Here's what the last three days proved for the Ashland University softball team. There were no weak links on this weekend.
Sunday (Mar. 25), the Eagles played their third GLIAC doubleheader in three days at Brookside Park. It took AU only four and a half innings to close out the first game, 8-0 over Lake Superior State. The second game was an entirely different story as the teams went back and forth for 10 innings before the Eagles prevailed, 6-4.
This was the second consecutive day the Eagles had to go 10 innings to get a win. Are the Eagles weekend warriors or weakened warriors? Let the numbers tell the story.
Ashland is 21-5 overall and 5-1 in conference play. The Eagles have won 14 of their last 15 games. They've done that with solid play in every phase. They've gotten contributions up and down the lineup and from the bench.
In Sunday's first game, starting second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington) injured her ankle in the top of the first inning. Seidler left in favor of Lauren Yelling (Lodi, Ohio/Cloverleaf). Did the Eagles stutter? No, they scored five times in the first, once in the second and twice in the third. Yelling had a double and filled in just fine in the field.
AU had nine hits in the first game. Shortstop Bri Woody (Cleveland, Ohio/Magnificat) was 2-for-3 and drove in two runs and third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio) was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale) was 2-for-2 and designated player Jerrica Young (Loudonville, Ohio) was 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
Starting pitcher Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) pitched the front three innings to get her 15th win of the season. She has not lost in 2012. Freshman McKenna Galloway (Brunswick, Ohio) pitched the last two innings. The AU hurlers held the Lakers (4-9/1-5 GLIAC) to two hits.
In the second game, Ashland scored in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. LSSU catcher Amanda Mason tied the game with her third homer of the year in the second inning. That shot came off of Galloway, who pitched the first three innings before leaving in favor of Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne). McDermott went the rest of the game, giving AU seven innings. She allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits. She walked three and whiffed seven and owns a 5-2 record.
The Eagles couldn't shake the Lakers in the second game. After AU scored twice in the sixth to go in front, 3-1, the Lakers answered with two runs in their half of the inning to knot the score, 3-3. It wasn't until the 10th inning when Ashland scored three times to take a 6-3 lead that any space opened up between the teams.
In the 10th, first baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) brought in the first run with a single. She would later score on a wild pitch and the third run in the frame came around on an error. It's a good thing the Eagles didn't take their foot off the gas after scoring once. In the bottom of the 10th, LSSU scored once and had runners at first and second base when McDermott got the final out – a fly ball off the bat of Alyssa Avila to center field.
Kelley was 3-for-5 in the second game with an RBI and two runs scored. Center fielder Taylor Menhart (Twinsburg, Ohio) was 2-for-5 with two runs and Yelling was 2-for-4. Young and Kelley both had doubles. Maxon was 2-for-5 with two RBI for the Lakers.
Ashland is back on the diamond on Wednesday (Mar. 28, 3:30 p.m.) when it hosts Tiffin for two games. Last season, the Dragons and Eagles met in the GLIAC championship game, won by the Dragons. Both teams went to the NCAA playoffs a year ago.