West Chester’s softball team wins with small ball to take five of their seven games this week, including four out of six games in Florida.
Last Tuesday, the Lady Rams traveled to Philadelphia University for a doubleheader before departing to Florida to participate in the NTC Spring Games.
West Chester (9-5) tied it up at one in the second with an RBI single by pitcher and designated hitter Kim Murl.
Following two more runs by Philadelphia University, West Chester scored two runs in each the fourth and fifth innings. In the fifth, the Rams executed the double steal to perfection as shortstop Jessica Norris stole second and when the catcher threw to second, centerfielder Megan Kelly stole home to give West Chester what would be a short-lived 5-3 lead. Philadelphia answered right back in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run homer to give them a one-run lead. In an action packed seventh, two West Chester singles plated three runs, giving the Lady Rams the 8-6 lead, heading into the final frame. Unfortunately, a home run and two errors allowed Philadelphia to score three runs and come out victorious 9-8.
Devon Utterback only pitched 22/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out two. Murl pitched 32/3 giving up four runs on four hits and sending down three batters on strikes. Kate Skokowski (5-4) relieved Murl in the seventh after the home run and could not stop the bleeding as she picked up the loss. Murl and Anderson led the offense, with each going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The nightcap was all about the Golden Rams as they scored 15 runs in five innings to cruise to the 15-3 victory. The game was tied at one until a 10 run explosion in the third blew the cap off the game. Anderson went deep for the Golden Rams, her first of the year and every Lady Ram that came to the plate reached base at some point in the contest.
Skokowski recovered nicely from the loss in the opener, pitching all five innings allowing just the three runs on three hits while striking out three and walking five. Anderson and Murl once again led the bats knocking in four runners apiece. Rightfielder Ali Vavala went 3-for-3 with an RBI and scored four times.
On Thursday, the Rams started their Florida trip off with a doubleheader, beginning with Grand Valley State (6-1). West Chester scored on in the bottom of the first, when third baseman Jessica Schuck singled to left, scoring leftfielder Katie Erb. That was it for the offense as Grand Valley State scored twice in the first and added two more in the third to take it, 4-1.
Skokowski took the loss as she pitched four and a third innings allowing four runs off four hits and striking out five, before being relieved by Utterback. The Rams managed only two hits, the single by Schuck and a double by Kelly.
In Thursday’s nightcap, the Lady Rams faced off against the University of the Sciences (2-3). The Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second when Murl singled through the left side, scoring Schuck, and catcher Erin Quense doubled to right field bringing home Begley. After a run by University of the Sciences, Altenburger’s double down the line scored Begley to push the lead to 3-1. The offense went quiet after the fourth and the Devils scored the games final five runs as they went on to win 6-3.
Murl started the game for the Rams and went three innings allowing just one run off three hits before being relieved by Utterback. Utterback (3-1) picked up the loss as she allowed five runs off three hits in two innings. Skokowski finished up the game, pitching the sixth inning, striking out two Devils in the frame. Of West Chester’s 11 hits, five were doubles, but five errors committed in the field gave the Devils too many chances which they turned into runs.
Friday, West Chester’s first opponent was Bloomfield (7-2), who scored a run in the second to take a 1-0 lead. Schuck’s single in the third scored Begley and Murl’s single in the sixth plated pinch runner Shauna Byrnes to enable the Rams to pull out the 2-1 victory.
Utterback pitched a complete game allowing only the one run off six hits while striking out five Deacons. Schuck was the only Lady Ram who accumulated more than one hit going 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI.
The nightcap pitted West Chester against Cedarville (8-6) in what would be a one-sided contest. Schuck got things rolling in the first with a single that scored Vavala. Norris followed that up with a two-run double, scoring both Murl and Schuck. In the second, the Lady Rams blew the game open with six runs, all coming on singles. Cedarville pushed one across in the fourth but that would be it for the Yellow Jackets. West Chester added a few insurance runs in the seventh when Norris and Spinosa both scored on an error to make the final score 10-1.
Skokowski pitched exceptionally going the full seven innings allowing only the one run off four hits and four walks while striking out six batters. Norris went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Anderson and Murl both notched two hits with Anderson scoring two Rams to Murl’s one.
Saturdays doubleheader kicked off against struggling West Liberty (1-6). The Hilltoppers homered in the first to jump out in front. The Lady Rams responded with an RBI single in the first scoring Erb. West Chester broke the game open with two runs in the third and three runs in the fourth. The Rams scored on three singles and a double, with Vavala crossing the plate in both innings. Each team added a run in the fifth and West Liberty scored once more in the sixth but could do no more as West Chester made it three straight victories, 7-3.
Skokowski pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out two and walking just one. The Rams racked up 11 hits in the winning effort, led by Vavala who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and scoring twice, while also stealing a base. As a team the Lady Rams stole five bases as they continue to play small ball.
Saturday’s nightcap versus Alderson-Broaddus (2-1) showed much of the same exceptional play that we saw in the earlier game. The Lady Rams racked up two runs in four separate innings to cruise to the 8-0 victory.
Utterback picked up the W in six innings of work allowing just two hits and sending nine batters down on strikes. The Rams used 11 hits to manufacture the eight runs, with all 11 being singles. Murl went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Spinosa knocked in two in her only plate appearance of the day.
The Lady Rams, who are riding a four game winning streak will finish up their Florida trip against Mercy College (1-1) and Southern Connecticut State University (3-4). West Chester will spend the week in preparation for this weekends West Virginia Wesleyan Tournament, where they will play five games in two days. On Saturday they will play three games beginning at 9 a.m. Up first is Ohio Valley University (1-1) in the morning, followed by Bluefield College (4-6) at 11 a.m., and finishing up with Davis and Elkins College (6-2) in the nightcap with first pitch being at 5 p.m.
Riley Wallace is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a journalism minor. He can be reached at RW718681@wcupa.edu.