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Bailey fans12 in Lady Wolves’ win over Road Runners

NORMAL, Ill. – Copiah-Lincoln’s Softball team advanced to thequarterfinals of the NJCAA Division II Softball Championship, heldat Champion Field here, in a big way, with a 6-0 shutout overDelaware Tech.

As a result of the victory, CLCC had an early wake-up call totake on the winner of a Thursday contest between Michigan’s OaklandCommunity College and Johnson Community College from Overland Park,Kan. That game was set to start at 10 a.m. today. It would be thefirst of two games on the day, with the second game set for 4 p.m.at Champion Field.

Lady Wolves pitcher Becca Bailey earned the win, fanning 12Delaware Tech batters and allowing just two hits, while going2-for-4 herself with singles in the second and fifth innings.

CLCC (35-11) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning on adouble by shortstop Ashley Sykes, which scored both center fielderEmily Langley who singled, and left fielder Candace Avants, whoreached first on an error by Tech shortstop Crystal Spencer.

With one out in the fourth inning, CLCC scored two more runs,thanks to an RBI by freshman first baseman Rebecca Rousseau,scoring catcher Missy Paulina and third baseman Meleah Brown,increasing the Lady Wolves lead to 4-0.

CLCC got two more runs in the seventh inning for good measureagainst the 44-4 Roadrunners, courtesy of Sykes scoring on a flyoutto center field by Bailey, and Boone singling which scored secondbaseman Kayla Crochet, leading to the eventual final score.

With matters well in hand, coach Allen Kent opted to givefreshman Rousseau a shot at pitching in the seventh inning. Inorder, Rousseau struck out pitcher Chelsea Walls looking, fannedTech shortstop Crystal Spencer swinging, and outfielder Kerby Gallolooking.

“It felt good to be given the chance to pitch an inning atNationals,” Rousseau said. “A first time at Nationals as afreshman…getting an opportunity like that is just great. I justwent out there and did what I had to do.”

“I’m very happy with the win,” said winning pitcher Bailey, whopitched six innings before giving Rousseau a shot at pitching inthe seventh inning.

“The team always backs me up,” Bailey said about the support herteammates provided. “They always come back and hit the ball. Thatallows me to continue pitching and keep (the opposition) fromscoring.”

Bailey said it was important for CLCC to “bring (our) top gamebecause we’re playing the top teams.

“My mind is set to do my job, pitch as hard as I can, make thepitches effective, and work hard,” she said.

“We won State, we won regionals, (and) that’s a great feeling,”Bailey said. “And to come here to Nationals is just an amazingfeeling to be here.”

“We were able to score,” Kent said. “We were able to steal a fewextra bases, (be able to move players) around one at a time, so,we’re still not a power-hitting team, but, you know, we will dowhatever it takes.”

Kent said his team has been working on defense against fly ballsand pop-ups. He joked that “there are few more trees” back homethan he saw here, thus cutting down on a 10-mile an hour wind thatgusted periodically to 20 mph throughout the gray day. There hadbeen a threat of rain, but most of what was expected stayed in thelower half of the state.

She’s Visited Here Before: This trip may havebeen Bailey’s first to Normal as a member of CLCC, but actually,she has been here before – in 2001, as a member of the LouisianaPatriots, a team that participated in an ASA tournament for girlsage 16 and under, held here at Champion Fields.

“It was actually very exciting (to be back here),” Baileysaid.