Lady Hornets Continue Conference Undeated Streak, Clinch Division Title

Senior Day portraitsThe Alabama State softball team trailed briefly with each of Saturday’s twin bill games, but responded back with a vengeance to soundly defeat Mississippi Valley State 6-1 and 14-2 in five innings to secure the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Eastern Division championship at the Barbara Williams Softball Complex.

The Lady Hornets (23-22 overall, 14-0 SWAC) kept their SWAC record unblemished and set a school record for the most wins in conference play to open a season.

It bested the previous mark of 12-0 in SWAC play that was set by the 2001 edition of the Lady Hornets softball team.

Alabama State has already won two more games than it did all of last season and will have the opportunity to pick up more victories with a home finale against the Devilettes on Sunday followed by a three-game series at Alabama A&M next weekend before the conference play gets underway on May 11.

In game one, Maddie Phelps (15-8) stayed true to her form this season by pitching her 13th complete game of the season and scattered six hits.  She struck out seven and walked two.

On Senior Day, Phelps performed like a veteran ace by settling down after allowing an early run on some nice base running from Valley’s leadoff hitter Jahcenda Garrett, who beat out an infield single, took second on a ground out and then scored after right fielder Brittney Wilson alertly threw out Deja Talton at first base on a ball that skipped into the outfield.

ASU took advantage on Valley’s miscues in the field, including five errors and a passed ball that scored Laura Aguilar.

Valerie Centeno scored on an errant throw by Valley’s catcher Ikeyia Alexander to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth.

The Lady Hornets extended that lead with a two-run single by Centeno and a RBI double by Jenna Mae Thorne in the sixth inning.

In game two, Valley once again took an early 2-1 lead on a two-run double by Dejanae Gage in the second inning.

But it was short lived as ASU pounded out 11 hits and scored in every inning to pick up the run-ruled victory.

Aguilar, Centeno and Charlene Castro all had two hits apiece while Kendall Core knocked in three runs and Thorne added two more RBIs as ASU put up a pair of five-run innings in both the third and fourth innings.

Castro also hit her team-leading sixth home run of the season.