NATCHITOCHES – A lock down pitching and defensive effort set the table for a six-run offensive explosion for Northwester State on Friday afternoon in a 9-1 run-rule victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to open the NHDDC Lady Demon Classic.
Kenzie Seely allowed just one hit, a sharp single off her shin to the first batter of the game, and then only allowed just two more baserunners the remainder of the game on two walks, one coming in the second and the other in the third.
Seely retired the final nine batters of the game in a row and finished with six strikeouts to pick up her second win of the season.
The Lions were able to scratch across the leadoff single for a run after a steal of second, advance her to third on a ground out and bring her in on a sacrifice fly to right. The Demons responded right away thanks to three straight hits and taking advantage of one of three Lion errors in the game.
After a sharp Makenzie Chaffin single through the right side, Laney Roos dumped one into left center and ended up on third base after a throw from center trying to catch Chaffin advancing to third, allowing her to tie the game at one. Kat Marshall then narrowly missed a dead center home run off the top of the wall for a double that scored Roos and put the Demons ahead 2-1 after the bottom of the first.
NSU used its speed to add to the lead in the bottom of the third after two straight singles from Bailie Ragsdale and Chaffin put runners at the corners. A perfectly executed double steal allowed Ragsdale her third steal of the season to make it a 3-1 NSU lead.
Seely cruised through the next two innings with three strikeouts and did not allow a ball to leave the infield. Third baseman Tristin Court made a pair of stellar defensive plays in the fourth to keep runners from reaching as part of one of NSU’s best all-around defensive performances of the season.
The centerpiece of the NSU offensive on the day, Ragsdale started the game-winning bottom of the fifth outburst with a walk and steal of second. Chaffin and Roos followed with a single and walk to load the bases.
Marshall slapped a ball the other way for a two-run single, extending the NSU lead to 5-1. A throwing error on the play put runners at second and third for a Keely Dubois sacrifice fly to right two pitches later.
Pinch runner Vivica Hernandez scored on a bunt single by Taylor Williams to make it 7-1 and after a Court single and Ashlyn Walker was hit by a pitch, the Demons had the bases loaded once again with the winning run at second.
In one of the more unceremonious ways to win a game, Nani Winger and Ragsdale each drew walks, the second of the inning for Ragsdale, to end the game in NSU’s second run-rule 9-1 victory of the season.
Chaffin went 3-for-3 on the day with two runs scored and Marshall drove three on a 2-for-2 day at the dish with a double.
NSU continues play in the NHDDC Lady Demon Classic on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. against Jackson State. The game can be seen on ESPN+.
Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services