Berea, KY- On the last Sunday in February, the softball returned to the diamond on a beautiful day in front of a vibrant and full crowd to play a doubleheader. Today marked the home opener for the Mountaineers, as the team looked to pick up their first win of the season again the Alice Lloyd College Eagles.
Game 1- Katelyn Blair, along with Mercedes Stanfield, became a thorn in the side of the Eagles in the first inning of the game. Blair first struck on the mound, as she made quick work of the opposing batters, getting the first batter to pop out to third base and striking the last two batters out to end the top half of the inning. In the bottom of the first, with runners on first and third, Stanfield's triple put the first two runs on the board, as Morgan McClure and Lillian Setters crossed home plate to make the score 2-0. The score soon changed to 5-0 as Blair aided her pitching effort by hitting a 3-run home run, bringing home Stanfield and Kourtney Parker as well. The offense for Alice Lloyd was non-existent as Blair made quick work of the batters in the next two innings.
The score increased for Berea in the bottom of the third, as Blair's fourth RBI of the game on a ground out brought Stanfield in for the sixth run of the game. Cheyanna Johnson's sacrifice fly to center field allowed Parker to add to the lead, making the score 7-0. Blair's excellent pitching continued in the game, as the team continued to hold the Eagles scoreless. With the score 7-0 in the bottom of the fifth and needing a run to finish the game early, Johnson collected her second RBI of the game with a single that brought Stanfield in for her third run of the game and the Mountaineers picked up their first win of the season in five innings, winning 8-0.
Blair (1-2) pitched a no-hitter on the mound for Berea, going all five innings, giving up no hits or runs, walking three batters and striking out a season high eight batters, while earning her first win of the season. The pitcher also led the way for the Mountaineers in offense, going 2-3 with four RBIs and a home run. Stanfield finished a perfect 3-3 from the plate and along with Johnson finished with two RBIs.
Game 2- The offense which struck quickly in the first game struggled in the second game, as after the first inning the game was in a scoreless tie. The first run of the game came in favor of Berea in the bottom of the second. With the bases loaded, Alice Lloyd's pitcher threw a wild pitch, rolling behind the catcher and Johnson was able to beat the throw to the plate, giving the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead. The pressure to hold the lead came in the top of the third inning though, as the Eagles first two batters reached base and eventually made their way to second and third. With the runners in scoring position, the pitcher for Berea, Taylor Flowers, was able to force the next two batters to ground out and line out to preserve the team's 1-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth, Madison Stanfield walked with one out on the board. She reached second on a wild pitch before stealing third to put herself in a position to score. Chelsey Parsons recorded the second walk of the inning to put base runners on the corners, before Hannah Carter loaded the bases on a fielder's choice. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, the bases remained loaded as the next two batters ended the inning with outs. The offense which stalled in the bottom of the fourth ignited in the bottom half of the fifth. After hitting a single to get to first base, Parker advanced to third base on Blair's base hit. Johnson's single followed by a throwing error allowed Parker and Blair to reach home, making the score 3-0. Another throwing error off of Hallie Mattingly's single allowed Johnson to add a run to the scoreboard to increase the Berea advantage 4-0. The final run of the four run inning in favor of the Mountaineers came from Parsons' RBI single when Mattingly crossed the plate. Berea ended the inning leading 5-0. Parker's first career home run was the final run of the game and as the team completed the sweep, winning 6-0.
Parker led the way behind the plate, finishing 2-3 with a home run and a RBI. Johnson, Parsons and Mattingly also finished with a RBI in the game. Flowers went the distance on the mound for the Mountaineers, giving up five hits, walking one batter and collecting three strikeouts.
The sweep moves the team's record to 2-4. The team returns to the road for their next visit to the diamond, traveling to Williamsburg, KY on Tuesday, March 1st to take on the University of the Cumberlands in a doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled to take place at 3:00 PM, followed by the second game at 5:00.