Lady Buffs rule AAC tournament
from staff reports

   BRISTOL -- The 2004 Appalachian Athletic Conference softball tournament champions are the Milligan College Lady Buffs following their 1-0 victory over Virginia Intermont for the second day in a row at the White Top Creek Park Friday afternoon.
   Milligan defeated VI in the winners' bracket finals Thursday evening by the same 1-0 margin.
   With the win, the Lady Buffs improve their record to 41-14 as they travel to Athens, Tenn., for the NAIA Region XII Tournament May 11-14.
   Milligan and UVA-Wise had earned spots in the region tournament with their regular season top-two finish, and VI will go to Athens as well with their runner-up finish in the tournament.
   Milligan scored its run in the bottom of the fourth inning with the bases loaded with one out as junior pitcher Brandy Waddle checked into the game to pinch hit. She was hit by a pitch to score senior catcher Shelby Banion.
   Picking up the championship victory on the mound for Milligan was junior All-AAC pitcher, Traci Harrison as she went four solid innings allowing four hits with four strikeouts. Junior All-AAC pitcher and AAC Player of the Year Brandy Waddle pitched the final three innings for the save as she shut the door on the Lady Cobras, only allowing one hit.
   For VI in the loss, Celia Henline pitched 5.2 innings and allowed one run on four hits.
   The strong pitching and great defense helped the Lady Buffs in the tournament. The staff of Waddle and Harrison did not allow a single run and the defense behind them only committed two errors in four games.
   At the plate for Milligan, All-AAC catcher, Shelby Banion went 2-3 with the game winning run, junior first baseman Brooke Davis and freshman center fielder Amanda Verner had a hit apiece.
   The game ball went to Banion for her game winning run.
   "I love this sport and this team," said Banion. "I am truly honored to have made a contribution in my last AAC game."
   This is the fourth tournament championship for Milligan Head Coach Wes Holly in his 16th season with the Lady Buffs, and he was also voted 2004 AAC Coach of the Year.
   "The girls rose to the occasion," Holly. "Brandy (Waddle) and Traci (Harrison) did a tremendous job on the mound and were vital in securing the win. We look forward to our trip to Athens for the NAIA Region XII Tournament."