ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – The Florida A&M University softball team won the 2014 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament championship on Saturday at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.
The Lady Rattlers clinched the title after posting an undefeated mark throughout the double-elimination tournament, including a 4-2 championship victory over Bethune-Cookman.
This is the first MEAC title for the Lady Rattlers since 2009 and 10th overall.
In beating the Wildcats, the Lady Rattlers (24-27) won their eighth game in their last 10 tries.
Head coach Veronica Wiggins was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Coach for the 10th time. Kenya Pereira was named Most Outstanding Performer.
“It took us perseverance, trials and tribulations to get to this point,” Wiggins said. “We had a season where there were bumps and bruises, but they started believing in each other. Everything started to fall into place and I am really, really proud of them.”
Florida A&M rallied from a 2-0 first-inning deficit with a four-run second inning, then rode the pitching of freshman Periera.
Bethune-Cookman (25-31) appeared poised to force a second game after jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on Kelsey Rodney’s two-run homer to left off of Pereira, the first earned runs she’s allowed in 26.2 innings.
The Lady Rattlers were determined to close out the title round in one game, striking for four runs on five hits, jumped started by a leadoff solo homer by Miesha McBride, followed five batters later by Alyssa Weaver’s two-run single that put FAMU ahead, 3-2. Christina Robbs’ closed the scoring with an RBI double to score Weaver for a the 4-2 lead.
Pereira, the tournament Most Outstanding Player, kept the Wildcats off balance until tiring in the sixth, loading the bases with one out. Senior Ashleigh Minter came on to retired two straight batters to end the threat, then induced two fly ball outs and with a single in between by Melissa Berouty, before striking out Bailey Connor to end the game, picking up here second save of the season.
Pereira (9-8) pitched 26 and one-third innings in the tourney, allowing three runs, two earned, on 18 hits, with 17 strikeouts against just seven walks, to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team as well as the top individual honor.
Seven FAMU played each had one hit, while Calesha Shelley, Rodney and Barouty each had two hits for Bethune-Cookman. Wildcat pitcher Sabrina Anguiano (13-17) took the loss .
2014 MEAC All-Tournament Team
|Kenya Pereira||Florida A&M University|
|Kieifi Myrick||Florida A&M University|
|Christina Robbs||Florida A&M University|
|Sabrina Anguiano||Bethune-Cookman University|
|Calesha Shelley||Bethune-Cookman University|
|Kelsey Rodney||Bethune-Cookman University|
|Jailynn Jackson||Hampton University|
|Taylor McCoy||Hampton University|
|Vanessa Ciocatto||Delaware State University|
|Nicole Gazzola||Delaware State University|
|Jamie Schulle||Norfolk State University|
|Jax Woodard||North Carolina A&T State University|