5/12/2011 - Judson College Lady Eagles Softball Team Places in National Tournament
Judson College Lady Eagles Softball Team Places in National Tournament
By Michael J. Brooks
The Judson College Lady Eagles softball team was ranked eighth among the 20 women's softball teams in the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association coach's poll on May 3, but came away from last week's tournament ranked fourth in the league.
The USCAA national tournament was held in Akron, Ohio May 6-9.
"I'm proud of students. They played as hard as they could possibly play," said head coach Lee Jones.
"We had excellent pitching by Meliah Matthews, a freshman, but everybody contributed. We had good defensive play, too."
Judson lost to St. Mary of the Woods of Indiana 5-1 in game one of round one on Friday, but won game six of round two 2-1on Saturday against St. Joseph's of New York. Pitcher Meliah Matthews of Clanton posted a no-hitter in the game.
Judson won again 4-2 in game ten against Penn State. Malina Graff of Panama City, Fla. and Samantha Hale of Rainbow City each had two hits for Judson.
Judson defeated St. Mary of the Woods 3-2 in game 12. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Malina Graff drove in sister Melia to keep Judson alive for a birth to the Championship Series.
Judson lost to St. Mary 6-2 Sunday in game 14. Melia Graff led Judson going 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Sarah Kendrick of Ocean Springs, Miss. added two hits and one RBI for the Eagles.
Judson lost 3-2 in the third-place game to Spalding University of Louisville. Judson came back in the second inning and cut the deficit to 2-1 after Chelbie Greenhaw of Hazel Green doubled and drove in Malina Graff. In the sixth inning Judson's Raelynn Liveoak of Jemison drove in Eriana Hammond of Pass Christian, Miss. to tie the game at 2.
The Lady Eagles left the tournament in fourth place for the first time in their history.
Meliah Matthews was named to the All American Tournament Team and Melia Graff was named honorable mention to the All American Team. Graff also was named to the All-American Academic Team for having a grade point average of 3.5 or better.
"We're only losing two players who'll graduate next month," Jones said. "So, I believe we'll be a stronger team next year with more experience and maturity."
Founded in 1838, Judson College is the nation's premier Christian college for women. Located in Marion, Ala., Judson has been recognized by "U.S. News & World Report" as among the top 20 best national liberal arts colleges by guidance counselors in the "Best High Schools" category.