Softball Opens Season at Methodist Tournament
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.--The Hood College softball team opened the
2009 season at the Methodist University Early Bird Tournament in
Fayetteville, N.C. Due to heavy rains in the area, teams were
forced to play all four games of the originally-scheduled two-day
tournament in one day.
Hood came up short in all four contests Friday. The Blazers fell to Roanoke College, 5-2; Fayetteville State University, 8-4; Methodist University, 11-2 (5 innings); and Goldey-Beacom College, 3-1.
In the first game against the Maroons, Hood jumped out to an early 2-0 in the top of the first after a two-run double to right by Krista Zerby, which plated Sara Wastler and Jacquie LeMar. But Roanoke countered with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Kelsey Ruitenberg drove in two runs and came around to score on a Blazer wild pitch. Taylor Zahn also knocked in a run on a groundout.
Neither team scored over the next three innings, though the Blazers were able to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third by getting Kristin McCormick on a force out at second. The Maroons tacked on a single run in the bottom of the fifth on a Blazer fielding miscue.
Wastler collected two of Hood's three basehits on the day and scored a run. Bridgette Ringley suffered the loss despite facing just three batters. All three hitters she faced came around to score.
Hood took on Division II squad Fayetteville State University in game two. After three scoreless frames by both squads, the Broncos plated five runs in the top of the fourth on three basehits and a pair of Blazer fielding errors.
The Blazers got one back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-double by Stephanie Gardner. The Broncos came right back though in the top of the fifth on a two-run homer by Rakhee Smith to make it 7-1.
Hood made things interesting with a three-run bottom of the sixth. Stephanie Gardner drove in another run with an infield single, while Jen Willison scored on an error by the Bronco pitcher and Zerby was credited with another RBI after drawing a bases-loaded walk. After Katherine Law flied out to left for the first out of the inning, Hood threatened to tie the score with the bases still loaded and the top of the order coming up. But the Broncos escaped the inning when Kristen Britt struck out Emalie Stroup and LeMar grounded out to short to end the threat.
Rakhee Smith plated Jalisa Smith on a double to right-center in the top of the seventh for the final margin.
Ringley and Steph Gardner both collected a pair of hits for the Blazers. Ringley went the distance in the circle but took the loss, allowing only three earned runs on 10 basehits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
In Hood's third game of the day against the host the Methodist University Monarchs, the Blazers found themselves only down one (2-1) after three innings. But the Monarchs erupted for eight runs in the top of the fourth on two walks, a wild pitch, a hit batter, a Hood fielding error, a fielder's choice and a two-run single by Jessica Pridgen.
Alex Bass and Jennie Price limited the Blazers to just four basehits on the day, one apiece by Wastler, Jen Lacy, Stroup and Law. Wastler drove in both runs for Hood on a single and a sacrifice fly. Devon Markowitz made her pitching debut for Hood, tossing one inning of relief and striking out two of the seven batters she faced.
After an already exhausting opening day to the 2009 season, the Blazers had one more test ahead of them, the Goldey-Beacom College Lightning. The Lightning struck early, plating three runs over the first two innings, which would prove to be all the offense it would need. Heather Draper worked five scoreless innings for GBC before the Blazers broke through with a run in the top of the sixth. Law laced a one-out single to left but was forced at second after Wastler grounded into a fielder's choice. But Wastler proceeded to steal second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ashley Lenhart came up with the clutch basehit up the middle to drive in Wastler.
After Zerby led off the top of the seventh with a single, Willison stepped to the plate representing the tying run. But Draper got Willison to pop up back to the circle, and Ringley grounded into a double play to retire the side and clinch the victory for the Lightning.
Markowitz got the start for the Blazers, working 3.2 innings and allowing two earned runs on just four hits with a pair of strikeouts and five walks. Ringley tossed the final 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, surrendering just two hits and fanning three.
Hood's home opener is set for Sunday against Penn State Harrisburg at 1 p.m. (weather permitting).