Shepherd Softball Slips By Virginia State

In the Shaw University tournament, the Rams (4-4) took down the Trojans (2-8) Sunday morning with a 5-4 victory.

Getting off to a rough start in the first inning, the Rams quickly fell behind 2-0, largely due to self-inflicting errors.

Catcher Janay Joseph got to first base and then second base with a Rams’ fielding error. With their fielding mistake, outfielder Tatyana Jordan and infielder Maya Bailey capitalized and scored the first two runs of the game for the Trojans.

Joseph would reach home plate later in the inning thanks to a double that was belted to left field by catcher/infielder Amirah Chaney.

Mistakes cost the Rams heavily in the first inning, as they fell behind 3-0 without even stepping up to bat.

Needing a spark, the Rams got one in the second inning, as sophomore shortstop/outfielder Kaitlyn Konopka got to first base with a fielding error, this time committed by the Trojans’ centerfielder. Sophomore first/third baseman Connor Gilligan scored the unearned run on the play, as the Rams also had runners on second and third with the bases loaded now.

All of the Rams runners advanced a base as the Trojans had a passed ball that gave the runners a chance to steal a base. Junior outfielder Jessica Robinson scored on the error, making it a 3-2 score.

In the third inning, Gilligan launched an RBI single to left field that drove home freshman infielder Debbie Stuart to tie the game at 3-3. The Rams were clearly getting in the heads of the Trojans at this point.

Robinson then countered with an RBI single, this time to right field, as Gilligan scored to give the Rams a 4-3 lead.

Still in the third inning, sophomore catcher Kelsie Weaver grounded out to the Trojans’ shortstop, but in the process, it provided a distraction for sophomore second baseman/shortstop Morgan Cox to advance home.

With a 5-3 lead, the Rams finally had some breathing room after mounting their comeback.

After Bailey produced an RBI double in the fourth inning that made it a one-run game, the Trojans still were down by one run entering the seventh inning.

Despite her struggles early, senior starting pitcher Tara Hanson finished the game off strong for the Rams.

She got the first three batters out in the inning, as she got them into a pop out fly, ground out, and a foul out, respectively, to close out the game.

Hanson (1-0), in her seven innings of work, gave up four runs (one of them earned) on five hits, walking two, and striking out five.

In the loss, Dominique Mulero (0-1) pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on two hits, walking eight, and striking out two. She appeared to struggle mightily in her pitch location, as the Rams got numerous free runners on base.

The Rams would go on to play Shaw University later in the day.

Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at

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