STROUDSBURG, Pa. – The West Virginia Wesleyan softball team won the first elimination game of the day on Friday against Bowie State, 9-1, and then held off West Chester later in the evening by a 6-4 score to stay alive in the Atlantic Regional Tournament.
In their first game of the day with Bowie State, the Lady Bobcats recorded 12 hits and used a complete game from Hannah Hudson
Wesleyan got things going in the top of the second when Andie Dizon walked to start the inning.
From there, Kiley Turner hit a fly ball to center but the centerfielder had trouble bringing it in, allowing Dizon to score from second. Grace Smith extended the Lady Bobcat lead to 2-0 with a single to left, bringing Turner home. With runners at second and third, Bowie State forced a popup to the infield to keep the deficit at two.
Taylor Swartz walked and stole second to lead off the third inning, eventually scoring a few pitches later on a Morgan Norris double down the left field line making it 3-0.
Wesleyan extended their lead in the top of the fifth as Norris singled and Andie Dizon hit a huge two-run home run to extend the lead to 5-0.
Bowie State played small ball to get their first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, leading the inning off with a single by Jahkya Watkins and putting down a bunt to move her into scoring position. A wild pitch allowed Watkins to advance to third and she scored on a groundout to second, cutting the Lady Bobcat lead to four.
Norris hit a one-run single ripping it up the middle scoring Alyssa Soulders to put the lead back at five runs, at 6-1.
Wesleyan came out with three consecutive singles in the top of the seventh, including Shelby Keenedy’s one-run single up the middle to extend the lead to 7-1. An error by the Bulldogs shortstop allowed Kennedy to score and Hallie Dinklocker slapped one down the left field line, making it 9-1 going into Bowie State’s final three outs. Hudson finished her complete game in the bottom of the seventh as the Lady Bobcats won.
Kayla Evans had two hits on the day and Shayna Gordon had the lone RBI for the Bulldogs. Lindsey George took the loss after six innings of work, giving up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks.
Norris was 3-4 and knocked in two runs to lead the Lady Bobcats. Turner picked up two hits as well and Dizon knocked in two runs to aid the Wesleyan offense.
Hudson pitched another complete game, allowing just one run (earned) on six hits while striking out five.
In their second game of the day, Wesleyan used a huge five-run inning in the fourth to defeat West Chester. The Lady Bobcats were outhit 9-7 but the Golden Rams had four costly errors that helped WVWC take the win.
The Lady Bobcats went down in order to begin the game and West Chester put up the first run of the game in the bottom of the first using three singles that nearly got by the Bobcat infield. Abigail O’Shields forced a popup to leave two runners stranded.
Wesleyan tied it up in the top of the third after Dinklocker got on from a fielder’s choice and Swartz tripled to the left-center gap. With Swartz at third and one out, the Lady Bobcats couldn’t bring her in to take the lead as back-to-back outs in the infield closed out the top half of the inning.
After a walk and a single, the Golden Rams were able to plate two runs on a blooper over Alli Robinson’s head in the bottom of the third.
Wesleyan countered in the top of the fourth loading the bases with one out. Souders was walked, earning the RBI and cutting the Golden Ram lead to just one. Dinklocker slapped it to the pitcher, allowing WCU to throw it home for the force out. Swartz came through with a two-out single up the middle to bring home two runs, taking the lead at 4-3. On the next play, Norris dribbled one up the middle that looked to be the final out of the inning but a bad throw to first scored one run and another errant throw over to third allowed Swartz to score, making it 6-3.
O’Shields found herself in a jam in the bottom of the fifth as West Chester loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. The Golden Rams then took another walk, trimming the WVWC lead to 6-4. Hudson came in relief, getting a strikeout to keep the lead at two.
West Chester kept the Lady Bobcats quiet in the top of the sixth and led the bottom half of the inning off with a single up the middle. The Golden Rams made it even more interesting with runners at first and third with two outs. Hudson didn’t let the runners phase her, getting out of the inning with a strikeout. The Lady ‘Cats went down quickly in the top of the seventh, setting up the final at-bats for WCU. Hudson did walk a batter but that would be the most she would allow as the Lady ‘Cats won 6-4.
Madison Melvin was 3-4 with three RBI to lead West Chester and Katelyn Rittenbaugh added two hits as well. Antonia Browning took the loss after coming in during the five-run fourth inning by the Lady Bobcats, giving up two runs (one earned) on no hits, a walk and a hit batsman.
Swartz was phenomenal all game, going 2-4 with three RBI and making multiple big plays out in centerfield. Norris and Souders also gathered an RBI each. O’Shields picked up the win after 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing four runs (earned) on seven hits and four walks. Hannah Hudson got the save, finishing the final 2 1/3 innings and striking out five.
Up Next For The Lady Bobcats
Wesleyan advances to face East Stroudsburg in the Atlantic Regional Pod 1 Championship at 11 a.m. Saturday. To win the pod, the Lady Bobcats will need to defeat ESU twice.