The Lady Rams finished up February by going 3-3 in the Catawba Invitational Tournament last weekend, including a 19-0 dredging of Winston Salem State.
First up for the ladies was Wingate (N.C.) (8-5) in a game that was for those not expecting much offense. West Chester (5-3) managed just four hits and failed to push any of them across as they dropped their first game of the season 1-0 in a game called in the top of the seventh due to rain.
Devon Utterback (1-1) received the tough loss as she had a very good outing giving up only five hits and the single run while striking out three and walking three in seven innings of work. No West Chester batters reached base more than once and first basemen Jillian Murray recorded the teams’ only extra base hit with a double.
After having their game pushed back a day due to rain, West Chester’s hitters made it rain against Winston Salem State (N.C.) (0-1) as they knocked in 19 runs in only four innings. The Golden Rams completely dominated with their offense as they had 16 hits with all nine starters reaching base and scoring a remarkable 10 runs in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Charlotte Conaway led the way as she went 3 for 5 with two RBI and two runs with a double and a triple. Devon Utterback bounced back nicely as she pitched five strong innings, giving up only three hits and walking two while recording five strikeouts.
The second half of West Chester’s doubleheader last Saturday featured 12th ranked Lenoir-Rhyne (14-2). The Golden Rams had solo home runs designated hitter Kelly Anderson, her first of the year, and second basemen Abby Block, her second, but they couldn’t climb out of an early 4-0 hole as they fell 7-2. Kim Murl (1-1) was roughed up by Lenoir-Rhyne’s hitters but hung tough as she pitched all six innings giving eight hits and walking two while hitting two additional batters. Block went 2-3 with her home run, and was the only batter to record more than one hit.
On the final day of the tournament, West Chester began their triple-header with a morning bout with Glenville State (2-3). The girls came out firing and forced Glenville State to pull their starting pitcher in the second inning. They scored seven runs in the inning, and went on to win easily, 9-1. Kelsey Hannold (1-0) picked up her first victory of the year, pitching a complete game allowing only three hits and the single run. She struck out five while only walking one.
Designated hitter Nicole Cruts hit her first homer of the year, and Block knocked out her third of the year. Anderson and centerfielder Megan Kelly had two hits and a double apiece.
West Chester made it two in a row as they defeated Queens (N.C.) (0-1) soundly 8-2 in the early afternoon last Sunday. It was close for most of the game until West Chester broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the fifth and added some insurance in the sixth and seventh innings. Kim Murl (2-1) pitched a very good game giving up only two runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Conaway led the Golden Rams offense going 2-4 with her first home run of the year. Block also went 2-4 with a double and two RBIs.
In West Chester’s final game of the tournament, they took on host Catawba (12-5). The Lady Rams got seven hits off of Catawba starting pitcher but managed only one run and fell 4-1. Utterback (2-2) got knocked around a little bit, giving up seven hits and four runs before being relieved by Hannold in the fifth.
West Chester did record seven hits in the game, but all were singles. Shortstop Jessica Norris knocked in leftfielder Jessica Russ for the Rams’ only run with her RBI single in the fifth.
The Lady Rams return to West Chester to rest up for a week before a four game home stretch. On Sunday, they host Shepherd in a home-opening doubleheader at 1 and 3 p.m., Followed up by a home doubleheader Monday afternoon against Philadelphia University at 2 and 4 p.m. After Phila. U., West Chester will prepare for its spring break trip to Florida to participate in the NTC Spring Games, in which they will play 13 games in a week’s time.
Riley Wallace is a third-year student at West Chester University. He can be reached at RW718681@wcupa.edu.