From staff reports
KINGSPORT – Courtney Maynard allowed an unearned runs in six-plus innings and Allison Blackwood got the final two outs with the bases loaded, preserving Cumberland’s 2-1 victory over 14th-ranked Lindsey Wilson and sending the Bulldogs into the championship game here at the Mid-South Conference Championships at Domtar Park.
Cumberland (36-18) secured a spot in the championship game and will face either Campbellsville, Georgetown or Lindsey Wilson at noon CDT today.
Maynard (19-8) gave up just four hits with two walks and three strikeouts through six innings, working around an error in the fourth inning that allowed the Blue Raiders (45-8) to score their only run. She got plenty of help from her defense, though, including sliding catches from Megan Lavery in left field, Kaleigh Pearce in foul territory down the left-field line and Natalie Garcia in short left-center to start the final inning.
The junior right-hander gave up three straight singles with one out in the seventh, ground balls by Lauren Payne, pinch-hitter Taylor Proctor and Antoinette Jenkins, loading the bases. Blackwood came on in relief, getting a ground ball to shortstop Pearce, who threw home just in time for the force out. Kristina Krupinski popped out to Pearce for the final out, the first win five tries this season for the Bulldogs against LWC.
Lavery drove in the first run of the game with a single to left-center in the third inning and Garcia’s walk with the bases loaded in the fourth put CU ahead, 2-0. The Bulldogs stranded 10 base runners in the game, including two each in the third and sixth innings and the bases loaded in the fourth.
Lindsey Wilson left eight runners on base, two each in the third and fifth innings before the bases loaded in the seventh.
The Bulldogs got on the board first with a run in the third. Pearce drew a leadoff walk and after a fielder’s choice, Devon Jamerson was thrown out trying to steal second. With two outs Garcia blooped a double just inside the right-field line and Lavery followed with another blooper, this one just out of the reach of the shortstop in left-center, plating the run for an early lead.
Cumberland added a run in the fourth with three singles, a ground ball through the right side by Shawnee Kirk, a ground ball up middle from Pearce and a blooper into right-center by Jamerson, loading the bases. Garcia drew a walk, forcing in a run and ending the day for LWC starter Cheyanne Knepper (11-1), who allowed two runs on six hits with four walks and one strikeout in 3.2 innings.
The Blue Raiders plated a run in the bottom of the inning thanks for a CU error.
Krupinski led off with a single to center and moved to second on Madison Scott’s bunt. Allison Hart grounded to the leftside, a slow roller, and beat the throw to first. Pearce’s throw was low and got away, allowing Krupinski to score from second on the play and cutting the Cumberland lead in half.
Payne walked and Jenkins singled in the fifth inning, but Maynard struck out Megan Whalen and Kirk caught a sinking liner off the bat of Krupinski to end the threat.
Cumberland won twice on Saturday, edging No. 25 Campbellsville 4-3 on Emily Nicholson's RBI single in the eighth inning and 3-1 over Georgetown.
Sunday's action was rained out and pushed back to Monday.
Blackwood, Maynard garner first team All-MSC honors
KINGSPORT — Cumberland’s Courtney Maynard and Allison Blackwood earned first-team All-Mid-South Conference honors and Jessica Roper and Natalie Garcia were named to the second team in a vote of league coaches, as announced by the league office Friday before the start of the conference tournament.
Maynard leads the Mid-South Conference with a 1.56 earned-run-average while compiling a 17-8 record in 27 appearances with 25 starts. The junior has allowed just 36 earned runs in 161.1 innings of work with 134 strikeouts compared to only 41 walks. The Lancaster native has 20 complete games and six shutouts and opponents are batting just .236 against her.
Blackwood was a First Team All-Conference selection for the third straight season. The Leoma native is batting .399 with two doubles, three homers and 36 RBIs along with 12 walks and 11 runs scored in 46 games. She ranks ninth in the league in batting average and tied for 11th in RBIs.
The senior has also been a big part of the pitching staff once again, posting a 5-4 record with a 1.96 ERA in 17 appearances. She has tossed three complete games and one shutout in 68.0 innings with 37 strikeouts. Opponents are batting just .211 against the left-hander.
Garcia leads the Bulldogs with 13 doubles and 40 runs scored while batting .329 with four home runs and 25 RBIs. The Bellflower, Calif., native has batted leadoff for most of the season and posted 14 multi-hit games, second most on the club. The senior has collected a hit in 30 of her 47 contests and reached base safely in 38 of the 47 games played.
Roper leads the squad with eight home runs and ranks third with 27 RBIs while batting .333 in 42 games this season. The Bellflower, Calif., native has a team-best 10 multi-RBI outings this season and has four home runs and 10 RBIs in the last nine contests for the sophomore.