Beeler, Brown, Purtell, Seymour slay Red Raiders in Shepherd sweep
Playing at home at friendly Sara Cree Field, Shepherd posted 12-6 and 16-4 wins on March 20, to stay just ahead of the Golden Rams of West Chester.
A pair of five-run innings boosted the Rams and pitcher Sarah Lamper (then 4-0). Hannah Beeler (2-for-2 with two runs scored), Leanne Brown (2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored), Nicole Purtell (home run) and Tori Seymour (two RBIs) were Shepherd’s offensive leaders. A nine-run fourth inning helped the Rams end the nightcap on the mercy rule. Purtell was 3-for-4 and Isabella Forte was 3-for-3, while Cameron Davis, Alex Mantz and Ashley Burger all contributed two-hit games. Shepherd had 18 hits in only four turns.
At Shippensburg on March 21, the Rams had to grind out 5-2 and 5-4 wins to complete a 4-0 weekend blitz of the Red Raiders.
Shippensburg held a 1-0 lead going to the sixth inning of the opener. A five-run sixth inning saved the Rams. Beeler was 2-for-2, while scoring a run and driving in a run. Laing, in relief of starter Cheyenne Van Pelt, went the final 5.2 innings to get her fifth win.
Seymour’s three-run homer in the third lifted Shepherd to a 5-0 lead in the nightcap. The Red Raiders steadily chewed away at the lead, but fell one run short. Seymour went 2-for-3, while driving in three runs and scoring twice. Beeler was 2-for-3 for another contributory game. Hannah Ruffner was the complete-game winner for the Rams, when she got the last out with the tying run on base.
After its first 15 games, the Shepherd team batting average is .353, with Purtell showing a .475 average.
Joey Schwartz was virtually the face of the March 20 doubleheader for the Rams, where the Shepherd and Shippensburg baseball teams split conference games. Schwartz batted five times in Shepherd’s 11-3 win, but did not have an official at-bat with his many walks and once being hit by a pitch.
Shippensburg’s Ben Werkheiser began his weekend of seldom seen success against the Shepherd pitchers when he homered twice in the March 20 opener, where the Red Raiders survived a last-inning Shepherd rally to get a 5-3 win. Chase Zarawski clubbed a three-run, first inning homer on the first pitch he saw from Steve Bowley. Werkheiser’s second homer gave the Red Raiders a 5-2 after only two innings.
Both teams began to leave base runners stranded in the second. There were not many hits, but numerous walks or hit batsmen.
Bowley settled in to blank the Red Raiders in his last four innings. Through just five innings, Kyle Lyzy had already struck out eight Shepherd batters. With Lyzy out of the game, Shepherd made a move in the seventh, when Dalton Stewart (who had homered in the first) walked on a 3-2 pitch. Schwartz then walked on a 3-2 pitch, as did Daniel Keer, to load the bases. With a run in for the Rams, Zach Doss flew out to centerfield to end Shippensburg’s two-run (5-3) win.
The Rams had a two-run second and then a three-run third to begin Shippensburg’s downfall. Shepherd had counted five runs on only two hits. Still ahead, 5-3, Shepherd got another solo homer from Stewart that benefitted pitchers Trevor Sprinkle and Tanner Dixon. Walks, wild pitches and plenty of baserunners helped Shepherd put the game out of reach in the eventual 11-3 win.
Kaleb Sophy (1-1) limited Shepherd to three hits in Shippensburg’s 7-2 win in the March 21 opener of another doubleheader. Werkheiser was at his Ram-damaging best, when he homered again and went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Mitchell Wilson, followed by Eric O’Brien and Cole Dunn, were Shepherd’s pitchers.
Just as had happened the previous day, Shepherd used numerous walks and hit batsmen to post a second-game win. The Rams trailed 4-1, before a four-run fifth inning sent things their way. Pitcher Nick Trabacchi got the win in an 8-5 victory.
Jared Carr had two of Shepherd’s four hits. Winning and scoring eight runs on four hits gave the Rams a split of the Fairfax Field doubleheader.
To no one’s surprise, Werkheiser drilled two more home runs to complete his four-game weekend of hitting dominance, with a total of five home runs.
Shepherd will take its 3-5 record into another weekend of back-to-back conference doubleheaders.