Offense Gets Going As Lady Royals Stay Alive To Face BC

Offense Gets Going As Lady Royals Stay Alive To Face BC

The Eastern Mennonite softball team has been in the ODAC Tournament championship game each of the past two years taking two different routes each time. In 2009, the Lady Royals lost their first game and advanced through the losers' bracket before finishing as runner-up. Last year, EMU won four straight games to sweep to the title for the second time in program history.

For the women to make it three straight trips to the title game, they would need to repeat the route from 2009, which would mean the need for three wins Friday in Salem, Va. That journey started with a late morning game against seventh-seeded Lynchburg as the Lady Royals finally got their bats going in a 6-4 win.

The Hornets took the first lead, getting a two-run homerun and an RBI single in the bottom of the second. The four hits chased starting pitcher Molly Smith (Elkton, Va./Spotswood) and brought in ace Lisa Lee (Buckingham, Va./Buckingham County), and LC led 3-0 after two.

The Lady Royals got their offense going in the top of the third when Sara Jenkins (Stanley, Va./Page County) led off with a double. High school teammate Megan Viafora (Stanley, Va./Page County) followed with a single and stole second, putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

Brooke Hensley (Elkton, Va./Spotswood) dropped down a bunt single to bring in one run, and Viafora also came in when the third baseman threw wildly to first. Hensley was left stranded on third, but EMU trimmed the lead to 3-2.

The women took the lead in the fourth when Courtney Allman (Weyers Cave, Va./Fort Defiance) led off with a single. A sacrifice fly from Jenkins tied it and an RBI single from Viafora plated a second run to put EMU up 4-3.

The offense kept rolling in the fifth. Lee reached on an error and stole second. Smith followed with a single and also stole second. A sacrifice fly from Allman brought in Lee, and Smith scored on a two-out triple from Rasheeda Crews (Brookneal, Va./William Campbell) as the lead grew to 6-3.

Lee escaped a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth. The women committed a pair of errors in the sixth, but Lee coaxed out a pop-up and ended the threat with a strikeout.

The Hornets got a leadoff single in their last at-bat and scored a run on a two-out EMU error, but Lee got a pop-up to end the game as the top-seeded Lady Royals stayed alive with the 6-4 win.

Viafora led the 11-hit attack, as she went 3-3 and stole two bases. The junior also scored a run and drove in another. Crews and Allman each finished with a pair of hits. Jenkins finished 1-2 with her double and RBI sacrifice fly.

Although the women hit well, they struggled in the field, committing six errors. Lee pitched the final 5-1/3 innings as she allowed just one unearned run and improved to 19-7. Smith was charged with three runs over her 1-1/3 innings.

Eastern Mennonite, now 27-12, continues in the losers' bracket at the ODAC Tournament and will play rival Bridgewater College later Friday at 5:00pm. The second-seeded Eagles also lost their first-round game and have stayed alive with back-to-back wins.