Fri, Apr. 16, 2004, The State Newspaper
Benedict opens SIAC tourney with win
Leadoff hitter Gumbs-Prince was key factor in each
By JOHN DEVLIN
Benedict College opened the Southern Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference softball tournament Thursday at
T.S. Martin Park with a 7-5 victory against Fort Valley
The Tigers (24-10) will face Miles College, the No.
2 seed out of the SIAC Western Division, today at 11
a.m., and will play again at either 1 or 3 p.m., depending
on the early game’s outcome.
Benedict got off to a fast start, scoring two runs
in the first inning, and increased the lead to 7-0
against the error-prone Wildcats through four innings.
At that point, however, the Tigers suddenly seemed
to lose interest, and ended up sweating out the verdict
when Fort Valley plated two runs in the sixth and added
three more in the seventh.
“I was hoping to end the game in the fifth (via the
10-run rule), but we got a little too lax with the
big lead and starting making mental and physical mistakes,”
Benedict coach Gwendolyn Rouse said. “We’re going to
have to stay focused from start to finish if we want
to play for a championship.”
Early on, the Tigers’ speed and timely hitting hinted
at a rout that never quite materialized.
Leadoff hitter Lalique Gumbs-Prince was a huge factor
in all three of Benedict’s run-producing innings. The
fleet, switch-hitting freshman from the Virgin Islands
walked in the first, stole second and scored the first
run of the game on a single by Silver Bluff High product
LaShanteau Green. In the third, Gumbs-Prince reached
on a bunt single, swiped second again and scored once
more on another Green single. Her contribution in the
four-run fourth inning was a sacrifice bunt.
Gumbs-Prince, Green and shortstop Shackia Liburd all
had two hits to highlight Benedict’s 11-hit attack.
Green and No. 9 hitter Natassia Wilkes had two RBIs
Tigers starting pitcher Deanna Butler, who was cruising
with a four-hit shutout, gave way to Tina Sanders in
the fifth inning, but was hastily called back to the
circle to defuse a budding Fort Valley rally in the
sixth inning. The sophomore from Aiken High was then
roughed up in the seventh as four Wildcats hits and
an infield error netted three runs.
“I hoped to get (Deanna) out early and end the game
in five innings, but that didn’t work out the way I
planned,” Rouse said.
Fort Valley State (19-14) also finished with 11 hits,
three by cleanup hitter Ashley Foster.