Record: 4-6 Home: 1-1 Away: 1-2 Neutral: 2-3 AAC: 0-0
Photo by: Wesley Sanders
Photo by: Wesley Sanders
Game 1
8 Innings
Game 2
(14)Martin Methodist
Softball - Tue, Feb. 14, 2017
Final - Game 212345678RHE
Martin Methodist (Tenn.) ( 1-1)10001042896
Bryan College000112239138
Dayton, Tenn.,
Martin Methodist (Tenn.)PitchingBryan College
-Winner Petty, Courtney
Martin Methodist (Tenn.)Indv. StatsBryan College
3 PlayersDoubles #2 Gore, Olivia
NoneTriples #13 Riley, Kaleigh
#18 Hurford, TaylorHome Runs #1 Borowski, Kim
Final - Game 112345678RHE
Martin Methodist (Tenn.)000303309134
Bryan College100101003117
Dayton, Tenn.,
Martin Methodist (Tenn.)PitchingBryan College
Mellott, BayleeWinner-
-Loser West, Sydney
Yamauchi, LeishaSave-
Martin Methodist (Tenn.)Indv. StatsBryan College
2 Players (#14,#44)Doubles None
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None

Dayton, Tenn. – In their season-opener on Saturday, the Bryan College Lions Softball team responded after a 9-3 loss to begin the day with a 9-8 upset over the 14th ranked team in the nation, Martin Methodist College (Tenn.). The Lions clawed their way to a 4-2 lead entering the seventh inning, but the RedHawks answered with four runs in the top of the frame to go ahead 6-4. Bryan rose to the occasion and secured a pair of runs to tie the game when Kaleigh Riley (SR/Hixson, Tenn.) delivered a two-run triple to right-center. The contest was forced into extras, and Martin Methodist applied pressure with two on and two outs to begin their turn. A double ripped to deep left-center brought two runs in before the final out was collected, pressing the Lions to need at least two runs to stay alive. With ITB in effect, Bryan's speedy Kim Borowski (SR/Apopka, Fla.) took second base. Freshman Heidi Smith (FR/Cookeville, Tenn.) stepped up to the plate to leadoff for the Lions, made contact with the ball, and never gave up on the play as she reached base on a bobble by the RedHawks. This allowed Borowski to make her way around third and then home to cut the deficit to one run, 8-7. Seasoned senior, Olivia Gore (SR/Cookeville, Tenn.), continued the momentum as she registered an RBI double that she drove to right field. Smith's run leveled the game 8-8, setting up Bryan for the victory as they focused on the winning-run at second with no outs. Shelby Ralston (FR/Dalton, Ga.), another freshman Lion, took Gore's place at second to pinch run. Bryan managed to load the bases when Hannah O'Shields (SO/LaFayette, Ga.) and Courtney Petty (FR/Lebanon, Tenn.) reached base following misplayed balls by Martin Methodist. With one out, freshman Kayla Hayes (FR/Dresden, Tenn.) remained poised in the game-deciding moment. She was patient at the plate and capitalized on a pitch she liked. The ball was hit long and high to center field. The sacrifice fly proved good enough to score Ralston from third, sealing a 9-8 upset of the top-ranked team in walk-off fashion. 

Freshman Courtney Petty was awarded the win after hurling seven innings and allowing seven hits, seven runs with three earned, one homerun, two walks, and six strikeouts. It was another freshman that worked in the circle the last frame as Madison Owens (FR/Dandridge, Tenn.) surrendered two hits, one earned run, one walk, and notched one strikeout. Gore led the Lions in hits with a 3-of-5 performance and registered a team-high three RBI's. Smith, Hayes, and Riley pieced together a multi-hit game with two hits each. Borowski belted Bryan's only homerun, which came in the bottom of the fifth. Other extra-base hits included a triple by Riley, two doubles by Gore, and one double by Ashley Brown (JR/Pikeville, Tenn.) and Hayes, respectively. Borowski scored a team-high two runs. The Lions outhit the RedHawks 13-9, but Martin Methodist bettered Bryan in errors only giving up six to the home team's eight.


In game one of the doubleheader, the Lions controlled an early 1-0 lead through three innings. Bryan got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Smith singled to short, advanced to second when Gore was walked, took scoring position at third because of a Martin Methodist error, and then traveled home following a single to short by O'Shields. The Lions began to stumble in the fourth as two hits and four errors occurred, which let the RedHawks take a 3-1 advantage. Impressive base running by Borowski slimmed the difference in the bottom of the frame as Bryan trailed 3-2. After a quite fifth inning by both teams, Martin Methodist rallied for five hits in the sixth to add three more runs to their lead. Riley scored off a sac-fly hit by Gore in the sixth for Bryan's last run of the game. The RedHawks collected three insurance runs in the final inning, which overwhelmed the Lions as Martin Methodist took the game one win, 9-3.


Sydney West (SO/White House, Tenn.) picked up her first loss of the year as she tossed 6.1 innings and had 13 hits and nine runs, three earned, totaled against her. Owens relieved in the final inning and got the last two outs, one via strikeout swinging. O'Shields was a notable 3-of-4 at the plate with one RBI. Borowski and Smith ended with two hits and one run scored, respectively. Becca Zimmerman (SR/Naples, Fla.), Aubrie Osborne (FR/Chatsworth, Ga.), Gore, and Riley produced one hit apiece with Riley scoring one run. The Lions recorded 11 hits compared to the RedHawk's 13.


The split moved Bryan and Martin Methodist to 1-1 to start the season. The Lions get another tough meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15, when they travel to Brenau University (Ga.) for double-header action. Game one is slated for 3pm. The Tigers are currently receiving votes and have already battled their way to a 6-1 record to begin the year.  


"We were very pleased with our efforts on the field Saturday," said first-year Head Coach Kayla Watkins. "We dropped a tough one in game one due to some defensive mistakes that just allowed the game to get away from us, but even there we still competed well. We grew from game one to game two, which is always what we are looking to do. And it was huge for us to come from behind to tie it in the seventh and then again to win it in the eighth." When asked about overall performance from the entire team following the season-opener, Watkins commented, "I'm really excited about the level of play from our girls... from our seniors all the way down to our freshman. The character that we showed Saturday is something that stood out to me. We are looking for lots of good things to come!"


Following the meeting at Brenau, the Lions then hit the road for Bluffton, S.C. where they will take part in the inaugural NAIA Southeastern Challenge softball event scheduled from Feb. 16-18, which is being hosted by the University of South Carolina Beaufort. The field consists of eight of the top NAIA teams from the southeastern U.S. – two each from The Sun Conference, the Appalachian Athletic Conference, the Southern States Athletic Conference, and the Mid-South Conference. Among the eight teams, four were ranked in the top-20 in the final NAIA Coaches' Poll last season while another received votes. 


The full schedule for the Southeastern Challenge is available here.


For a complete look at the Bryan Softball schedule, click here.