The Rams softball team made it through the opening day of the MEC tournament, which is double elimination with the win/loss split to continue their opportunity to advance further.
In the early game action against Concord the Rams took the early lead, but a late game comeback would be needed to secure the victory. Senior catcher Molly Staley singled to right field in the opening inning that brought home freshman second baseman Leann Brown.
Concord opened their scoring in the second with an RBI single by center fielder Chelsea Shepherd. The Rams got out of the inning with the score tied 1-1 and added another run through a sac-fly by Brown scoring junior center fielder Kaitlyn Konopka. The 2-1 lead did not last long for Shepherd as Concord came out in the top of the fourth inning with a two RBI single to center field by shortstop Jenna Witt to jump ahead of the Rams on the scoreboard 3-2. A second two RBI single of the inning was produced by DH Abby Beatty to end their fourth inning with a solid 5-2 lead over the Rams.
Both offenses went stagnant for a period of the game between the fourth and seventh innings which meant the Rams needed four runs in the seventh, and they got it. Molly Cox started the late game rally off with another RBI single to left field that brought home senior pitcher Kaitlin Munda. Following Cox, Leann Brown added an RBI double to left field which scored Konopka who had advanced to second during Cox’s at bat.
With the score at 5-4 the Rams could feel the momentum shifting they just had to capitalize. Staley made her way back up to the plate in the seventh inning and continued her hot streak with another RBI single, her third of the game, bringing home junior right fielder Morgan Cox. The walk off run for the Rams was scored by Brown off an RBI single right up the middle of the infield by junior Lori Sturgill.
With the 6-5 win, Sturgill secured the victory which brings her season record to 14-6 in her three and two-thirds innings of action, allowing just two hits.
The late game of Friday’s MEC tournament action against West Virginia State was one in which the Rams never had control over the game and took the 6-3 loss in rather convincing fashion.
In the opening two innings against West Virgina State the Rams offense couldn’t get anything going, and the Yellow Jackets grew a healthy lead. Junior outfielder Brookelyn Hale kicked the scoring off for the Yellow Jackets with a sac-fly RBI to center field, scoring shortstop Kayleigh Thompson.
The West Virginia batters were retired after the one run, but the Rams were unable to produce any offense which saw the Yellow Jacket batters up to bat again quickly in the second inning. Sophomore third baseman Shian Meeks belted a two-run shot to center field off Rams starter Cheyenne Van Pelt.
Yellow Jackets’ Hale made it back up to the plate and added an RBI on a groundout to first base after the Meeks home run to finish the second inning spurt at 4-0. Rams senior Molly Staley got the Rams on the scoreboard with a sac-fly RBI into left field that brought home Morgan Cox in the bottom of the fifth inning.
However, West Virginia State added two more runs in the top of the seventh to make the odds of a late game comeback by the Rams even less likely at 6-1 thanks to RBIs by junior first baseman Brittany Allison and sophomore catcher Madison Rafuson.
With a victory in sight for the Yellow Jackets, the Rams could only manage to add two runs to their run total with Munda scoring on a fielding error by shortstop Kayleigh Thompson and an RBI single from Sturgill which brought home Brown. The final score set at 6-3 after the Rams fell short in the comeback bid.
Van Pelt received the loss for the Rams which brings her record to 7-1 on the season after allowing four runs and four hits in just over an inning of action.
The Rams will hope they can continue their stay in the MEC tournament as they are slated to take on UVa-Wise Saturday, May 5. at 10 a.m.
Vaughn Brewer is a sports writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org