GMC Softball opened their season by traveling south to the Adidas Juco Classic in Clearwater, Florida. The team went 4-2 on the weekend. As projected the offense was explosive with the Bulldogs scoring 39 runs on 51 hits over the weekend.
The team opened the season with a 9-5 win over Gulf Coast State. After falling behind 3-0 early in the first, the Bulldogs answered immediately by batting around in the bottom of the first, scoring 8 runs on 7 hits and cruising to an opening game win. Autumn Land went 3-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. Emily Dansby and Brianna Painter each went 2-3 with 2 runs, an RBI and a stolen base. Laura Lee Keene got the start in the circle and picked up her first win of the year, giving up just 7 hits and getting 1 strikeout in 7 innings pitched.
In game 2, the Bulldogs dropped a 5-2 decision to #6 Central Florida. The Bulldogs were down 3-0 after 2 but started to come alive as they scored runs in both the 3rd and 4th innings, including a home run from Kennedy Coffee to cut the lead to 1. CF was able to hold off the charge and squeaked out a 5-2 win. Beth Eddins was solid in the circle for the first start of her collegiate career picking up her first strike-out.
The Bulldogs rebounded in Game 3 with a nail bitter against Tallahassee for a 5-4 win in extra innings. It was a back and forth affair, with TCC scoring in the first before the Bulldogs responded with 2 of their own to take the lead in the 2nd inning. Kennedy Coffey hit her 2nd HR of the season to extend the lead to 3-1 in the 3rd. Tallahassee scored single runs in the 4th and 5th innings to tie the game. Anna Grace Boutelle scored the go-ahead run in the 6th on a single by Brianna Painter, but TCC answered in the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the 7th, left fielder Caroline Hughes threw out the potential game-winning run at the plate to preserve the tie and extending the game into extra innings. The Bulldogs scored their final run on a throwing error by the catcher to take the game 5-4. Neely Bradford got her first start of the season, going 6 innings and holding TCC to 4 runs on 6 hits and 1 strikeout. Beth Eddins took the win coming on in relief in the 7th. She pitched 2 innings and allowed 0 runs on 3 hits. Hughes and Painter both went 3 for 4 at the plate with 3 RBI's amongst the two of them.
Game 4 was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, even though they had several chances to make things happen, they were not able to pick up a timely hit. St. Petersburg scored first but the Bulldogs quickly answered to even the score at 1-1. Two outs with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 3rd inning St. Petersburg capitalized on an error that cleared the bases and provided all the run support needed to hold off the Bulldogs. Laura Lee Keene picked up the loss, going 3.2 innings with three strikeouts and 5 walks, in the 5-1 decision.
In-game 5, the Bulldogs were back in form picking up 11 runs on 8 hits. Seven different players found success at the plate. Emily Dansby led the charge as she went 2-2 with three runs scored, 1 double and 2 stolen bases. Neely Bradford pitched a complete game in the circle. She gave up just 2 runs with 4 strikeouts to earn her first collegiate win with an 11-2 victory in five innings against Palm Beach State College.
In the final game of the tournament, the Bulldogs bats came out strong. GMC scored 9 runs in the first innings, capped off by a Grand Slam by Emily Dansby, her first collegiate HR! Miami Dade would not go down without a fight, scoring 3 runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th innings. The Bulldogs scored two more crucial runs in the 4th and 6th innings to earn the 11-9 win. Dansby was 3-4 in the game, while Kennedy Coffey added 2 more hits. Beth Eddins got the start for the Bulldogs but was relieved in the 5th by Laura Lee Keene. Keene picked up the win in relief, going 1.2 innings pitched and allowing 3 runs on 2 hits. Eddins returned to the mound in the bottom of the 6th and finish out the game for her first save of the season.
After a long weekend on the road, Coach Bunn said, "Overall, I was pleased with the outcome of the weekend. Going 4-2 against the competition that we faced was a good start. We also were able to recognize the areas in which we still need to improve over the coming weeks to be ready when conference begins."
The team will be back in action this weekend as they travel to James Oats Park in Dothan, Alabama to compete in the Visit Dothan Invitational from February 7-9. Their full schedule is available at www.gmcbulldogs.com