Yesterday was long for Western's softball-playing seniors, but it was even longer for Southern's Bulldogs.
Because of their three-hour senior farewell ceremony, several of Western's players arrived just moments before the start of Game 2 of the City-Wide championship softball series at Swann Park.
But the Doves (14-1) overcame a sluggish start to defeat Southern, 12-5, winning the series in two straight games for the second consecutive year.
After two innings, however, Southern (10-10) held a 2-1 lead, and already had more runs and hits than it did in Wednesday's 16-1 loss.
"We were totally out of it in the beginning," said Western coach Diane Lawton, still dripping from a cooler of punch that was dumped over her head in celebration. "It was a tough day for the seniors."
Said Western senior catcher Sonya Jones: "Several players showed up late, and it was hard to get focused."
Western, which has won all four of its meetings with Southern this season, began to take control in the third inning, scoring three times on just one hit. The Doves were aided by two errors, two walks and two wild pitches. Overall, the Bulldogs committed six errors and issued 10 walks.
Southern remained within 4-2 until Western broke the game open with a five-run sixth. The Doves added three more runs in the seventh to make it 12-2.
L The Bulldogs scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Western pitcher Tracy Gruzs was not as sharp as in Game 1, when she pitched a three-hitter and struck out eight. She scattered nine hits, struck out just two, and allowed at least one runner in every inning.
"She wasn't getting the corners called for strikes, so she had to throw it down the middle and let them hit it," Jones said.
Although Southern was hitting the ball hard, Gruzs was able to pitch effectively with runners on base. The Bulldogs stranded 10.
"She's always been able to work her way out of trouble," Lawton said. "She usually gets stronger as the game goes on."
Said Southern coach Jack Nehmsmann: "We had scoring opportunities, but we just didn't capitalize. But I was pleased with the way we played."