Otahks win one, lose one

Friday, May 14, 2004

RICHMOND, Ky. -- The Southeast Missouri State softball team pulled off one upset and almost came up with another Thursday in the first day of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

The Otahkians trailed just once in two games, at the bitter end of a 9-6 eight-inning loss to No. 2 Tennessee-Martin in the semifinals of the winners bracket.

Southeast had knocked off No. 3 Tenneessee Tech 3-0 on a four-hitter by Amy Fahnestock in the lone upset of four games on the first day.

The Otahkians (16-35) had entered the six-team tournament as the No. 6 seed.

They nearly set themselves up for a winners bracket meeting with Eastern Kentucky, leading all the way to the end against UTM. Kristin Runyan hit a three-run home run to cap the Skyhawks' five-run rally in the bottom of the eighth.

Southeast had grabbed the lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Jamie Birk doubled to drive in Kelly Birk, Alana Bagby-Leonard doubled to drive in Jamie Birk and Charlene Ramirez singled to drive in Bagby-Leonard.

Southeast stretched its lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth but UTM answered with two in the bottom of the inning.

In the extra inning, Southeast scored two runs with a throwing error bringing in Lyndsey Webb, who had singled, and Suzi Lair's sacrifice fly bringing in Amy Murphy.

But UTM tied the game and had two runners on when Runyan came to the plate and delivered the game-winning blow.

Jessica Hunter took the loss for Southeast, allowing two runs on two hits.

The Otahkians play 11:15 a.m. today against No. 5 Jacksonville State.

A big upset

Southeast pulled the tournament's first upset in the event's second game.

Fahnestock, who ran her record to 10-12, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning and pitched around a hit and an error in the fifth. She allowed only one baserunner over the final two innings.

"Amy pitched a powerful game today," Southeast coach Lana Richmond said. "We got the key hits when we needed them, and the pitching performance made the runs hold up."

Southeast's lineup, facing 20-game winner Lori Bayless, used four hits to compile three runs.

Bagby-Leonard cracked a solo home run in the top of the second inning.

The Otahkians added two more in the sixth inning. Kelly Birk's single and Jamie Birk's double set the table with one out. After Bagby-Leonard popped out, Ramirez delivered a single to score pinch-runner Stephanie Mata and Jamie Birk.

Kelly Birk honored

Southeast junior Kelly Birk was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District softball team, chosen by sports information directors.

Birk, who was selected to the team as a pitcher, leads the Otahkians with a .336 batting average and also has a 2.04 earned average. She has pitched 92 2/3 innings, allowing 88 hits and 27 earned runs.

The California native has a 3.818 grade point average. She is majoring in biology.

"This is a tremendous honor for Kelly," Richmond said. "She has been our top hitter and pitcher this season while doing an outstanding job in the classroom. She is a tremendous scholar-athlete."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: