The Fort Lewis College softball team picked up its first win of the 2020 campaign under first-year head coach Ashley Reeves on Friday, as the Skyhawks split a doubleheader at the Courtyard Classic in St. George, Utah.
The Skyhawks (1-2) beat Notre Dame de Namur 11-2 in Game 1 but were unable to hold onto a lead in a 7-5 loss in Game 2 against Western New Mexico.
“I felt that today was a good example of what our offense can do,” Reeves said. “We came out super aggressive, were finding the gaps and hitting well. It was good to get the bottom of our lineup playing well because it makes everyone else feel a bit more relaxed. As for our pitching in Game 2, I thought we issued far too many walks, and when I pulled my starter, we let the game get away from us.”
In Game 1 against the Argonauts (1-2), Fort Lewis got its offense rolling in the top of the third inning with five runs and added six more in the fourth to secure the win. In the pitching circle, Emily Morris earned her first win of the season with three shutout innings. She gave up two runs on five hits and struck out one. Kassidy Trumbo and Kendall Rauk each came in to pitch an inning. Rauk closed it out in the fifth and struck out one.
FLC got its runs early, as Brianna Leavell smacked a double down the left field line to score Hannah Gondini to make it 1-0. McKenna Hefley doubled to left-center field to score Kelly Decker and Kaitlyn Barlow to make it 3-0. Kylie Hefley then hit a double to left field to score her sister, and Kylie would score on a wild pitch to make it 5-0. In the fourth, FLC added a sixth run on a sacrifice fly from Taylor Hollestelle. Mackenzie Parks then singled down the left field line to score Gondini, and Parks scored on a passed ball. Kylie Hefley hit a single to score Parks and McKenna Hefley to make it 10-0. With the bases loaded, Hannah Gondini was hit by a pitch, which walked in Kylie Hefley to make it 11-0.
The Argonauts (1-2) responded in the bottom of the fourth when Lauryn Zabat singled to score a run, and she would go on to score on a throwing error.
In Game 2 against the Mustangs (3-4), Fort Lewis pitchers issued 10 walks, which allowed the Mustangs to come back for the win. FLC scored all five runs in the bottom of the second inning but were unable to hold onto a 5-2 lead. Mustangs pitcher Jalyn McClain recorded her first win of the season, as she pitched six innings, gave up five hits, one run and struck out three to earn the win.
After the Mustangs scored two in the first two innings, McKenna Hefley opened FLC’s scoring with a single to left field and advanced to second on the throw. She scored Kaitlyn Barlow to cut the lead to 2-1. Taylor Beaman doubled down the line for a two-run RBI single to give FLC a 3-2 lead. Hollestelle then singled and advanced to second on an errant throw to score two more and make it 5-2.
In the third, the Mustangs cut the lead to one run after Kaila Burnett and Miranda Simjan both walked to make it 5-4. Grisdey Paredes-Alvarez tied the game at 5-5 on a sacrifice fly. The Mustangs took the lead for good in the fourth when Burnett doubled to left-center field to drive in the game-winning runs. McClain closed the game, allowing just two hits in the final three innings. Fort Lewis’ Kelly Decker picked up the loss after she went 2/3 of an inning and gave up two runs on two hits and struck out one batter.
“I think we’re still figuring out who we are as a team,” Reeves said. “I was super proud to get the win, and even in the second game, we came out swinging. We are still figuring out who works best where on the field. I am pleased with the potential and think we just have to keep building confidence.”
The Skyhawks will end the tournament with a double-header on Saturday, as they will face Montana State University-Billings (5-3) at 10 a.m. and Northwest Nazarene (4-2) at 3 p.m. in St. George.