Fulton, Mo. 4/16/2022- The Westminster College softball team hosted the Spalding University Golden Eagles for a conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays on the heels of a six-game losing streak looked to get things back on track with the SLIAC tournament coming into view. The Golden Eagles looked to solidify a top-two seed in the tournament. The Blue Jay fans in attendance and watching at home were in for a great day of softball. There were a lot of long balls and runs scored between the conference foes. Westminster would snap their losing streak in game one, winning 8-6 in a game that they controlled the entire way but was made interesting late by the Golden Eagles. The high scoring continued into the second game of the day with the game tied 8-8 after seven innings. The game would head into extra innings, and Spalding would score two runs in the top of the eighth to give them a 10-8 lead. The Blue Jays would score one run in the bottom of the inning but would leave the tying run on second base. The Golden Eagles would win it 10-9 and improve to 14-12 overall, 8-4 in conference play. The Blues Jays are now 5-17 overall and 3-7 in conference play.
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 3-0 lead, scoring three runs in the second inning. Kasey Ginder (Kirkwood, Mo. / Kirkwood) would get the party started by drawing a one-out walk. Ginder then stole second base. Abbey Jaspering (Wright City, Mo. / Wright City) would reach second on an error by the left fielder and Ginder moved up to third base. Eva Gannon (Wentzville, Mo. / Holt) would get on first via an error on the centerfielder. Ginder would score on the play, giving the Jays a 1-0 lead. Janae Shirk (Springfield, Mo. / Pleasant Hope) would come in to pinch run for Jaspering. Kelsey Logan (Fulton, Mo./ South Callaway) stepped to the plate and hit a ground ball to the shortstop, who could not make the play cleanly, and everyone would be safe, loading the bases for Laney Rosson (Columbia, Mo. / Battle). Rosson would reach on a fielder's choice after the Golden Eagles got the force out at third base. Shirk would score on the play, putting the Jays up 2-0. Logan would also advance to second base. Emily Esquivel (San Diego, Ca. / Eastlake) hit a single to right field and scored Logan, putting her team up 3-0. The inning would end on a fly-out to centerfield.
The Golden Eagles would get on the board at the top of the third inning, scoring one run after hitting a double. Followed up by a single to centerfield and a fielder's choice to score the run.
The Blue Jays would strike again in the bottom of the fourth. Jaspering drew a lead-off walk. Gannon followed up with a single. Maddie Marrero (Columbia, Mo. / Rock Bridge) pinch ran for Jaspering. Logan laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up to second and third. Rosson would score Marrero on a groundout to the shortstop, giving Westminster a 4-1 lead.
Spalding would score again in the top of the fifth after a leadoff triple, bringing the score to 4-2.
The bottom of the fifth saw the Blue Jays blow the game open, scoring four runs in the half-inning. Raigan Mckee (Oologah, OK / Oologah) was hit by a pitch to start. Raegen Dickinson (Ozark, MO / Ozark) would hit a single to centerfield. Bailee Zemianek (Wentzville, MO / Holt) would get walked to load the bases. Tatum Bradshaw (Winfield, MO / Winfield) would come in to pinch run for Dickinson. Marrero followed up with a single to centerfield scoring Bradshaw. Gannon would follow suit with a single to left, scoring Zemianek. Logan then hit a double to center, bringing in Marrero. When the inning ended, the Blue Jays had a commanding 8-2 lead.
The Golden Eagles would get two runs back in the top of the sixth, closing the gap to four runs. They would hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh, cutting it two at 8-6. Things would get interesting after that. The Golden Eagles would single and draw a walk to put runners on first and second and one out. The runner at second would be called out for leaving the base early for the second out of the inning. The game would end on a deep fly ball to left field that would be hauled in by Esquivel to win it! Ending a six-game losing streak.
Haley Miller (O'Fallon, MO / Liberty) got the start in this one and pitched an absolute gem in her young career. She pitched a complete game, giving up eight hits and four earned runs, six runs total. She would strike out four and walk four. Two of those walks came in the first inning. She would settle in after that and hold the Golden Eagles to just one run on three hits in the first four innings of the game. She would need lots of ice after the game after throwing 117 pitches!
Gannon led the Blue Jays going two for three with three RBIs. Ginder and Marrero would score two runs each.
After a quick break, Spalding wasted no time in game two, scoring three runs in the opening frame. They would score again at the top of the second, putting the Blue Jays in an early 4-0 deficit. Things were looking bleak for the Blue Jays faithful as they were held scoreless through the first three innings.
That all changed at the bottom of the fourth. Gannon would hit a single to left. Kayleigh Fike (Eldon, Mo. / Eldon) would pinch run for Gannon. Jaspering would draw a walk and Marrero would pinch run for her. Zemianek would rope a single to centerfield scoring Fike. Logan would walk to load the bases. Rosson would reach on an error by the shortstop, scoring Marrero and keeping the bases loaded. Esquivel would fly out to the left fielder for the second out of the inning, but it would not be deep enough to advance the runners. Mckee then would hit a single between the shortstop and third. Zemianek and Logan would score tying the game at 4-4.
Westminster would take the lead in the top of the fifth after Ginder drew a lead-off walk. Gannon would advance the runner on a groundout too short. Ginder would move up the third on a wild pitch. Jaspering would hit a sac fly to right and score Ginder, giving her team their first lead of the game at 5-4
Spalding would respond, scoring three runs in the top of the sixth, taking the lead back 8-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, Mckee got on base after a one-out single. Then Dickinson would step up to the plate. She blasted a home run over the fence in left-center field, cutting the lead to one at 8-7. Ginder followed that up with a single to centerfield. She would get out at second on a fielder's choice by Gannon. Jaspering then hit a double to right, scoring Gannon and tying the game at 8-8! Zemianek also hit a double to left. The Golden Eagles would get the ball back in quickly, holding Jaspering at third. With runners on second and third, 2 outs, Logan came up to bat. She hit a ball to right field, and it was hooking towards the foul line. The Golden Eagles' right fielder would make a great catch to end the inning.
Neither team would get anything going in the seventh, forcing the game into extra innings.
With the new extra innings rule, the Golden Eagles would start the top of the eighth with a runner on second base. They would hit a double to center field, scoring the runner from second. The runner would advance to third on a passed ball. Then would score on a sacrifice fly to center going up 10-8.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Blue Jays would put Mckee on second and Dickinson up to bat to start the inning. She would hit a sacrifice fly to right field and move Mckee up to third. Ginder singled to left and scored Mckee. Ginder would advance to second after a misplay by the Spalding left fielder. With a runner on second and one out, the Blue Jays would hit back-to-back groundouts to the shortstop to end the game. The Golden Eagles win it 10-9 in eight innings.
Erin Carr (Woodlawn, Il / Christ Our Rock Lutheran) got the start in game two. She would pitch five innings and a third. She walked five batters, gave up eight runs, and four earned on eleven hits.
Zemianek would come in to pitch the final two and a half innings. She struck out one and gave up two runs on two hits.
Zemianek also had a good day at the plate. She went four for four with an RBI and a run scored.
Mckee and Rosson went two for five. Mckee had two RBIs and two runs scored. Rosson had an RBI. Dickinson went one for four, but it was the big two-run home run. Jaspering went one for two with two RBIs and two walks.
The Blue Jays are back on the field on Tuesday, April 19th when they welcome the Principia College Panthers for an afternoon doubleheader. The first game is set for 3:00 p.m. There is some weather in the forecast for Fulton in the next couple of days. Check the Westminster athletics social media accounts for any updates.