The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

May 15, 2013

NEO captures softball tournament opener

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A four-run first inning propelled the Northeastern A&M Lady Norse to a 5-1 win against Trinity Valley in the first round of the NJCAA Division I softball tournament on Wednesday at Canyons Softball Complex.

The fourth-seeded Lady Norse square off against No. 5 seed Pima, Ariz. (47-17) at 6 p.m. today in the second round of the four-day tournament. Ranked 18th in the nation, the Aztecs advanced by defeating No. 12 Paris, Texas 6-4.

NEO, ranked No. 11 in the nation, improved to 43-9 with the win.

A leadoff walk by Lexie LaValley in the bottom of the first inning started NEO's four-run outburst. After Courtni Clark delivered a sacrifice bunt, LaValley scored on a RBI double by Megan Higgins to right-center. Maddie Stevenson reached on a two-base throwing error by Trinity Valley shortstop Melissa Billingsley as Higgins scored.

Alexis Riley drilled a single to center scoring Stevenson. On the throw home, Riley took second. Shanna Johnson singled to right-center scoring Riley for a 4-0 Lady Norse cushion.

“That's the thing about this team in that we're receiving position production from everybody,” coach Eric Iverson said. “They weren't at all distracted by the fact that they were playing in the national tournament. They just went out and put up four runs on a pretty good softball team.”

Freshman Kaitlin Davis (27-4) continued to shoulder the pitching chores for the Lady Norse after winning four straight games in the Region 2 Tournament and two games in the District B playoffs.

The lone mistake Davis made came in the top of the second inning as Trinity Valley first baseman Erica Jordan drove an 0-2 pitch over the left field fence for her eighth home run of the season to create a 4-1 deficit.

NEO added an insurance run in the bottom of the third inning on consecutive singles by Riley, Emily Walters and Ashton Pratt.

Riley, Johnson, Walters and Pratt collected two hits each to pace the 10-hit Lady Norse offense.

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