Billings, Boggs Key Capital Win in NCAA Opener

All-American shortstop Devan Boggs (Glenn Cline photo)
All-American shortstop Devan Boggs (Glenn Cline photo)


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ANGOLA, Ind. – The Capital University softball team will begin its 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament run in the winner's portion of the bracket after opening play with a 5-1 victory over Thomas More (Ky.) Thursday at Trine University in Angola, Ind.


The Crusaders (35-10 overall), who are the region's No. 2 seed, move on to play sixth-seeded Allegheny (Pa.) tomorrow at 4 p.m. Capital, competing in its first regional since 2002, improved to 7-6 all-time in NCAA Tournament play with Thursday's win.


Senior shortstop Devan Boggs (West Jefferson, Ohio) led the offense, knocking two solo homers and reaching on an intentional walk in her only other at-bat. Sophomore pitcher Brooke Billings (Clyde, Ohio) tossed all seven innings to move to 17-4 for the season with her 16th complete-game effort.


"The offense had my back, and when they play well, I play well," Billings said. "It was a total team effort."


Sophomore left fielder LeAnna Cotton (Okeechobee, Fla.) added a home run of her own and senior right fielder Katie Neely (Sugar Grove, Ohio) scored a run and doubled.


Boggs led off the Capital half of the first with a high, deep home run down the right field line to give the Crusaders an early 1-0 advantage. It was her team-leading 13th long ball of the campaign.


"I'm glad we started off well," Boggs said. "I just want us to keep it going. We just have to play together."


The Saints (24-18) responded in the top of the second, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. After Billings induced a pop-up, Cotton saved an extra base hit and a run with a diving catch in the left-center field gap. The runner from third scored on the sacrifice fly to make it a 1-1 contest.


Billings stranded another runner in scoring position in the third, pitching out of a first-and-third, two-out jam with a strikeout to end the frame.


With one out in the third, Boggs hit her second homer of the game, this one out to center on the first pitch of the at-bat. Cotton gave Capital its third solo home run of the game, sending a shot over the left field fence for her eighth of the year.


The Crusaders added two more in the fifth on an RBI groundout by sophomore centerfielder Kelsey Swain (Pickerington, Ohio). After Swain was forced out at first and senior right fielder Katie Neely (Sugar Grove, Ohio) scored from third, Thomas More threw the ball into left center field trying to get Boggs, who was rounding second on the play. Boggs then scored easily to make it a four-run Capital lead.


Billings then escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the top of the sixth.