HEPHZIBAH, Ga. – The Lady Panthers of Claflin University won the 2017 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Softball Championship with a 13-5 win over Miles College in six innings on Saturday afternoon at Diamond Lakes Regional Park.
Both teams entered Saturday’s contest as the No. 1 seeds out of their respective divisions. Miles, who defeated Albany State 3-2 earlier on Saturday to advance to its second consecutive title game, opened the championship game with four runs to take a 4-0 lead after the top of the first inning. However, the Lady Panthers (33-18) added a run in the first and five more in the second inning to take the 6-4 edge. The Golden Bears scored their final run in the third inning, slicing its deficit to 6-5. Just when Miles seemed to get back in the game, Claflin added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to push its advantage to 8-5.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Claflin continued to apply pressure offensively and put together four runs in the fifth. The Lady Panthers got its final run in the six inning off Shaquailla German’s single to left field that allowed Kayla Cato to score on an interference at third base.
Kendruena McPherson led the Golden Bears with two hits and a pair of runs. Jakari Suggs (4-10) recorded the loss for Miles who finished the season 18-28.
Claflin’s Tiaria Norman was named the 2017 SIAC Softball Tournament Most Valuable Performer. Norman tossed four games, all wins for the Lady Panthers and finished with a tournament-leading 19 strikeouts. Against Miles she tallied seven strikeouts.
James “Marty” Kinard of Claflin was selected as the Outstanding Coach of the Tournament. Chelsea Hall and German also represented Claflin on the all-tournament team.
The Lady Panthers will represent the SIAC in the NCAA Division II South Regional tournament on May 11-13. The NCAA softball selection announcement is scheduled for Monday, May 8 on NCAA.com for a time to be determined.
2017 SIAC Softball Championship All-Tournament Team
|Tiaria Norman – Tournament MVP||Claflin||1.81 ERA (4-0), 19 strikeouts|
|Chelsea Hall||Claflin||.600, 9 hits, 4 triples|
|Shaquailla German||Claflin||.500, 5 hits, 4 RBI|
|Kendruena McPherson||Miles||.352, 6 RBI, 8 runs, 8 strikeouts|
|Victoria McDaniel||Miles||.556, 10 hits, 10 runs|
|Toni Coleman||Albany State||.500, 5 hits, 5 RBI|
|Malea Maye||Albany State||.500, 6 hits, 4 runs|
|Tatianna Kelly||Clark Atlanta||.500, 5 hits, 5 RBI|
|Erika Dargan||Benedict||.545, 6 hits, 5 runs|
|Starkeira Daniel||Benedict||.556, 5 hits, 5 RBI|