May 25, 2010: The Belhaven softball team opened up bracket play at the 2010 NAIA Softball National Championship on Monday night with a 4-2 loss to Simon Fraser University (B.C.). The Blazers, who went 3-0 in pool play to make the final eight, will now have to battle their way back through the loser’s bracket portion of the tournament.

Belhaven (53-9) struck first in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI ground out by Tiffany Ansley to make it 1-0. Britney Webb opened the inning with a double and moved to third base on a Christina Jaques base hit prior to scoring on Ansley’s ground ball. Leading 1-0 heading into the bottom of the second, it appeared that the Blazers were setting themselves up for a big inning. Heather Pace and Rian O’Bannon led off with back to back singles, but Simon Fraser starting pitcher Cara Lukawesky wiggled off the hook by striking out Rachel Wright followed by a fielder’s choice off the bat of Katie Sanders that turned into a double play when O’Bannon was thrown out trying to go to third.

Simon Fraser (25-14) capitalized on the momentum as they scored three times in the top of the third to grab a 3-1 lead. Haley Cicchetti doubled home a run and then Kelsey Haberl singled with the bases loaded to plate two more runs. Simon Fraser added another run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Leah Riske that extended the edge to 4-1.

The Blazers tried to rally in the sixth frame when Jaques and Ansley had back to back doubles with one out to bring Belhaven within two runs at 4-2. Sarah Burns kept Simon Fraser off the board in the top of the seventh and Rachel Wright started the bottom of the seventh off with a leadoff walk that brought the tying run to the plate. Unfortunately, the Blazers could not string any hits together as Simon Fraser held on for the 4-2 victory.

Burns (29-5) pitched all seven innings for Belhaven and suffered just her fifth loss of the season allowing four runs on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts. The Blazers were limited to six hits with Jaques collecting two of them in three at bats. Ansley went one for three at the plate and had both of Belhaven’s RBI’s.

Lukawesky (5-1) picked up the win for Simon Fraser as she fired a complete game giving up two runs on six hits with two strikeouts. Haberl had three hits in four at bats with two runs batted in to pace Simon Fraser at the plate followed by Lukawesky and Riske who had an RBI each.

Simon Fraser will move on in the winner’s bracket to take on Shorter College who topped Trevecca Nazarene University 3-1 in the opening round. The Blazers will battle Trevecca in the loser’s bracket starting at 12:00 PM on Tuesday afternoon. Keep up to date on the latest updates and follow along with live stats of each game at the NAIA Tournament website.