Sun, May. 20, 2012
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The Salina Journal
GULF SHORES, Ala. -- Jasmine Zaker got the Bethany Swedes off and running -- literally.
Zaker, a freshman second baseman from Mesa, Ariz., went 4 for 4, scored three runs, drove in two and set an NAIA national softball tournament record with five stolen bases in leading Bethany to a 7-3 victory over Talladega, Ala., in the Swedes' final game in Pool A on Saturday.
Bethany ends the season with a 45-9 record, including a 1-2 record in it first NAIA tournament appearance.
Zaker led Bethany's 11-hit attack with her effort. Nicole Felker was 2 for 4, scored twice and stole a base as the Swedes swiped 10 bases in the game -- a national tournament team record.
Bethany scored twice in the top of the first inning when Zaker drove in Felker with a bunt single. Zaker later scored on a Talladega throwing error.
Talladega (10-24) tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the first on Brittany Paige's two-run homer, but Bethany went up 4-2 in the third when Zaker scored on a passed ball and Brittany Lewis came home on Jamie Franco's fielder's choice ground ball.
Talladega made it 4-3 in the bottom of the third, but the Swedes took control for good with three runs in the top of the fourth. Zaker's bunt single scored Emily Causey with the first run. Felker came home on Lewis' squeeze bunt, and Zaker scored the third run on Krista Copus' sacrifice fly.
Jennifer Garcia (20-7) pitched the first four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits. She struck out five and walked four. Hollind Englert blanked Talladega over the final three innings, allowing two hits while striking out one and walking one.
Carlie Keenum (1-4) took the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in the first four innings.
"They came out with the same determination they had (Friday against Concordia, Calif.)," Bethany coach Janice Esses said of her team. "They put the ball in play and capitalized on getting hits. They played a lot better."
Esses said the victory was a good way to finish the season.
"It's good to get a win at the national tournament and come home with a win," she said. "They know how hard it is to get here, to get through our (Kansas) conference, and how hard they had to work in the offseason to get here.
"They know they can't do the same thing and expect the same thing to happen next year. They're going to have to work harder to get here and can't just expect it to happen."