EMU's softball women are off to one of their best starts in program history. The Royals have won their first four games at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The previous best start Eastern Mennonite has had in the last 20 years has been 3-0.
The women have used a great combination of getting of the scoreboard first while using great pitching to limit their opponents' opportunities. Four games in, EMU is out-hitting their opponents .283 to .160.
EMU 4, Hilbert 1
The Royals struck quickly in their first game on Sunday, batting around in their first at-bat. Alexa Sheets (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second and came home on an RBI single from Mariah Foltz (Broadway, Va./Broadway). The Hawks committed an error with two outs, opening the door for a pair of unearned runs as EMU led 3-0 after one.
After a Hilbert run in the top of the second, Sheets led off the bottom of the frame with a single, eventually scoring on a wild pitch. That turned out to be the final run of the game.
Seale went the distance in the circle and struck out nine in throwing a four-hitter.
EMU 7, Penn College 2
The women again scored in their first at-bat, plating two in the top of the first. Foltz had a two-run single in the third and EMU opened up a 5-0 lead.
The Royals led 6-0 by the time pitcher Sydney Reath (Chambersburg, Pa./Mercersburg Academy) gave up her first hit in the bottom of the sixth. Penn put together all three of their hits in that frame and scored their only runs. But EMU got one back in the top of the seventh and Reath worked her fifth 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, closing up the win.
Eastern Mennonite had just six hits but capitalized on three Penn errors. Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) had a pair of hits and scored three runs. Batting in the middle of the order, Foltz, Seale and Sheets each had two RBIs.
Reath got the win, striking out three in the complete game.
EMU 5, Ursinus 2
The women returned to the field on Monday and again scored first with a run on a wild pitch in the first. After Ursinus scored a single run in the top of the second, freshmen Mariann Smith (Hood, Va./Madison County) and Hoskins hit back-to-back RBI doubles to give EMU a 3-1 lead.
The Bears got a solo homer in the third, but Eastern Mennonite put in single runs in the third and fourth innings to produce the final margin.
Hoskins reached base all four times, hitting a double and walking three times. Jones had a pair of hits and Smith scored two runs.
Seale threw the first four innings, striking out five. Reath came in for the final three to get the save.
EMU 5, Gwynedd Mercy 2
For the first time this season, the Royals failed to score in the first inning. The Griffins took advantage with two runs in the bottom of the first, but Cassidey Chrisman (Staunton, Va./Riverheads) got the offense rolling with a two-run single in the second.
Seale hit an RBI double as the women took the lead with two runs in the third. The margin stayed at 4-2 until Reath shot an RBI double in the top of the seventh.
EMU went with the bend-but-don't-break mentality on defense, allowing at least one baserunner in five of the seven innings, but the women also didn't allow another Gwynedd Mercy runner to touch home after the first.
Reath got the win, scattering five hits with five strikeouts in the complete game.
She also had three hits, as did Seale, who scored twice and had an RBI. Foltz was 2-4 with two runs.
Eastern Mennonite has four more games left in North Myrtle Beach, playing Eureka and LaRoche on Tuesday, followed by King's and Cazenovia on Wednesday.