Raiders triumphant at Peggy Anderson Field
By Rory Noble
The visiting Southern Oregon University Raiders nearly put on a softball clinic in Saturday’s double-header on April 12 at Peggy Anderson Field. However, Mountaineer athletes showed once again that they have no quit in them.
In the first inning, the Raiders had singles by Alexa Gonzalez and Sulie Augustine to put runners on first and second. EOU pitcher Lindsay Walchli took the next batter, Julia Willison, to a full count; however, the sixth pitch hit Willison and she moved to first base.
With just one out, Sierra Anderson came to the plate with a good opportunity to open the scoring. With the count full, she dropped a hit into to centerfield. Gonzalez and Augustine scored. A strike out and a ground out then ended the inning.
EOU looked as if they might come back from the two-run deficit as Mariebeth Watanabe led off the bottom of the first with a single. The possible early rally was cut short when she was caught stealing at second base and JoElla Smith and Katie Martell both produced outs in the next two at-bats.
After two innings, Southern held a 3-0 lead, and they were far from done. In the third, they added three more runs on two hits and an EOU error.
Eastern did manage to put on a short-lived rally in the bottom of the fourth inning. After JoElla Smith grounded out to start the inning, Martell watched four consecutive pitches pass outside the strike zone and took first base on the walk. Nicole Redd replaced Martell on first as a pinch runner as Stephanie Maestretti came to the plate.
Maestretti did not wait long to see the pitch she wanted. With a 1-1 count she took the next pitch and sent it sailing over the left-centerfield fence to the delight of teammates and fans alike. Two runs were all EOU would score in the game, however. The final was 6-2 in favor of the Raiders.
Brianne Craig of SOU was the winning pitcher, going all seven innings and allowing five hits, three walks and two earned runs. She also struck out seven. Walchli took the 7-inning loss, giving up eight hits and five walks while striking out three.
In the second game of the double-header, Southern once again jumped out to the early lead. Singles by Ashley Lowe and Julia Willison, coupled with two Mountaineer errors, led to an early 2-0 lead.
The second inning saw even more scoring by the Raiders. Alyssa Fielding was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tyler Burke. Lowe then got her second hit of the game, a single. An error on Lowe’s hit allowed Fielding to score. Next up, Alexa Gonzalez jumped on the first pitch she saw and rapped a hard single to right center, advancing Lowe to second base.
EOU then sent Lily Smith to the mound to give Walchli a rest. Smith walked Sulie Augustine, loading the bases with just one out. Willison doubled to left field, scoring both Lowe and Gonzalez. Augustine moved into scoring position at third.
Anderson then blasted a shot over the fence down the left field line to clear the bases. Two batters later, Stephens homered to left-centerfield to make the score 10-0. Walchli came back to the mound for the final out of the inning.
Once again EOU showed they would not give up easily. Stephanie Maestretti walked to open the second inning. Cassie Wendt sent a deep shot over the centerfield fence for a 2-run homer. Britnee Carman-Rice walked on four pitches, giving more hope to the EOU faithful. Gracie Flyg reached first base on a fielder’s choice, though Carman-Rice was forced out at second. The inning ended two batters later with no more scoring.
The Mountaineers added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, one on an amazing double-steal play of third base and home. Even with the score at 10-4 late in the game, the hometown crowd stayed behind the team. However, SOU scored another run in the top of the sixth inning. The Raiders swept the double-header, winning the second game by a score of 11-4.
Walchli took the loss, giving up 10 hits and five earned runs while striking out five and walking just one. Smith gave up three hits and four earned runs in just .1 innings of work for the Mountaineers. Sydney White of Southern was the winning pitcher, walking two, striking out six, and allowing 10 hits and four earned runs over 4.2 innings.