Sometimes on a conference call, because there are multiple parties dialing in, communications can become frayed. Some callers hear just fine, others sound as if they are talking in a tin can. Because callers join the line at various times, continuity can be troublesome.
Friday (Mar. 23) was the first conference call of the season for the Ashland University softball team. The Eagles didn't have any gaps in communication, but in the second game of Friday's doubleheader, they got that annoying feeling one gets when they remain on the line and no one picks up.
In the first game of a doubleheader with Northwood at Brookside Park, in the initial GLIAC game of the year, the Eagles pounded the Timberwolves, 11-2 in four and a half innings.
The second game was a different story as NU (4-10/1-1 GLIAC) shut down the Eagles, 5-2. That loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for Ashland (17-5/1-1).
In the first game, AU received five RBI from junior catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale). Garver socked her team-leading third homer of the season in the third inning to break a 2-2 stalement. The inning started with a single by freshman designated player Jerrica Young (Loundonville, Ohio). With one out, NU pitcher Maddison Sebald walked first baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) and center fielder Taylor Menhart (Twinsburg, Ohio). Shortly after that, Garver deposited a Sebald delivery over the left-field fence and AU led, 6-2.
The Eagles took any mystery out of the game in the fourth inning when they scored five times on four hits. Garver had an RBI single in that uprising. Gironda, in the midst of a 2-for-2 game, singled to bring home two runs and Menhart also had an RBI single. Gironda is hitting .381 with a team-leading 20 RBI and Menhart is hitting .410 with 17 RBI.
AU starter Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) surrendered a two-run homer to Marisa Borkowski in the first inning, but after that, she settled in and experienced little difficulty. After that smash, Knerem returned the next nine batters she faced. She improved to 13-0 with her 10th complete game of the season. She allowed two hits, didn't issue a free pass and struck out three.
AU had nine hits. Garver, Young, Gironda and third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio) had two hits each.
In the second game, the Eagles couldn't find a way to solve the deliveries of Emily Somerville and Sebald. Somerville went 4.2 innings to gain her first win of the season. She allowed two runs on six hits. Once she started to tire, the 'Wolves called upon Sebald, who didn't allow a hit in the final 2.1 innings. The Eagles did put the ball in play, the NU pitchers had only one strikeout.
The Timberwolves gave Somerville early breathing room by scoring all five of their runs in the first inning. All of those were charged to freshman McKenna Galloway (Brunswick, Ohio), who saw her record dip to 1-3. Galloway went two-thirds of an inning before being replaced by freshman Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne). McDermott deserves a lot of credit. Like she did earlier this week against Walsh, she came in and quieted the opposition. The rookie pitched 5.1 scoreless innings. She was touched for five hits, walked two and struck out one.
Gironda had two of AU's six hits – she went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Northwood catcher Erica Weiler was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI. Center fielder Rachel Hammer was 2-for-4.
Ashland will host Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Mar. 24) at noon.