News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Cal Baptist plans to be ready for instate rival

By Ashley Hargrove · 340-2460

It's déjà vu all over again.

At least, those were the first words out of California Baptist head coach Mike Smith's mouth Tuesday night after his team set up a rematch with rival Point Loma Nazarene in the NAIA softball championships.

Smith's Lancers beat Simon Fraser (Canada) 6-1 in a losers' bracket game, marking the second straight time California Baptist had eliminated the Canadian school from the tournament. Now, California Baptist (59-4) will face San Diego-based Point Loma Nazarene (44-11) on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Wilson Morgan Park. The winner will advance to the championship round against Oklahoma City.

California Baptist had won all six meetings with Point Loma before losing to the Sea Lions 5-2 in the NAIA championships Monday.

"We've played them so much this season that we thought we knew them Monday," Smith said. "We just got too comfortable and hit a bump in the road where we didn't play our best game. We had a couple of mistakes, and our girls are going to make sure that doesn't happen again."

The Lancers have a history with Simon Fraser as well.

They met in the 2005 championship game with Simon Fraser winning. Last year, they met at the same stage of the tournament as this year, relegating the Clan to fourth place both times.

Under head coach Mike Renney, Simon Fraser has finished in the top four 10 straight years.

"Last year was revenge for us since they beat us in the championship game in 2005," Smith said.

"This year it was just a good heads-up match between both teams. I have a lot of respect Mike and his team."

Now to win the tournament, California Baptist will have to win three games — one against Point Loma and two against Oklahoma City in the championship round.

"As a coach you never like being in the losers' bracket," Smith said. "We've been here the last two years now. We've just got to do the best we can to get through and win this."

The Lancers took control against Simon Fraser with a five-run second inning.

With two outs and nobody on base, Cassandrah Carreon singled. Shawna Rainwater followed with a single to right field.

Sarah Hurlbut then reached on an error, which scored Carreon to make it 1-0. Kelly Maconachy followed by reaching on another Simon Fraser error to load the bases.

A ground-rule double by Sara Goforth scored Rainwater and Hurlbut to put California Baptist up 3-0.

Chantal Millard put the Lancers up 5-0 with a two-run single, which scored Maconachy and Goforth.

A one-run homer in the bottom of the third by Simon Fraser's Erin McLean gave the Clan its only run of the game.

The Lancers struck again in the top of the fourth with a leadoff walk by Goforth. Goforth advanced to second on a groundout by Millard and to third on a groundout by Nikki Lowe. Then Goforth scored on a wild pitch by the Clan's Jennifer Van Egdom putting California Baptist up 6-1.

Losers' bracket games

Simon Fraser (Canada) 10, St. Gregory's (Okla.) 3: Before falling to California Baptist, Simon Fraser eliminated St. Gregory's, getting home runs from Melanie Matthews, Carolyn Bell and Christine Barr. Matthews went 4-for-4 with three RBIs.

California Baptist 3, Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) 1: Before matching up with Simon Fraser, the Lancers scored three times in the first inning of an elimination game with Trevecca.

Erin Moore delivered the big hit in the first inning by singling to drive home Lowe and Millard.

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