After eight games at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic, Eastern Mennonite's softball women have yet to taste defeat. At 8-0, the Royals are off to the best start to a season in the 38-year history of the EMU program.
Combined with good pitching, the women's offense picked found a rhythm over the final days of the Classic, averaging 6.9 runs per game. The pitching staff holds a combined 2.16 ERA.
The Royals have a break from games after they return from the spring break trip, playing next on Thursday with a doubleheader at Mary Baldwin University First pitch will be at 3:00pm.
EMU 10, Eureka 4
In Tuesday's first game, the teams combined for seven runs in a wild first inning. EMU put up four in the top of the frame, including three with two outs. Savannah Jones (Stanley, Va./Page County) had a two-run double in the rally. Eureka took advantage of three walks to plate three runs, leaving the Royals on top after one, 4-3.
The women loaded the bases with nobody out in the third and touched home twice. They added an unearned run in the fifth to increase the lead to 7-4.
Taylor Hensley (Orange, Va./Orange County) either drove in or scored EMU's three final runs in the 10-4 win.
The Royals pounded 15 hits in the game, as each batter had at least one hit. Mariann Smith (Hood, Va./Madison County), Mariah Foltz (Broadway, Va./Broadway), Jones and Hensley each had two hits and accounted for three runs.
Sydney Reath (Chambersburg, Pa./Mercersburg Academy) entered as pitcher during the second inning and earned the win by allowing only one unearned run in 5.2 innings.
EMU 4, La Roche 3
The game against La Roche was the tightest of the week. EMU broke through in the second, scoring three of their runs, all with two outs, but the women were very limited in the other frames. Smith hit an RBI single in the fourth to score an unearned run for a 4-0 lead.
The Redhawks had at least one hit in each of the first six innings and finally put things together in the bottom of the seventh. Four of the first five batters reached, including a two-run single which got La Roche within one run with just one out. And error put the potential winning run on base, but Reath coaxed out a pair of groundballs to end the threat.
Each team had 10 hits, but EMU only left six on base compared to 11 for the Redhawks. Smith went 3-4 with two RBIs from the leadoff spot. Reath and Jones each had a pair of hits and a run scored.
Lauren Seale (Madison, Va./Madison County) pitched into the seventh inning and earned the win.
EMU 9, King's 3
Foltz ripped an RBI double in the top of the first to push the women up, but King's answered with a two-run single in the bottom of the frame, putting the Royals in a rare deficit.
But Eastern Mennonite responded. Seale drove in two with a double in the third, bumping them in front, 3-2. In the fifth, Reath cleared a bases loaded opportunity with a triple. The sophomore added a two-run double in the sixth as EMU scored six runs in the two innings to blow open a 9-2 lead.
Reath ended up pacing the offense and the defense, striking out six in a complete game effort from the circle. At the plate she finished a homer shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
Beck Hoskins (Danville, Va./Westover Christian Academy) went 2-3 with a walk, scoring three times. As the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters, Foltz and Seale combined to bat 4-for-6 with two walks, accounting for five runs scored and three RBIs.
EMU 11, Cazenovia 3 – 6 innings
The offense kept in high gear in the final game in South Carolina. After falling behind 3-0 after three, the Royals exploded in the top of the fourth. Jones and Alexa Sheets (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) started things with back-to-back singles and the Wildcats opened the door with a two-out error, allowing both runners to score. Three straight hits and another error later, EMU had plated six runs to jump ahead.
The women scored another unearned run in the fifth, and then put the mercy-shortened game away with four runs in the sixth. Jones and Sheets each had a two-run hit in that frame.
Sheets led the offense with a perfect 4-4 day, scoring twice and driving in two more. Jones had two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Foltz and Seale each had two runs and an RBI.
Seale struck out six in 3.0 innings in the circle. Sheets threw a scoreless 3.0 to close up the game.