Berea, KY- The softball team returned to the diamond at the Berea College Sports Complex this afternoon still searching for their first win of the season. Today they served as hosts to the Hiwasse College Tigers as the teams played a doubleheader on this cold but sunny day.
After a scoreless first inning, the Mountaineers went into the second inning looking to change the score in their favor. Lillian Setters' double followed by a Chelsey Parsons single put runners on first and third base. Setters put the first run on the board as she scored as the Tigers attempted to catch Parsons stealing second, making the score 1-0. The score did not change again until the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and Riley Lanham on third via a single, wild pitch and a passed ball, Kourtney Parker stepped to the plate and knocked a ball over the fence which resulted in a two-run home run to move the score to 3-0 for Berea. The top of the fourth saw the Mountaineers advantage cut to just one as Hiwasee scored two runs to make the score 3-2. Madison Stanfield doubled to open the bottom of the fourth inning, before running across home plate from Lanham's RBI double to extend the lead back out to two, 4-2. Six runs by the Tigers in top of the fifth inning turned Berea's lead into an 8-4 deficit as the Mountaineers headed to the plate in the bottom half of the same inning.
Consecutive walks by Annelise Hackney and Parsons put runners on first and second base. With the bases loaded after Stanfield reached base via an error, Abby Nash's double resulted in three RBIs as Stanfield, Parsons and Hackney scored to cut the lead to just one. An error which moved Hannah Carter to second allowed Nash to score to tie the game at eight with the teams heading to the final two innings. A scoreless sixth inning led to an exciting seventh inning as a run by the Tigers in the top half of the inning gave Berea a one run deficit as they came to the batter's box. With one out in the inning and needing one run to extend the game or two runs to win, the winning runs came from Carter and Nash as they were on second and third base, respectively. Mercedes Stanfield came to the plate and hit a walk-off single to the outfield, scoring Carter and Nash to give the Mountaineers a 10-9 victory and their first win of the season.
Lanham led the team at the plate, going 3-5 with one run scored and one RBI. Nash added three RBIs, while Me. Stanfield and Parker each had two RBIs. Parker hit her first home run of the season. Markiara Smith, the starter, and Jacquelyne Howard combined to pitch the game for the team, giving up 15 hits, nine runs (seven earned) and striking out two batters while walking two.
The second game saw Berea take a 1-0 in the first inning after Carter scored off an error by the second baseman. Hiwasse came back in the second inning and score two runs to pull ahead 2-1. The game became tied in the bottom of the third inning as Me. Stanfield hit a two-run home run, making the score 3-3. In a game which had at least one run scored in every inning, the next round of scoring came as the Tigers scored two runs to move ahead 5-3 in the fourth inning. Nash came back in the bottom of the same inning and with Ma. Stanfield on second base, hit a two-run dinger out of the playing field, ending the fourth inning with the second consecutive tie as the score moved to 5-5.
After holding Hiwasse without a run in the fifth inning, the Mountaineers came to their part of the inning hoping to break the tie. A Lanham single followed by Parker reaching base on a fielder's choice set Parsons up with runners on first and second base with two outs in the inning. Parsons came to the plate and hit a single resulting in two RBIs as Lanham and Parker scored to break the tie, giving Berea a 7-5 advantage. Three more runs in the bottom of the sixth by Nash, Carter and Lanham off RBIs from Parker, Me. Stanfield and Lanham helped the Mountaineers win their second game of the season, this time in the form of a 10-5 victory.
Parsons finished 3-3 from the plate to go along with two RBIs. Me. Stanfield (3), Nash (2), Lanham (2) and Parker (1) also finished with RBIs. Howard pitched the complete game for Berea, giving up nine hits, five runs (four earned) and striking out one batter.
Berea (2-6) will be back in action at the Berea College Sports Complex tomorrow afternoon as they welcome future USA South Athletic Conference opponent the Covenant College Scots for a doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 PM with the second game to follow shortly after.