April 25 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College softball team continued their hot streak, posting wins number seven and eight in row as the Bison took both games from Washington & Jefferson College on a senior day double header at the Bethany softball diamond. The Bison rode the momentum of a seven-run first inning to a 10-6 win in game one, before utilizing late game heroics in a 7-4 victory in game two.
In the first contest, Washington & Jefferson jumped out to the lead first, grabbing a pair of runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Bethany would have the answer, however, sending 11 batters to the plate in the home half of the first, collecting seven runs on just four hits to break open a five-run lead.
The first three batters for the Bison all reached base as Jessica Kusnierz (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. After a bunt single by Ashlee Brill (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) and a walk issued to Kayla Kelly (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) loaded the bases, junior Deanna Mihalco (Patterson, N.Y./Brewster) unloaded the bases with a three-RBI double, quickly giving Bethany a 3-2 lead with no one out in the frame.
Two batters later, Sara Coss (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara) brought home Mihalco with a single to right field. A walk issued to Marissa Bosley (New Martinsville, W. Va./Magnolia) put runners on second and third with one out still in the frame. Junior T.J. Solomon (Beltsville, Md./Elizabeth Seton) then came up to bat and uncorked a three-run home run over the left-center field fence to expand the lead to 7-2. The homer marked the first of Solomon’s career.
Washington & Jefferson would add three runs in the fourth inning and were threatening to add more with the bases loaded in the frame. Freshman Cassie Weiss (Washington, Pa./McGuffey) then came into pitch in relief and, with the bases full of Presidents’, got the next batter to strike out, ending the threat with the Bison still holding a 7-5 advantage.
The Bison would add a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting RBI from Emili Garretson (Winfield, W. Va./Winfield), Coss and Solomon to expand the lead to 10-5. With the bases loaded, Garretson singled home Brill for the first run of the inning. Coss then grounded out to short, scoring Kayla Kelly, before a sacrifice fly from Solomon allowed Mihalco to score, accounting for the three tallies in the frame.
Washington & Jefferson would get one run back in the top of the seventh, but that is as close as the Presidents’ would get as the Bison earned the 10-6 victory.
With the game one win, the Green & White earned a spot in the upcoming Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship tournament for the second year in a row.
Offensively, Solomon and Mihalco led the way for the Green & White. Solomon went 1-1 at the plate with a home run, three sacrifice hits and four RBI. Mihalco posted three RBI and two runs scored, while Coss posted a pair of RBI in the win.
Weiss earned a 3.1-inning save in the contest as she allowed just one run on one hit while striking out six Presidents in the process. Conwell earned the victory in the game, pushing her season record to 5-1 on the year.
In game two, the Bison found themselves behind the eight ball early as W&J posted four runs in the opening frame to take a 4-0 advantage.
Not to be deterred, however, the Green & White began to chip away at the lead. The Bison played “small ball” to get their first run as Kusnierz singled up the middle to lead off the inning. Brill then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to second, before a Kayla Kelly single brought her home to cut the W&J advantage to 4-1.
In the second inning, Solomon proved that the first time wasn’t a fluke, homering for the second time in as many games. With Bosley standing on first after reaching on a fielder’s choice, Solomon homered to straight-away center, bouncing a 1-0 count off the top of the outfield fence and over to cut the lead to 4-3 in favor of the visitors.
After Weiss stranded four Presidents on base over the next two innings, which included getting a bases-loaded strikeout to end the threat in the third, the Bison notched the tying run without recording a hit in the fourth. Coss led off the frame with a four-pitch walk, and pinch runner Aubrey Baehr (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley) was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bosley. Following a wild pitch that moved Baehr to third, Solomon knocked home her fourth RBI of the day, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Baehr to tie the game.
The game would remain tied until the bottom of the sixth inning. Garretson got the rally started with a single to center. Then, with two outs in the frame, Bosley doubled to right-center field, scoring pinch runner Sam Newfrock (Endwell, N.Y./Endicott) to give the Green & White the 5-4 advantage. Following an infield single by Solomon, senior Kadie Kelly (Royal Oak, Md./St. Michaels) emptied the bases with a two-run double to right-center field to give the Bison a three-run cushion, 7-4.
Senior pitcher Kelsey Bish (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield), who came in in relief of Weiss in the sixth inning, allowed just one hit in the top of the seventh inning before slamming the door on W&J, giving the Bison their eighth win in a row.
On the mound, Bish earned the win, entering the game in the sixth inning and allowing just two singles and no earned runs while striking out two batters.
Offensively, Solomon finished off her career day, going 2-for-2 at the dish with a home run and three RBI. Overall in the doubleheader, Solomon totaled three hits, two home runs and accounted for seven of the team’s 17 RBI on the day.
Kusnierz helped lead the way in the contest, going 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored, while Brill also totaled a multi-hit game with two hits and a RBI.
Before the doubleheader, the five senior Bison playing in their final home doubleheader at the Bethany softball diamond were honored, including Bish, Conwell, Kusnierz, Kadie Kelly and Garretson.
The doubleheader sweep of the Presidents, couple with a split between Thomas More and St. Vincent, puts the Green & White just percentage points behind the Saints for the top spot in the conference. The Bison still have to finish their contest with Grove City College from last week which was suspended in extra innings due to darkness.
If the Bison can come away with a victory in the resumed contest with the Wolverines, the Green & White will earned the PAC’s top seed and hosting rights for the upcoming PAC Championship Tournament.