ORLANDO, FLA. - A lone run by Houston in the bottom of the first eventually stood as the East Carolina softball team dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker in the title game of the 2007 Conference USA Softball Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
A pair of Pirate errors in the first inning gave Houston all it would need to win the game. With one out, Amanda Grote reached first when Erin St. Ledger could not hang on to her grounder. Elaina Nordstrom then singled before Krista Raley walked to load the bases. Grote was able to score when Kaui Tom could not corral Haley Valis's shot right at her. ECU starter Keli Harrell then settled down to retire the last two batters to get out of the inning.
The Cougars put their first two runners on in the bottom of the second but again Harrell pitched out of the jam. With one out in the third, Houston again threatened when Valis singled up the middle. Then with two outs, Laurie Wagner singled but Harrell yet again retired the last batter to leave Houston leading just 1-0.
The Pirates made one last effort to tie or take the lead in the seventh when with one out, Jessica Johnson singled through center, but C-USA tournament MVP Angel Shamblin was able to set down the last two ECU batters to give her team the title.
For their efforts in the C-USA Softball Championship, sophomore Jessica Johnson and freshmen Toni Paisley and Charina Sumner were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Pirates will now have to rely on the NCAA selection committee to find out whether they will be chosen to participate in the 2007 NCAA Softball Championship. The selections will be announced at approximately 3 p.m. on ESPNNEWS tomorrow.
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