April 14 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College softball team put together two solid performances in a twin bill with Geneva College, sweeping both games of a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon. The Bison first defeated the Golden Tornadoes 5-2 in game one, before grabbing a 3-1 victory in the second contest.
In game one, the Bethany offense did enough to back up a solid pitching performance by senior Kelsey Bish (Landsiville, Pa./Hempfield) as the Bison walked away with a 5-2 victory. Bethany wasted no time to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Ashlee Brill (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) reached base on a bunt single, and was moved to second on a single by Kayla Kelly (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame). After Deanna Mihalco (Patterson, N.Y./Brewster) turned a 1-2 count into a full-count walk to load the bases, the Bison plated two runs on a throwing error by the Geneva pitcher to give Bethany a 2-0 advantage.
Geneva did their only damage in the contest in the top of the third inning as the Golden Tornadoes used a walk, two singles, and some solid baserunning to capture two runs and knot the game at 2-2.
Following the third inning, Bish went into lock-down mode, retiring 12 of the next 14 batters she faced, while not allowing a hit over the final four innings of work. Backing up the solid effort by the senior hurler, the Green & White posted singular runs in each the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Marissa Bosley (New Martinsville, W. Va./New Martinsville) scored the lone run in the fourth on a RBI double by Jessica Kusnierz (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) to retake the lead for the Bison, 3-2.
In the fifth inning, Kayla Kelly got herself into scoring position after singling to center and stealing second on the very next pitch. The next batter was Mihalco, who singled through the right side to score Kelly and extend the advantage to 4-2.
In the home half of the sixth, Kadie Kelly (Royal Oak, Md./St. Michaels) got in on the action, opening the frame with a double to right field. After a groundout moved her to third, Brill singled her home on the first pitch she saw. Kelly proved to be the games final run as Bish worked a perfect seventh to preserve the 5-2 win for the Green & White.
Bethany would then receive another solid performance from their pitching staff in the second game to help capture their second conference series sweep with a 3-1 win in game two.
Just like in game one, the Bison proved to be the aggressors, posting the first run of the game in the home half of the first. With two outs in the inning, Kayla Kelly roped a double to left field on a 1-1 count to put herself into scoring position. Three pitches later, she crossed the plate on Mihalco’s second RBI single of the day, giving Bethany a 1-0 lead.
Geneva would respond once again in the next half inning, using a sacrifice fly from Clara Sevy to score Megan Davis and tie the game at 1-1. However, the contest would not stay tied for long.
In the bottom half of the second, the Green & White would once again answer the call as Kadie Kelly roped a RBI single into center field to score Bosley who had reached base on a walk. The score put the Bison ahead for good, 2-1.
Following the Bison’s score in the bottom of the second, senior Kiersten Conwell (Washington, Pa./Chartiers Houston) had to work herself out of a jam in the third inning. After getting the first batter to pop out to short, Conwell gave up a double to center. Then, after a groundout, Geneva drew two walks to load the bases. Conwell pitched well however, getting Sam Johnson to ground out harmlessly to short to end the inning. That inning would mark the last time Geneva would even get a runner past second base.
Freshman Cassie Weiss (Washington, Pa./McGuffey) came in for Conwell in the top of the fourth inning, and proceeded to work efficiently, setting down the Golden Tornadoes in order in the fourth. Following that half inning, the Bison would add an insurance run as Kadie Kelly singles home Emili Garretson (Winfield, W.Va./Winfield) to put Bethany up 3-1.
Weiss allowed just three base runners over the final three innings as the Green & White held on for the 3-1 victory to earn their first sweep since March 29.
Combined, Conwell and Weiss performed well in the pitching circle, allowing just four hits in seven total innings while striking out six batters. Weiss worked solidly in relief, earning a four-inning save while giving up just two hits and walking two. She also struck out four Geneva hitters to earn her first-career save.
Offensively, Kadie Kelly led the way, driving in two of the team’s three runs while going 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles. Brill and Kayla Kelly each totaled two hits in the contest, while Mihalco posted the team’s other RBI while going 1-for-3 at the plate.
In the double header, the Bison’s two, three and four hitters (Brill, Kayla Kelly and Mihalco) combined to hit 10-of-20 at the plate with four RBI and four runs scored. Added to their totals from their previous series against Thiel, the trio has hit 17-31 (.548) with 10 RBI and ten runs scored.
Kayla Kelly has been on another level for the Green & White since returning from the team’s spring break trip to Clermont, Fla. With two multi-hit games today, the junior has now posted at least two hits in 10 of her last 11 games while adding 12 RBI and seven extra-base hits. Because of her solid play, Kelly has ballooned her batting average from .281 on March 13 to a .449 just one month later.
The Green & White will be back in action on Wednesday, April 15, when the team travels to New Concord, Ohio to compete in a non-conference contest with Muskingum University. The doubleheader is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start.