.

After FDTC stayed alive in the double-elimination format with a victory over Pitt, the Lady Hurricanes met the Stingers one more time later that day.

Florence-Darlington needed two wins over Louisburg to stay alive, but it never got that far as the Lady Canes wrapped up their third consecutive region tournament championship with a convincing 7-1 triumph.

"The most important thing that happened for us came that Monday after we lost the series to Pitt,'' said LC head coach Eric Lee. "We had our best practice of the year. The kids went to Burlington on a mission.''

Sophomore standout hurler Mary Anna Clement, who has battled injuries this spring, was the winning pitcher in both outings as the Stingers had no answer for her wicked change-up.

"We got Mary Anna back to being Mary Anna,'' Lee said. "When you put her on a big stage like that, she performs at her best.''

LC struck first in Friday's opener with a single run in the bottom of the first as Haleigh Joyner tripled and Clement followed with a run-scoring single.

The big blow of the contest came in the bottom of the second as the Lady Hurricanes gained some scoreboard distance when Jacie Arrington launched a three-run homer that just snaked inside the left-field foul pole.

Clement did the rest, going five innings while allowing just three hits and whiffing seven before giving way to Tamara Grayson, who picked up the save.

The finale featured more heroics from Clement as she went 6.2 innings, giving up just three hits while striking out seven.

Before the final out was recorded, Lee took Clement out of the game, allowing her to receive a much-deserved standing ovation.

Grayson recorded the closing out, and LC was once again the region tourney champion.

Sarah Hilton went 4-for-4 at the plate, while LeeAnn Nobles had a clutch two-run double.

LC will now advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II World Series, which will be held May 22-25 in Clinton, Mississippi.