NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 6, 2010) There was an international feel in the air as the Tennessee Diamonds swept a doubleheader Tuesday night against the Venezuelan National Team, winning game one 8-7 in eight innings and 3-0 in the nightcap, which lasted five innings.
A crowd of 206 fans was on hand at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University. The games were both exhibitions and did not count on the Diamonds overall record.
“One of the things we talked about in our team huddle before the games was that even though we were tired, and these were exhibition games, it was going to be a good learning experience for us,” Diamonds coach Ernie Reynolds said. “We found a way to win two games against a quality team.
“This Venezuelan group comes from a very strong playing background. Many of them have played here in this country on the university level. They are very well funded. They compete on a high international level. These were good wins for us.”
The long ball paid off for the Diamonds in game two. Shannon Doepking opened the second inning by slamming the first pitch over the fence in left center field. Chelsea Mesa followed with a blast down the right field line. It was the first time this season the Diamonds have hit back-to-back homers.
“Mesa and Johnson have been hot for the past two weeks,” Reynolds said. “It is nice to know we have some pop from the No. 3 batter right down to the end of our order. We feel like at any time one swing can affect a ball game.”
In the third Loryn Johnson hit a solo shot over the left field fence.
Kristen Erb pitched four innings for the Diamonds to pick up the win in game two. She gave up two hits and struck out five. Margi Pruis relieved in the fifth and struck out two batters while not giving up a hit.
Mesa was the game leader with two hits.
The Diamonds were led in game one by Mesa and Johnson who each had three hits. Johnson also drove in three runs.
Carly Wynn led the Diamonds in the first game in RBI with four, including three on a triple to right field in the fourth.
Mesa, who came to the plate with bases loaded, walked in Wynn with the winning run in the eighth.
Samantha Shelley started the opener for the Diamonds, but left after 3.1 innings. She gave up four runs, three earned, on four hits. She walked three and struck out two. Becca Heteniak closed out the game for the Diamonds and picked up the win. She gave up four hits and three runs, two earned. She walked three and struck out two.
Johana Gomez, who hit a solo home run to right center in the second inning, went the distance in game one. She scattered nine hits and allowed eight runs. She struck out seven and walked eight in 7.2 innings.
The Diamonds continue the homestand Wednesday night at 7 when the USSSA Pride visits from Florida.
“Anyone who likes to compete likes to compete against the best,” Reynolds said. “It gives our fans a chance to see players whose faces they have seen on television. It gives us a chance to play at the highest level the game can be played and we have competed against the Pride in both series we have played against them.”