MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tension at the final game at the Madeira Beach Invitational was at fever pitch heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Belmont University Softball (4-1) was able to squeak by Delaware (4-4) with the help of a hit by pitch of senior Hayley Baker to secure the 5-4 win on Sunday afternoon.
Two silent offensive innings for both teams was soon broken up by BU runs in the bottom of the third. Consecutive doubles by sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas), junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) with the help of a sacrifice fly by senior Sami Long (Springfield, Ill.) gave Belmont a 2-0 advantage. The Blue Hens cut the Bruin lead in half in the following inning but Belmont surged again in the bottom of the sixth to go up 4-1 following sophomore Alicia Veltri's (Clarksville, Tenn.) two-run homer.
Delaware would not go quietly and went on the knot the score 4-4 in the top of the seventh, forcing Belmont's hand. Cavanaugh had a lead-off single and was pushed to second base with a sac bunt from Long. A Blue Hen fielding error put runners on the corners for BU before Cook was intentionally walked to load the bases with only one out on the board. Classmate Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) stepped up to the plate after another Delaware pitching change and was promptly hit by a pitch to push the winning run over the plate to hand the Bruins the 5-4, albeit slightly anti-climatic, win.
Cavanaugh was perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, a pair of runs and a walk. Cook went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Veltri pulled double duty with work inside the circle and at the plate. She notched a homerun and fanned seven batters. Junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.), was also active on both sides of the plate, sharing time in the circle with Veltri, retiring six batters in the win.
Belmont returns to action next weekend at the Georgia Classic, hosted by the University of Georgia, February 22-24.