West Liberty Drops Pair Vs. WVC-Leading Wesleyan

WEST LIBERTY – Thumped 15-4 in six innings by West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference leader West Virginia Wesleyan during the opener of Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader, West Liberty University led through most of the second game before coming up on the short end of a 5-3 score.

In fact, take away a stellar defensive play turned into a double play by Bobcats third baseman Elizabeth Derrick in the bottom of the sixth, then her clutch two-out, two-run single the top of the seventh and the Hilltoppers might have come away with a split.

It certainly would have been an unexpected turn of events since West Liberty entered play yesterday with just a 9-34 record while Coach Steve Warner’s West Virginia Wesleyan powerhouse was 40-5, ranked third in the region and 19th among NCAA Division II women’s softball teams.

Smarting from the first-game rout when the Hilltoppers committed five errors, Coach Herb Minch’s team jumped ahead 2-0 early, a lead they held until the fifth inning.

Tied 3-3 coming to bat in the home half of the fifth, West Liberty threatened to take the lead again by putting runners on first and third with one out. Kelsie Cannady opened the rally with a single to center. Sara Ashmead, after failing to bunt, reached on a fielder’s choice as Cannady was erased at second base. Ashmead then stole second and had to stop at third on Maggie Starr’s single to center.

This brought Felicia Hulslander to the plate and she banged a hard-hit ball down the third-base line that Derrick snagged quickly, then put the tag on Ashmead and fired across the infield to first baseman Dana Goguen to complete a stellar double play and end the threat.

”That double play was a killer,” Minch said. ”It’s something you dream about defensively but you never want to see when you are on offense.”

Derrick wasn’t finished adding to the Hilltoppers’ misery, however. With one out in the seventh, she dug in at the plate after the Bobcats had loaded the bases on an error, Stephanie St. Peter’s double into left center and an intentional walk given Kashilla Young, Wesleyan’s No. 4 hitter.

West Liberty’s Becky Fortuna, turning in what may have been her best pitching outing of the season, got a huge second out by retiring Goguin on a pop fly to Leanna McMillen at shortstop. Derrick ended the Hilltoppers pitchers’ hopes of escaping the jam by just getting enough of an outside delivery to drop a short fly over second baseman Starr’s head into right field for the two-run single that gave the Bobcats the lead for keeps.

”That was a great play at third for the double play and then she came through with the big hit to win it for us, so I’d say she had a very good day,” Warner said.

”I’m really proud of our kids for not folding and battling back after they got ahead of us in the second game. I told Coach Minch that this was the best hitting team with two strikes that we’ve played all season and I tip my hat to his players. Herb and I go back 17 years of coaching in this league and I warned our kids they were going to bunt, run and try to put pressure on us all day. We are fortunate to get out of here with wins in both games.”

Starr’s bunt single, a throwing error, followed by wild pitch and Juliann Wanda’s single past the circle for an RBI provided West Liberty its 2-0 lead in the second game.

Wesleyan got a run back in the top of the second after a Hilltoppers error and hits by winning pitcher Kaitlyn Carey and Alex Furr. In the top of the fifth, the Bobcats went up 3-2 on Goguin’s two-run single that followed a double off the left field fence by St. Peter and a walk to Young.

The Hilltoppers bounced right back to tie it on singles by Hulslander and Kelsey Martin, followed by an error.

Fortuna tossed an eight-hitter, walked three and struck out three to take what Minch described as a tough loss.

”Her control was good and except for maybe one pitch in the seventh she really did a nice job,” Minch said. ”I never thought she was in a lot of danger the whole game.”

The victory went to Carey, who was touched for eight hits but did not issue a single free pass and struck out four.

Weslyan pounded out 14 hits in the first game and had three crooked-number innings, scoring six in the second, three in the fourth and five more in the sixth as the game was halted one frame early by the mercy rule.

Baseball

West Liberty 3-2

Seton Hill 2-3

GREENSBURG, Pa. – Dillon Mangino’s two-run home run in the top of the sixth in the second game of a West Virginia Conference doubleheader.

Zane Madden got the ball rolling for the Hilltoppers in the top of the fifth when he singled home Mike Johnson with West Liberty’s first run, trimming the margin to 2-1 heading into the sixth.

Derek Daugherty opened the sixth frame by working a walk off Seton Hill starter Brad Schnelle. The fifth base on balls of the game for Schnelle brought Jon Murphy, who was greeted with a two-run blast to give West Liberty a 3-2 lead.

Geneva 11-2

Bethany 4-1

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. Playing just its fourth and fifth games in the last 13 days, Bethany dropped both ends of a doubleheader.

The Bison managed 11 hits in the opener, but only one went for extra bases. Sophomore catcher David Pivik went 3-for-3 with a run scored and Alex Evans and Anthonie Farrar both had two hits.

Brad Kubis homered and Dylan Wassel doubled in Game 2