Bevy of hitters, strike-throwing pitchers launch softball Rams
After registering consecutive doubleheader sweeps of Bloomsburg last weekend, the Rams had a significant number of offensive luminaries and game-winning pitchers that helped spotlight a rhythmic eight-game winning streak.
Experienced hitters Nicole Purtell (hitting .519), Allison Baker (showing a .481 batting average), Ashley Burger (sailing along with a .406 average and 11 RBIs), Leann Brown (checking in with a .361 average), Cameron Davis (starting the season well at .353 with 10 RBIs), Kyla Condon (getting off to a .300 average) and Tori Seymour (contributing enough with her .259 average) have consistently provided enough runs for pitchers Katie Laing (3-0 record, 0.64 ERA, three starts), Cheyenne Van Pelt (2-1 record, 1.87 ERA, three starts), Sarah Lamper (3-0 record, 2.72 ERA and three starts) and Hannah Ruffner (2-0 record, 1.00 ERA and two starts).
Getting the best of traction in its early-conference games has made the Rams 6-0 in the PSAC. The team had a scheduled conference doubleheader at Mansfield just two days ago, and had already swept the Mountaineers at Sara Cree Field in Shepherdstown.
Last Saturday, the Rams had twin wins of 9-1 and 6-2 over the struggling Huskies, now 1-5 overall. The 9-1 success was ended after six innings because of softball’s eight-run rule.
Purtell reached base six times in the sweep. Baker was 3-for-3 in the first game and drove in two runs.
A six-run second inning in the opener initially shocked the Huskies and allowed the Rams to sail through the last several innings.
Van Pelt allowed only four hits and three walks while limiting Bloomsburg to just one earned run.
Rams’ pitcher Hannah Ruffner, a freshman from Washington High, was able to post five shutout innings in her start in Saturday’s nightcap win. She successfully spaced seven hits, walked only one and fanned four.
Shepherd began its dealings with Bloomsburg on March 12 with a doubleheader sweep, winning by scores of 11-2 and 4-0 to continue along unbeaten in the East Division of the PSAC.
Unearned runs, a demoralizing seventh-inning walk that led directly to Bloomsburg’s 10-9 win and being blanked, 5-0, in the fourth game of its four-game, weekend series against the Huskies left Shepherd’s baseball team with a disappointing 1-3 record to finally get its season underway.
Playing at home on Fairfax Field on March 12, the Rams split a doubleheader versus Bloomsburg. Several unearned runs were the culprits that harmed Shepherd in a 6-4 loss in its first game of the season. Steve Bowley was Shepherd’s pitcher of record in a 6-1 win that saw catcher Andrew Edwards contribute a two-run home run and Joey Schwartz also homered. Bowley went five scoreless innings in helping the Rams divide the two games played on March 12.
The next afternoon at Danny Litwhiler Field in Bloomsburg, the Rams wasted their four-run rally in the top of the seventh that saw them overcome a 9-5 deficit and tie the game. After seeing its lead disappear to walks and a two-run infield error, Bloomsburg answered right back in the bottom of the seventh when Rams’ pitcher Eric O’Brien issued a leadoff walk on a 3-2 pitch. O’Brien was eventually replaced and a pinch runner stole second base and rode home with the game-deciding run on a no-out single.
Bloomsburg took no chances with any late-game scoring antics from the Rams when it secured a 5-0 win behind pitcher Nick Stoner in the nightcap, giving the Huskies a three games-to-one advantage in the consecutive conference twinbills.
Caleb Walls (7-for-14), Easy Goita (3-for-6 overall) and Cole Daugherty (4-for-9) were Shepherd’s leading hitters against the Huskies.