Mar 31, 2009

Women's Softball

by Jonathan Thompson

Liberty played host to Hampton, splitting the pair of home games with the visiting Lady Pirates 0-2 and 5-1, respectively, last Tuesday.Game one saw the Lady Flames unable to generate any offense, stranding seven runners on base and not pushing a single run across the plate.

Things looked promising for the Lady Flames in the first inning as junior third baseman J’nae Jefferson laced a one-out triple. But a strikeout by senior Beth Bennett and a lineout by freshman Kaylee West ended the threat.

Hampton scored its first run in the top off the third inning after a single and an error put runners on first and second with two outs. Senior Ashley Weissenbach then roped a single into left field bringing home shortstop Evelyn Garcia.

The Lady Flames had another scoring opportunity in the bottom half of the third, as sophomore center fielder Amber DePasquale led off with a single and immediately stole second. Freshman shortstop Kelly Strickland drew a walk, but a double play and a strikeout left the Lady Flames scoreless.

Hampton would add an insurance run in the fourth, compliments of a Travonna Byrd single that scored junior first baseman Jada Jeffries. Two runs were more than enough for Lady Pirates’ senior pitcher
Amanda Black, as she went on to claim the 2-0 win.

DePasquale led the Lady Flames going 3-for-3, but none of her other teammates could find the groove against Black.

“It felt good to keep hitting,” DePasquale said. “It was disappointing
though, that we couldn’t string anything together.”
In game two Liberty still struggled to string hits together, but their offense stepped up in other ways.

The Lady Flames recorded three home runs in the victory, tying their season record.

Liberty jumped on freshman starter Travonna Byrd in the first inning, taking advantage of an error, a walk and a passed ball to score their first run of the series.

The floodgates opened for Liberty in the second, as both Bennett and Jefferson recorded solo home runs. Sophomore second baseman Cassie Hendrix reached first after being hit by a pitch and promptly stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hendrix came home on a ground out by junior outfielder Jenny Law.

Liberty’s third home run came in the third inning as West recorded her first collegiate home run off the first pitch by Hampton reliever Black.

“It’s a good feeling,” West said. “Really, it’s indescribable.”

Those five runs proved more than enough for sophomore pitcher Tiffani Smith. Smith went the distance, striking out 12 and allowing one run to move her record to 6-6.

West led all players, going 2-3 with one RBI and a run scored.
Liberty then made the trek up to South Carolina to begin conference play with three games against the Winthrop Eagles.

In game one of Sunday’s double-header, Winthrop senior right fielder Lisa Kingsmore jumpstarted the Eagles offense in the bottom of the third with a two-run shot, scoring herself and junior third baseman Pearl Coleshill. Eagles junior second baseman Ashlee Revell followed Kingsmore with a solo shot, making the score 3-0.

Liberty chipped away at Winthrop’s lead in the fifth. Freshman left fielder Danielle Howard led off with a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. After a sacrifice hit that advanced both runners, Howard scored on a sacrifice fly by West.

The long ball proved deadly for the Lady Flames, as Smith gave up back-to-back solo shots to senior first baseman Mallory Hogan and junior pitcher Megan Evans.

Liberty then brought in freshman reliever Allyson Hudson to try and stop the pressure, but sophomore Veronica Berrie and Kingsmore claimed both hit home runs to give Winthrop a 9-1 win.

Liberty began the second game strong, as RBI’s by Bensinger and West gave the Lady Flames a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

In the second, singles by DePasquale gave the Lady Flames a 2-0 lead in the first inning. In the second, singles by DePasquale and Hendrix gave Liberty another scoring chance. Howard then reached on a Winthrop error that scored DePasquale.

Another home run by the Eagles, an RBI single and a two-run error by West gave Winthrop the 4-3 lead. After exchanging home runs in the fourth, Winthrop clung to a 6-4 advantage.

Howard continued the offensive barrage with a leadoff home run in the fifth, pulling the Lady Flames to within one run. However, Winthrop would tack on an insurance run in the sixth, and the Lady Flames would come up empty in the top of the seventh, falling 7-5.

“We really started swinging the bat,” Coach Paul Wetmore said. “That shows some real character for the team.”

Results of Monday’s game against Winthrop were unavailable at press time. See www.libertyflames.com for recap.

Contact Jonathan Thompson at
jmthompson@liberty.edu.

 


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