NCAA Tournament: Historic Season Comes To An End For Florida Tech Softball After Defeat
By Florida Tech // May 17, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech softball’s magical ride was halted Saturday afternoon as the Panthers were defeated 5-3 by No. 24 Shorter, falling in the NCAA South Super Regional, two games to none.
With the win, the Hawks advance to the Division II Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Shorter got on the board early as Niki Cook led off with a single, stole second and came around on an error by Brigit Godfrey at shortstop.
Cook once again hurt the Panthers in the third, scoring an inside-the-park home run. With Cook’s speed a constant threat, Jessica Callahan was stationed in shallow left field. The Hawk speedster took advantage, slapping a ball over Callahan’s head and to the wall in left. Cook turned on the jets, touching every base along the way.
Shorter scored another insurance run in the fifth when Tori Etheridge beat out an infield single to Elizabeth Eby at second base, allowing Paige Rowland to come home.
In the bottom half, Taylor Peterson led off with a single through the right side and Nicole Shinsky followed with a double to left. Hailey Leonard broke the scoring barrier for FIT, reaching on an infield single to first that gave Peterson the opportunity to score.
Right when it seemed the Panthers may have momentum turning, Kameron Carter drilled a ball high into the trees in center field for a two run dinger in the fifth inning.
Resilient as ever, the Panthers used the fleet-of-foot Elaine Brown to turn the tide back their way in the bottom half.
The FIT center fielder began the inning with a classic bunt single that trickled into the open space between the pitcher and catcher.
Brown advanced to second on a groundout by Nicole Miller and dashed home on a Peterson single up the middle.
The Panthers scratched closer in the sixth when Godfrey delivered a sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded. However, FIT was unable to cause any further damage in the inning.
With the season on the line, FIT gave itself a chance in the seventh.
Miller started things off with a double to left center and Peterson walked. The duo advanced into scoring position but Leonard’s swinging strikeout gave the Hawks the series.
The Panthers conclude the 2015 campaign with a 38-20 record, advancing to postseason play for the first time in school history and earning an NCAA South Region II Championship along the way.