IRONDALE – Mississippi Valley State came from three runs down to beat Jackson State 7-3 and claim their seventh SWAC softball title and first since 2009.
A grand slam by catcher Nicole Burr in the top of the seventh inning capped the comeback for the Devilettes, who improved to 34-17. MVSU will find out Sunday night where they will be heading in the NCAA tournament. The selection show will be streamed on NCAA.com at 9 p.m.
Burr was named Tournament Most Outstanding Player. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Kimberly Spivey, Alicia Lorenz. Jackson State had three players on the team. Last year’s tournament MOP Wendi Reed, Jasmin Warren and Tayler Nave. Giana Robinson and Rebecca Villarreal represented Texas Southern, while Cassandra Brown (Alabama A&M), Cally Falls (Prairie View), CeCe Kolesar (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) rounded out the team.
JSU threatened in both the second and third innings, advancing runners into scoring position. However, MVSU snuffed out each threat to keep the game scoreless.
However, in the fifth inning lightening struck off the bat of SWAC Player of the Year Wendi Reed. After JSU left fielder Jasmine Warren doubled, Reed launched a moon shot over the left field fence for a 2-run blast.
The SWAC East regular season champs wouldn’t go quietly. Devilettes loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning. JSU reliever LeEthel Guillory walked MVSU catcher Nicole Burr to drive in pinch-runner Meagan Martinez to make it 3-1.
The skies opened up causing a 33-minute rain delay. When play resumed, MVSU continued the rally. After Guillory struck out Alexandra Sullivan, right fielder Rachelle Harris ripped a single to center, plating a pair of runs to tie the game at 3-3. Guillory struck out the side but the damage was done.
In the seventh inning, MVSU mounted a 2-out rally after an error kept the inning alive. Shana Ladner reached with JSU right fielder Lauren Aikens couldn’t come up with a pop fly. MVSU pounced on the opportunity.
Second-baseman Kishti Kamaka was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Alexandra Robertson followed with a walk to load the bases and set the stage for Burr. On a 3-2 pitch, Burr cranked the game-winning shot about 250 feet out of the yard.
Burr accounted for five of the Devilettes’ seven runs, although she only had one hit. Rachelle Harris drove in the other two runs. Alexandra Sullivan had two hits for MVSU.
Reed was 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and a stolen base. Amanda Vasquez had a double, while Sabeana Romero was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Lorenz was the winning pitcher for the Devilettes. She allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk. She also had six strikeouts.
Guillory was the losing pitcher for JSU. She only gave up two hits, and only one of the five runs she surrendered was earned. She issued three walks and struck out two. Combined, the Lady Tiger pitchers, Guillory and Breea Jamerson only gave up four hits.