May 05, 2017
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – Day two of the Association of Independent Institutions Softball Championship tournament survived wet and rainy conditions to put four games in the books on Friday at the Grizzly Softball Complex in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett and fourth-seeded Fisher (Mass.) resumed their suspended contest from Thursday after heavy rain in the Lawrenceville area halted the opening game of the A.I.I. tournament the previous day. The Grizzlies, who led Fisher 3-1 after an inning and a half of play on Thursday, went on an offensive tear to score 16 unanswered runs, including a 13-run fourth inning, to defeat the Falcons 19-1 in a five-inning, run-rule victory. The contest was highlighted by a 4-for-4 performance by GGC catcher Sydney Willhite that included two home runs and accounted for seven of the Grizzlies 19 runs in the contest. Grizzly starting pitcher Taylor Hansis (19-4) picked up the win, tossing five innings of two-hit ball while Fisher's Mikayla Zimmerman (8-11) suffered the loss, surrendering 19 runs, 13 earned, in four innings of work.
In game two, third-seeded Talladega (Ala.) jumped out a 5-0 lead after the first three innings of play behind a grand slam home run by third baseman Taylor Espinoza; however, second-seeded Edward Waters (Fla.) rallied for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth and then worked a 1-2-3 seventh to pull out the come-from-behind victory over the Tornadoes. The Tigers received 3.2 innings of shutout relief from Gabrielle Williamson (5-6) in the win as the right-hander allowed just one hit while holding Talladega scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Of note, third baseman Brashell Keys led the Tigers at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance. Keys was accountable for four of the Tigers' seven runs, driving in three while scoring on one occasion.
Georgia Gwinnett advanced to Saturday's championship game, taking the winner's bracket spot in the contest as the Grizzlies defeated Edward Waters 4-0 in game three on Friday. The Grizzlies capitalized on a EWC fielding error to take a 1-0 lead and then moved to a 3-0 advantage with a two-run double by left fielder Aubree Cox. In the bottom of the fourth, A.I.I. Player of the Year Niki Cook pushed GGC's advantage to 4-0 with an inside-the-park home run to the center field wall. Georgia Gwinnett's starting pitcher Chelsi Palazzo (15-2) picked up the victory, recording a career single-game high 11 strikeouts in the complete-game shutout.
Friday came to a close with a back-and-forth battle between Fisher and Talladega in the tournament's first elimination game. Talladega used three pitchers, Bryann Welch, Alyssa Gonzalez, and Maya Canul, to combine for the 6-4 win over the Falcons, eliminating Fisher from the 2017 tournament. Of note, Fisher's shortstop Morgan Selmi went 4-for-5 at the plate, ending her tournament run with a combined 6-for-7 tally at the plate that included a 2-for-2 stint against Georgia Gwinnett in the tournament's first game.
The final day of the A.I.I. softball championship tournament play begins Saturday, May 6 at 10:00 a.m. when Edward Waters and Talladega battle for a spot in the championship game against Georgia Gwinnett at 12:30 p.m.