April 27 – BETHANY, W. Va. – Resuming a contest that had been suspended last Thursday, the Bison softball team defeated Grove City College, 9-4, in nine innings on Monday afternoon. The game’s first eight innings were played in Grove City on April 23 before darkness suspended the action.
On Thursday, the Bison and Wolverines were unable to find a winner through seven regulation innings, and needed to play extras.
Bethany opened the scoring in the contest by posting three runs in the top of the third inning. Kiersten Conwell (Washington, Pa./Chartiers Houston) helped her own cause in the frame, producing Bethany’s first hit of the game with a double. The next batter was Jasmine Fuqua, who also doubled, scoring Conwell to give Bethany a 1-0 lead.
After Jessica Kusnierz (New Castle, Pa./Shenango) reached on an error to score Fuqua, back-to-back singles by Kayla Kelly (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) and Deanna Mihalco (Patterson, N.Y./Brewster) brought her around to score, making the tally 3-0 in favor of the Green & White.
Grove City would answer with a big inning of their own in the home half of the third. The Wolverines tallied five hits in the inning including a two-run double by Sarah Morris to give the hosts a 4-3 lead over the Bison after three.
That is where the Wolverine lead would stay through the next three innings as neither team could get another run across. Conwell and Grove City’s Erika Aughton both pitched well in the fourth fifth and sixth inning as the teams combined to total just two hits.
Down to their final out in the seventh inning, Sarah Coss (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara) reached first with a two-out single. Aubrey Baehr (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley) then came in to pinch run for Coss, and the substitution immediately paid off, as Baehr came all the way around to score from first on a double by catcher Marissa Bosley (New Martinsville, W.Va./Magnolia). The run knotted the game at 4-4.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Grove City had a chance to end the game. However, solid pitching by Conwell got two-straight pop ups with runners on first and second, and the game went to extras.
In the eighth inning, the Bison left the bases loaded in the top half of the frame, leaving the door open for Grove City to end the game yet again. More solid pitching by Conwell didn’t allow that to happen as she retired the Wolverines in order in the eighth.
With the contest still tied, the game was suspended due to darkness and the team’s decided to resume play on Monday at Bethany.
When the game resumed today, the Bison wasted little time getting to Grove City pitching as the Green & White posted five runs in the top of the ninth. With two outs in the frame and a runner on, Conwell singled to right field to put two on. Then, Fuqua was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The next batter was Kusnierz, who was also hit by a pitch, driving in what proved to be the game’s winning run.
Brill then walked with the bases loaded to score Conwell before the Bison benefited from back-to-back errors by the Wolverines. The errors allowed three runs to score in the frame, giving the Bison a 9-4 lead.
Bethany then finished off the Wolverines in the ninth inning as Cassie Weiss came into pitch. Weiss gave up a bloop single before retiring the final two batters to wrap up the game with the Bison holding the 9-4 victory.
The win by the Green & White gave the Bison 22 on the year, the most by the team since the 2011 season. More importantly, the Bison finished the regular season 13-5 in conference play, earning the regular season PAC title and hosting rights for the upcoming PAC Championship Tournament.
Bethany will compete for the conference-leading 14th PAC title when the team takes the field for the double-elimination tournament which starts on Friday, May 1 at 10 a.m. The Bison will be the #1 seed and will compete against fourth-seeded St. Vincent College at 12:00 p.m. on Friday. The other contest, which will open tournament play, will be between the third-seeded Presidents of W&J and the second-seeded Saints of Thomas More.