By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
Rome, Ga. – With a doubleheader sweep of Maryville by scores of 9-1 and 7-6, respectively, Sunday at South Ford Field, Berry's softball team set a school record for wins in a season.
In the opener, Berry (21-10) zoomed out to a 5-0 lead as it batted around in the first inning, taking advantage of two Maryville errors to score five runs off losing pitcher Sarah Reeder.
With her offense providing sufficient run support, right-hander Caillee Shamoun cruised through the first three innings in the pitching circle for Berry. Her shutout bid ended when Chastity Smith drilled a leadoff home run to dead center in the fourth, providing Maryville with its lone run of the game.
Maryville also put up a fight in the fifth, threatening to score as it loaded the bases with two out, but Shamoun struck out Leah Kelley to strand all three runners.
In the bottom half, Berry closed out strong, ending the game on Lacey Herring's no-doubt three-run homer, which triggered the NCAA rule run of eight runs after five innings.
"That's just typical Lacey," said Berry head coach Cori Thiermann. "She saw that inside pitch and she drove it."
Shamoun went the whole way, pitching a five inning complete game with six hits allowed and five strikeouts against one walk. Reeder also went the distance for Maryville, allowing 11 hits and nine runs (five earned) in four and two-third frames.
"Caillee had a great approach in game one," Thiermann said. "She did an awesome, awesome job of keeping their three and four hitters off-balance, and that was a key to our success."
Every batter in Berry's lineup reached base, with Lacey Herring's three hits and four RBIs leading the way. Sara Vigue had two hits and scored twice while Kristen Stoll crossed home plate twice as well. Hannah Youngdeer went 2-for-2 to lead Maryville's six-hit attack, while Smith's long ball accounted for the Scots' single run.
In the nightcap, Maryville turned the tables on Berry, charging ahead to a 4-0 lead on righty Andrea Cole, including a three-run second inning.
Down four runs by their half of the third, Berry's hitters slowly chipped away, narrowing the gap to one run after a three-run fifth. They would then knot the game up at 6-6 courtesy of Jessica Washington's RBI double that energized the Berry crowd and set up the dramatic finish.
After singling and stealing second base, Herring dashed home and slid in safely on Krista Woody's single to center, giving Berry (22-10) the sweep and Woody another fond memory of a day in which she was honored before the opening game.
"Our bats were a little slow out of the gates, but they eventually came alive," Thiermann said. "We knew we just had to chip away. This game was a good example of how our bats stayed alive from the third inning on."
Cole labored through five innings for Berry on her way to a no-decision. She surrendered 10 hits and six runs (five earned). Shamoun (16-4) earned her fourth decision in as many games, pitching two scoreless frames of one-hit ball.
Brittany Henry picked up the loss for Maryville, tossing six-plus innings and allowing 12 hits with seven runs (five earned). She struck out seven.
Woody's batting line in the second game included three hits and three RBIs. Berry also benefitted from multi-hit games by Holly Todd, Stoll and Washington. Stoll and Herring both scored two runs apiece.
The win was the 22nd of the season for Berry, giving it two more than it had a year ago and the most ever by a Berry team in a single season.
For Maryville Leah Kelley raked four doubles as part of a perfect 4-for-4 showing at the dish and crossed home plate three times. Andrea Brew, Henry and Youngdeer also pitched in with two hits apiece.
Berry will complete its final 2012 home stand this Wednesday when it hosts a doubleheader against Young Harris. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
NOTES: Before the opener, Berry acknowledged Woody for her contributions to the program. Her number 16 was also painted behind home plate. The junior catcher from Cleveland, Ga., will be playing in her final two home games this Wednesday before leaving Berry to attend Nursing School at Mercer University in the fall. Woody is one of several members from Berry's inaugural team in 2010 to still be playing for the Vikings.
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