Walking off with an SEC softball title

Burchell's HR in 8th gives Lady Vols win

Tennessee players celebrate as Shelby Burchell heads to home plate after a walk-off home run in the eighth inning Saturday night, May 14, 2011 in Oxford, Miss. The homer gave the Lady Vols a 6-5 victory over Georgia and their second SEC title.

Photo by ELIZABETH OLIVIER / UTLADYVOLS.COM

Tennessee players celebrate as Shelby Burchell heads to home plate after a walk-off home run in the eighth inning Saturday night, May 14, 2011 in Oxford, Miss. The homer gave the Lady Vols a 6-5 victory over Georgia and their second SEC title.

Tennessee players celebrate a 6-5 win over Georgia in the SEC softball title game on Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Oxford, Miss.

Photo by ELIZABETH OLIVIER / UTLADYVOLS.COM

Tennessee players celebrate a 6-5 win over Georgia in the SEC softball title game on Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Oxford, Miss.

The NCAA Softball Selection Show will be broadcast live at 10 p.m. tonight on ESPNU.

OXFORD, Miss. - Shelby Burchell's walk-off home run in the eighth inning Saturday night gave Tennessee its second SEC title, as the Lady Vols beat Georgia, 6-5 in dramatic fashion.

The Lady Vols fell behind early after a four-run first inning off Tennessee starter Ivy Renfroe, but battled back with two home runs by Jessica Spigner and the game-winner by Burchell.

Renfroe surrendered four earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning pitched before being replaced by her sister, Ellen.

"Sometimes some pitchers have it and some others don't," Tennessee co-head coach Ralph Weekly said. "For whatever reason they were all over her at the start and we had to make a change."

Spigner led the Lady Vols (47-10) by going 2-for-3 with four RBIs.

"I was just trying to hit line drives," Spigner said. "I wasn't really looking for a certain pitch. I was just trying to attack the ball and get a rally started. "

Both of Spigner's home runs came against Georgia's Morgan Montemayor, who surendered three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched.

"I thought (Montemayor) did a great job," Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer said. "This (was) her fourth day pitching in a row and I was really proud of the way she was throwing."

Georgia (47-12) was led offensively by center fielder Taylor Schlopy, who finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run. Schlopy left the game feeling encouraged going forward.

"I think we played a really good game," Schlopy said. "We came out with a lot of heart and passion. I think that's what we need to focus on."

Tennessee tied the game in the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Spigner that eventually sent the game into extra innings. In the eighth, Burchell connected on her 14th home run of the season to give the Lady Vols the SEC title.

Burchell said some advice in the dugout prior to the at-bat helped.

"Before every inning everybody gets together and pumps each other up," Burchell said. "(I was told to) stay relaxed and look for that pitch and don't try to do anything extra. Just do what you're taught to do."

Burchell's walk-off home run landed her a spot on the all-tournament team, along with teammates Raven Chavanne, Spigner and tournament MVP Ellen Renfroe.

"I was nervous about the game all day," Renfroe said. "I was excited to even get the opportunity to even play in this game because I was expecting Ivy (Renfroe) to go all the way. I had confidence in our team."

The Lady Vols feature just one senior as they head into the NCAA tournament as the SEC champions.

Weekly proclaimed the players are to be given the credit.

"This team is kind of crazy," Weekly said. "All year long I haven't really had to tell them much. They provided. It's not the coaching staff. They provide a lot of fire within themselves."

Kory Keys is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 39

WinkeyVol writes:

I thought after the first inning there was no way the girls would come back and win this one. Four runs down is hard to overcome in SEC softball. I give credit to the players for their determination and a can win attitude. It looked like they were having fun too.Prettiest team in the SEC.I will look forward to watching the NCAA tournament.

1vavolfan writes:

Great moment, too few of them these days. Way to go Lady Vols!!!

volfan73120#211815 writes:

I am so happy for these Lady Vols. That was a great comeback for the SEC championship.Stay focused and get ready for the Regional. I'll be waiting in Oklahoma City for a return visit from you.

cwbytruckers writes:

Way to go Ladys. Been watching you all season. Now lets go get that first National Championship for the SEC

Razor784 writes:

Great comeback, one for the ages, GBO

ClassicVol (Inactive) writes:

Good going Vols.

ps11824 writes:

WOW! What heart. What guts. What a comeback. I too was feeling blue after that horrible start. Georgia was all over our team like a duck on a Junebug, but the Lady Vols kept their heads up, encouraged each other and wow, those Renfroe gals got each others' back, and pitched us a chance for the victory. Burchell, Chavanne and Spigner, way to lead this team! Can we take it to the next level? YES!

GO BIG ORANGE LADY VOLS!!!

GreerVol22 writes:

wonder if old Ralph could coach the guys? Congrats Ladies!!

allvol32 writes:

We're all proud of you Lady Vol softballers! There's no quit in this team. Congratulations!!!

iowavol writes:

Way to go LadyVols. Great game. On the way to KC.

SummittsCourt writes:

2 comments of note.

1 - The Lady Vols showed great character in not only coming back and winning the title game, but also after dropping from first to third in the seeding at the end of the season it would have been easy to have packed it in, but they didn't. Shows great character.

2. Some UF or bama fans may say "yeah but" they didn't have to play us - keep in mind that they beat the teams that knocked UF and bama out of the tournament - so there you go.

The lady vols should now have secured a top 8 seeding and will host a regional and a super regional. World Series here comes the Lady Vols!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

What grit and resolve to never give up. Ivy is
for whatever reason getting torched in the first innings. The team living on the edge is scary but they never give up.

They have so much team speed and the biggest thing so far seems to be getting out of the gate without spotting these runs as they've done lately.

Every one in the lineup has hit a home run this year so they can hold their own in the power game. All the girls seem to be in great physical shape so that should pay off in the long run.

Georgia is a very good team also, so IMO this just goes down as a great game either team could have won. Looking forward now to hosting a regional in Knoxville.

Wonder also if Ralph will continue going with Ivy to start.........however, she's too good to be struggling. I have confidence she'll be fine.

punkin writes:

That center fielder is hot, hot, hot.

tensie2004 writes:

Congrats on a great comeback Lady Vols. The big orange nation is very proud of your efforts all year long. You have done our university and state proud. GO LADY VOLS!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

What a display of grit!

Great game to watch.

Congrats Ladies..

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to punkin:

That center fielder is hot, hot, hot.

Punkin,

Right on friend. Kelly Grieve...........darn it, she's a senior and lightning quick.

I think I once read where she was never thrown out in H S stealing a base.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Great moment, too few of them these days. Way to go Lady Vols!!!

Too few of them for Men's athletics at Tennessee. Joan Cronan has done a great job with the women's program. However, it seems like the fans and the NCAA are the only ones that realize the major problems that exist with Mike Hamilton and the men's program.

PureOrange writes:

Great comeback. We really needed this after the Florida weekend.

Spigner and Burchell supplied the big bangs, and everyone else held it together. This team has the ability to win it all. This game should give them all the confidence they need. If they can come thru the SEC tournament, then they can come thru any other tournament.

Way to go Lady Vols. Don't let up.

FWBVol writes:

I watched the game on ESPN and Spigner's homer in the sixth put us up 5-4 as it was, I believe, Chavanne that scored on a passed ball in the fifth to make the score 4-3 in favor of Georgia at the time. The Bulldogs tied the game in the top of the seventh setting up Bruchell's heroics in the eighth.

It was a great come back by the team and a well-deserved win. Maybe this will be the year we win the CWS.

huntined#565710 writes:

Got to admit when I saw Ivy starting I was yelling at Ralph saying what are you doing????
She is a great pitcher but the last game she started was not good so I thought for sure Ellen would start. Glad they came back to win and this loss may take it's toll on GA. hard to lose one like that.If these first and second year players can win like they are by their last year they should be hard to beat but they have beaten some teams with a lot of seniors like GA. this year. Wish football could do it..

hcjournals#206623 writes:

This is a really, really cohesive team of self starters. They rebounded from the debacle against Florida like it never happened. That showed character...They've got the fire down below....

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to FWBVol:

I watched the game on ESPN and Spigner's homer in the sixth put us up 5-4 as it was, I believe, Chavanne that scored on a passed ball in the fifth to make the score 4-3 in favor of Georgia at the time. The Bulldogs tied the game in the top of the seventh setting up Bruchell's heroics in the eighth.

It was a great come back by the team and a well-deserved win. Maybe this will be the year we win the CWS.

Hey FWB, the point is moot now since the LVs won, but GA actually scored in the top of the 6th to get back a 2 run lead. I watched the game also, thinking all along that there was no way they could overcome a 4 run deficit against a team playing as well as GA was. So glad I was wrong. Thank goodness for the poise and ability of the freshmen pitcher because Ivy has had consecutively rough outings. Hopefully, she gets her touch back for the BIG tournament.

cdtnladyvols931#663910 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

GREAT GAME. THEY NEVER DOUBTED THEMSELVES. THEY KNEW THEY COULD DO IT. SO HAPPY FOR THEM. GO LADY VOLS!!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

I am very impressed with this program and the entire women's athletic scene at UT. The AD, coaches and players are all making us proud. An excellent come from behind win to take a conference championship. It doesn't get much better than that. Way to go, ladies.

MajorMustard writes:

WAY TO GO

TKO writes:

Sweeet Orange! Congrats ladies!

TKO writes:

Can Ralph Weekly coach mens' baseball?

volman2008 writes:

THE PITCHER AT THE TOP OF PAGE,WHAT ARE ALL THOSE GEORGIA FANS LOOKING AT,HA HA HA

VOLSMAN1999 writes:

Great job LADY VOLS!!!
Attention Jimmy Cheeks if you aren't willing to get rid of our poor excuse of an AD then maybe consider letting Joan tutor him. She knows not only how to spell AD but she really understands how to be one.

waldeen_hinson#435189 writes:

Way to go girls! I was at the game. It was amazing!!!. It took the whole team, including both pitchers, to get us to the SEC Championship game and the whole team, plus both pitchers, to win the Title.

Congratulations to all the girls and the coaches.

*I think Coach Ralph would make a great baseball coach.

GO LADY VOLS!!!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

I told my wife in the 1st that UGA was a tough out, and after going down 4-0 we just needed to slowly chip away. That's exactly what they did making us all proud. And I'm sorry, but Ivy doesn't need to start over Lil' Sis, JMO.

On the other hand, was it just me or were the UGA girls EXCESSIVELY rude and cocky? All the laughing, bouncing around, showboating, after the walk off shot I was wanting our girls to taunt them in return. But they didn't. I guess the walk off shot stung enough,LOL.

How many obese girls did UGA have? Our girls are petite and in shape. Skinny things might not look like much, but they can CRUSH the ball.

voloffaith writes:

in response to WildcatsOne:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You must be saying it is "so easy a caveman can do it." If it puts you to sleep don't watch. Little League pitchers don't usually throw in the mid 50's to low 60's. They don't throw from below in most cases. OOPS just noticed TROLLER from team beat from bluegrass state is the one complaining. CONGRATS Lady VOLS for not quitting after first inning ouch off IVY. Humility and focus goes a long way. Not to forget determination either.

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to WildcatsOne:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

see now, this is why you will never get girl

voloffaith writes:

in response to thetrollhunter:

see now, this is why you will never get girl

Way to go probably made cry now.....

voloffaith writes:

in response to WildcatsOne:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is defamatory and abusive....it appears that you are implying women's softball players are overweight and prefer their same gender when socially interactive(yes I made sure to keep clean) THAT WAS TOTALLY UNNECESSARY!!!!

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Way to go probably made cry now.....

ha, funny

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

I believe this troll..........Wildcatsone has just posted one of the all-time examples of one who has shown his rear end, without a doubt.

Why? We must assume several things. One perhaps is because U K cannot beat the Lady Vols in anything, and probably the troll is still smarting from the recent 4-1 loss to Tennessee.

This jerk recently stated GoVOLSExtra was an open site for everyone.........thus his trolling here as he does. However, inasmuch as the subject was about Tennessee Lady Vols softball, it figures anyone other than a Vol fan here would be present to whine with their envy.

Clearly, if this troll doesn't like something, he needs to go find something he does. This troll should be content with his one and done team since they can't win in any other sport.

What a loser..........no, make that, what a loser of a troll.

PureOrange writes:

Did feel bad for Ivy Renfroe having the tough start, but she has done so much for this team, both this year and last, and she will continue to be one of the very best pitchers in America. She and Ellen are both great, and are great kids. We are blessed to have both of them at UT, and we will be good for a long time with them as Lady Vols.

To all our Lady Vols, we are very proud of you, and so very glad you chose to wear the Orange.

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

Congrats Lady Vols! Best of luck in the regionals. I know you'll make UT proud(you already have). GO VOLS!

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