Softball Women Erase Deficit Before Falling In Extra Innings

Danielle Brenneman came home four times in game two against Emory & Henry. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Danielle Brenneman came home four times in game two against Emory & Henry. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's softball women erased a five-run deficit to force extra innings in Saturday's ODAC doubleheader with Emory & Henry, but the visiting Wasps eventually won 11-9, securing a sweep.

The losses drop Eastern Mennonite to 11-7 on the season and 1-3 in the conference. The women step back onto Gehman Field on Sunday, hosting Guilford College at 1:00pm.

Emory & Henry 7, EMU 0
The Royals escaped damage early in the game by getting inning-ending doubleplays in the first and second, but Emory & Henry (11-8/4-0 ODAC) broke loose in the third. The visitors put together four hits with an EMU error to throw up a four-spot for a big lead. The offense, meanwhile was limited to one baserunner through the first three frames.

Eastern Mennonite started to generate a little more offense, culminating in the bottom of the sixth when they loaded the bases with nobody out. But a force out at home, followed by two shallow fly balls left the bases packed in EMU's best scoring opportunity.

The Wasps tacked on a single run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to produce the final 7-0 margin.

Nicole Mongold (Page County, Va./Page County) had two of EMU's three hits. McKenzie Reams (Gouchland, Va./Gouchland) had the other.

Alia Miller (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) started in the circle, but took the loss after giving up four runs in 2.1 innings. Skylar Hedgepeth (Smithfield, Va./Smithfield) was the most effective pitcher, throwing a scoreless seventh in her first appearance this year.

Emory & Henry 11, EMU 9 – 8 inn.
The Wasps started game two on a similar foot, bringing home two runs in the top of the first. But EMU quickly settled down and finally got things moving in the third inning.

Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) unassumingly started the rally when she was plunked by a pitch with one out. After walks to Danielle Brenneman (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) and Mongold, the women had the bases loaded. Unlike the first game, this time the bats came through. Miller drove a ball to center, tying the score at 2-2 with her two-run double. The Royals couldn't bring in any more in the frame, but they proved they could play with Emory & Henry, a team picked No. 3 in the ODAC Preseason Poll.

After a scoreless fourth, the Wasps strung together five hits to plate five more runs for a sudden 7-2 lead.

But the Royals didn't back down. Brenneman led off their half of the fifth with a walk and Mongold got a hit, with heads up base running putting both in scoring position. Brenneman scored on a sacrifice fly from Miller and Kelsi Martin (Buena Vista, Va./Parry McCluer) knocked in Mongold with a single to cut the margin to 7-4.

Then in the sixth, senior Casey Colman (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Knolls) led off with a rocket double to right center and an infield error put runners on the corners. Brenneman chased home both runners with a beautifully placed double down the right field line, and then she scored from third to tie it at 7-7 when Miller laid down a perfect squeeze bunt.

Emory & Henry looked for a last ditch rally in the seventh after a one-out single, but the Royals got out of the inning with a strike-her-out-throw-her-out double play. Coleman helped EMU make some noise in their half of the frame with a replay of her opposite field double, but this time it came with two outs and a grounder left her stranded and sent the game to extra innings.

The Wasps made quick work of their runner at second with a leadoff triple, taking the lead. A single and two errors later, the visitors had an 11-7 cushion.

Brenneman's leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth chased in Hoskins and the last-ditch rally was on. Brenneman scored after an error on Kelsi Martin's two-out single, but that would be it as a grounder to short cut off the comeback.

EMU put together 10 hits in the nightcap, as both the hit and run totals were the second highest total Emory & Henry had allowed in a game this year.

Brenneman had an incredible effort, finishing 3-3 at the plate with two walks. The sophomore scored four times and had three RBIs, accounting for seven of EMU's nine runs. Hoskins scored three runs and Miller finished with four RBIs.

Coleman batted 3-4, including two doubles.

Kelsi Martin had two hits. She was also the starting pitcher for EMU, and returned for the final two frames. The lefty was charged with all of EHC's runs in 6.1 innings of work. Hedgepeth and Katelin Martin (Gouchland, Va./Gouchland) combined to throw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.