Royals End Regular Season With Split At No. 9 Messiah

Catcher Alexa Sheets had three hits on the day, adding a run and RBI. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Catcher Alexa Sheets had three hits on the day, adding a run and RBI. (photo by Scott Eyre)

The Royals are heading into the postseason on a big note after earning a split at No. 9 Messiah College on Wednesday. The non-conference decision puts the softball women at 22-14 as they enter a nine-day lull in the schedule before the ODAC Tournament starts on April 28.

At 9-11 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, Eastern Mennonite is locked into the No. 7 seed in the eight-team double elimination field.

Wednesday's win over the Falcons not only gave EMU their first win over a ranked opponent this season, while also breaking a seven-game losing streak.

No. 9 Messiah 3, EMU 1
In the opener, the Royals got back-to-back leadoff hits from Beck Hoskins and Alexa Sheets (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby), but a double play stopped things short.

Messiah, meanwhile, used a pair of triples in the bottom of the frame to jump in front 2-0.

Michaela Nichols (Luray, Va./Luray) singled to start a two-out rally in the second. Three straight walks brought her home, with Hoskins earning an RBI on the final free pass to cut the margin in half. But the Royals managed only three more baserunners the rest of the game.

The Falcons added an unearned run in the fifth to produce the final score.

EMU had five hits and four walks in the game, compared to six hits and one walk for Messiah. Hoskins was the only batter to reach twice, getting a single and walk.

Only two of the runs against pitcher Lauren Seale (Madison, Va./Madison County) were earned as she fell to 8-7.

EMU 4, No. 9 Messiah 2
The Falcons carried the momentum in the nightcap, hitting the scoreboard with a homerun and RBI double in the first.

After going down in order in the first two frames, Nichols got the Royals going with a leadoff walk in the third. Cassidey Chrisman (Staunton, Va./Riverheads) singled and Taylor Hensley (Orange, Va./Orange County) moved the runners up with a sacrifice. Hoskins brought in the first run with an RBI groundout, and Sheets smacked a single to score the second, tying the score at 2-2.

EMU put two runners on in the fourth, before striking again in the fifth, aided by a trio of Messiah errors. With one out and runners on second and third, Mariah Foltz (Broadway, Va./Broadway) put a ball back to pitcher. The Falcons' pitcher threw home, but it got away, and both runners ended up scoring, putting the Royals in front, 4-2.

Messiah made some noise in the bottom of the frame, but a heads up move by pitcher Sydney Reath (Chambersburg, Pa./Mercersburg Academy) cut down a baserunner at third. The play ended up saving a run as the Falcons got a two-out double, and left runners stranded on second and third.

Hoskins singled in the seventh for the only baserunner by either team over the final two innings, as Reath retired the final seven Falcons in order.

Reath scattered six hits for the complete game win, improving to 11-5.

Sheets was the only batter from either side with multiple hits, as she finished 2-4 with a run and RBI. Hoskins also had a run and RBI.