St. Louis, Mo. 4/29/2022- The Westminster College softball team traveled to St. Louis on Friday to take on the Fontbonne University Griffins in the season finale doubleheader. The Griffins hoped to lock up the regular-season conference title and the Blue Jays were trying to play spoiler on senior night. Fontbonne jumped out to an early lead and would hold off the Blue Jays to win game one 6-3. The Griffins struck early again in game two. However, the Blue Jays responded to cut it to one run and looked to take the lead in the fourth, having the bases loaded and no outs. They would score three runs, but unfortunately, they could not score any more after hitting into a rally-ending double play. The Griffins would score five runs of their own in the bottom half and win it, 12-8.
The Griffins would have a 4-0 lead after three innings. That would change in the top of the fourth when Bailee Zemianek (Wentzville, MO / Holt) hit a one-out double to left. Eva Gannon (Wentzville, Mo. / Holt) would hit her fourth home run of the season by sending the ball over the left-field fence and cutting the Griffin lead in half, making the score, 4-2.
Fontbonne would score again in the bottom of the fourth and the bottom of the sixth. The Blue Jays scored a run in the top of the sixth after back-to-back walks by Kelsey Logan (Fulton, Mo./ South Callaway) and Laney Rosson (Columbia, Mo./ Battle) would load the bases. Zemianek moved up to third. She got on base thanks to an error earlier in the inning. Emily Esquivel (San Diego, Ca. / Eastlake) came up to bat in a pivotal moment of the game. With bases loaded and two outs, she would score Zemianek after a fielder's choice. That would be all the Blue Jays would score and would leave the bases loaded. The Griffins held the Blue Jays to just four hits in the game and won the first game of the doubleheader, 6-3.
Haley Miller (O'Fallon, MO / Liberty) started game one for the Jays. Would go the full six innings, striking out one, and walking four. She gave up six runs on ten hits after throwing 115 pitches in the game.
Gannon, Zemianek, Logan, and Rosson had the four Blue Jay hits. With Gannon hitting the two-run home run and Zemianek hitting the double, she would also score twice in the game.
Game Two was started very similar to game one, with the Griffins jumping out to a four run lead. The Blue Jays cut into the deficit by scoring a run in the top of the third. Kayleigh Fike (Eldon, Mo. / Eldon) hit a double down the left line and would score after Logan singled to right. Fontbonne would score again in the bottom of the third, regaining the four-run lead, going up 5-1.
In the top of the fourth, Raigan Mckee (Oologah, OK / Oologah) reached first after an error by the Griffins. Raegen Dickinson (Ozark, MO / Ozark) walked to put runners on first and second. Kasey Ginder (Kirkwood, Mo. / Kirkwood) also walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning. Zemianek singled to score a run. Gannon singled to center to score two more, bringing the Jays to within one run, 5-4. The Blue Jays now had runners on first and third and still no outs. Fike hit into a fielder's choice, with Fontbonne getting the force out at second. Logan popped out to second and the Griffins threw the runner out trying to get back to first base, ending the Blue Jays rally.
The Griffins responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth, bringing the score to 10-4. The Blue Jays continued to battle. They would score runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh. Esquivel got on first with a one-out single and then would steal second in the top of the fifth. Mckee brought her home with a base hit to right. The Jays continued to chip away at the Griffin lead in the top of the sixth, Ginder singled to left and would move up to second on a ground out. Gannon got a base hit to center, putting runners on first and third with one out. The Blue Jays would score two runs after Fike hit a ball to right field, which resulted in a fielding error by the right fielder. The Blue Jays now trailed 10-7. Fontbonne countered back with two runs in the bottom of the six, bringing the lead up to five runs.
Entering the top of the seventh, down 12-7, The Blue Jays were looking for some late-game magic. Esquivel bunted for a hit. Mckee hit a screamer to right-center field, Esquivel rounding third and heading for home, would be tagged out on a bang-bang play at the plate for the first out of the inning. Dickinson scored Mckee with a single to left. The Griffins shut the door on any comeback the Blue Jays might have had brewing by retiring the next two batters and winning 12-8.
Erin Carr (Woodlawn, Il / Christ Our Rock Lutheran) started game two and pitched all six innings, striking out six with four walks. She would give up seven earned runs on 12 hits.
The Blue Jays end the regular season with a conference record of 8-12 and 10-22 overall. They will be scoreboard watching over the weekend as they wait and see who and where they will play in the first round of the SLIAC tournament, which will begin on Tuesday, May 3rd.