Berea, KY- On a cloudy and misty day in the bluegrass, the softball returned to their home field to play in a doubleheader this afternoon. The team in the visitor's dugout for the contest was the Hiwasse College Tigers out of Madisonville, TN.
The leadoff hitter for Hiwasse College reached based before the Berea defense stepped in, as starting pitcher Katelyn Blair got the next three batters out, two on ground outs and a fly out to right field. The bottom half of the first inning for the Mountaineers looked like it was going to end quickly, as the first two batters, grounded out and flew out. The third batter of the inning, Morgan McClure, helped put the first run on the board, as she doubled to reach second base. The next batter to the plate, Mercedes Stanfield, hit a second consecutive double, crediting her with an RBI as McClure crossed home plate. The inning ended with Berea ahead 1-0. As the defense for the Mountaineers held the Tigers hitless over the next two innings, the team increased their advantage in the bottom of the third. McClure positioned herself on second base with her single and stolen base and was soon joined on the bases by Stanfield at first. Kourtney Parker's double allowed McClure to record her second run of the game and advance Stanfield to third base. Blair aided her pitching efforts at the plate with a single which brought in Stanfield for the third run of the game and pushed Parker to third base. The score changed to a four run lead in favor of Berea when Parker stole home. The final run of the four run inning for the Mountaineers came off a Hannah Carter RBI single, which ended in Cheyanna Johnson crossing home plate after initially getting on base via a walk.
After making quick work of Hiwasse in the top of the fourth, the bottom of the fourth had a similar beginning as the previous inning for Berea. It started out with McClure's third hit of the game, a single, then moving into scoring position on Stanfield's second double of the game. Parker stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third, hitting a sacrifice fly to left field which allowed the runners to tag up and send McClure home for the sixth run of the game and Stanfield to third. Stanfield remained on third for a moment as Blair's double gave her a second RBI as Stanfield returned home to make the score 7-0. Taylor Flowers recorded the seventh RBI for the Mountaineers in the game with her single, sending Blair back to the dugout with a scored run and allowing the mercy rule to come into play for Berea. In the top of the fifth needing just three outs to end the game, the first three batters hit singles to reach base. The first out of the inning though came on a force out at third base. A pop up to the catcher and force out at second base ended the game with the Mountaineers walking away with a 8-0 win in five innings.
Blair pitched the entire shutout for Berea, giving up five hits while walking two batters and striking out three. This is the second time this season Blair hasn't given up a run. The bats of the Mountaineers totaled a season high 17 hits, led by McClure and Johnson, who both finished a perfect 3-3 at the plate. McClure scored three runs in the game and Johnson added one of her own. Finishing the game with RBIs for Berea were Carter, Stanfield, Flowers, Parker and Blair, who each finished with two.
The second game of the doubleheader was a different story for both teams. The Tigers started off the top of the first by putting two runs on the board and led the Mountaineers 2-0 as the teams headed to the dugout for the bottom of the first. Berea responded in their half of the inning by putting up two runs of their own to tie the game at two. The teams went into the second inning knotted up at two each. Hiwasse broke the tie during their portion of the inning by scoring five runs, making the score 7-2. The deficit the Mountaineers faced decreased in the bottom half of the second inning, as the team added four runs to the scoreboard, to trail by just one 7-6 as the teams headed to the next inning.
The score became tied for a second time in the bottom of the third when the Mountaineers scored a run in the bottom of the third inning, giving each team seven runs. The scoreboard read 7-7 as each team went scoreless over the next two innings, until the bottom of the sixth when Berea took their first lead of the game. Three more runs were added in favor of the Mountaineers and it was the final lead change, as Berea completed the comeback 10-7 and swept the Tigers.
McClure led the way on the offensive end as she finished 3-4, with three runs scored and two RBIs. Along with McClure, Lillian Setters, Stanfield, Blair and Johnson finished with an RBI. The team finished with a total of 17 hits. Three different pitchers were on the mound for the Mountaineers, but Blair got credit for her second win of the day and third win of the season.
The team sits on a record of 4-5 and gets a little over a week off before their next game. Berea returns to the Berea College Sports Complex on Sunday, March 13th when they host USCAA opponent West Virginia Institute of Technology. The teams are scheduled for a doubleheader at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.