ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - Hope Fletcher drove in two runs and Zabresha Blakeney scored twice to lead North Carolina A&T to a 3-1 upset win over Delaware State at the 2012 MEAC Softball Tournament at Ormond Beach Sports Complex on Thursday.
Delaware State came into the game as the MEAC Northern Division top seed, while the Aggies (16-33) were the fourth and final team to qualify for the tournament out of the MEAC Southern Division. The Aggies will play Bethune-Cookman Thursday evening at 7.
"We got a nice win over a very good team," said A&T head coach Mamie Jones. "I thought our defense did a great job of getting us out of some tough situations, and I thought Ashira (Dobison) made some great pitches in some timely situations."
Dobison threw 123 pitches over seven innings, but still managed to improve to 15-19 on the season after the Hornets stranded 13 runners on base. The Aggies also played through adversity after playing without leadoff hitter Dominique Smith and first-team All-MEAC selection Juanita Jernigan (Jernigan, leg injury, did come up in a pinch-hit situation in the sixth inning).
Hope Fletcher, a 2011 second-team All-MEAC selection, filled in for Smith and delivered the decisive blow to the Hornets in the fourth inning.
After a Blakeney walk, Delaware State turned to its third pitcher of the game in Stephanie Sarris. Sophomore Tiffany Macklin greeted her with an RBI triple to left field to give A&T a 2-0 lead. Sarris did strikeout Alexandra McAfee, but Fletcher brought Macklin home with a sacrifice fly to center field for a three-run lead. Fletcher also had an RBI double in the second.
A&T turned to its defense the rest of the way. In the fifth, with runners on first and second for Delaware State, Ashlyn Campbell singled to center field. Macklin gathered the rolling ball quickly and fired the ball to the infield to prevent Stephanie Martello from scoring. Tawny Reeger followed with fly out to right field. Martello was prevented from tagging and advancing home by an excellent throw to the infield by Detavia Kenan. The inning ended on a fly ball to right.
In the sixth, the Hornets left two more runners in scoring position before getting on the scoreboard in the seventh inning. Delaware State right fielder Breanne Parr led off the inning with a double. Two batters later, Casey Beighley tripled to right field to score Parr. Dobison didn't lose her composure as she got Skye Boris to foul out to third to end the game.
Delaware State drops down to the losers bracket and will play again at 4:30 p.m., today. Beighley took the loss for the Hornets (8-5).