Wade Steinlage, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
CEDAR RAPIDS – The Statesmen softball needed extra innings, but finally got back in the win column as it split a Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheader with Mount Mercy Tuesday.
William Penn (16-22, 7-11 Heart) lost the opener 7-3, but rebounded to win the nightcap 7-6 in nine innings. The win snaps the program’s nine-game losing streak.
Trailing 4-0 after two frames of the opener, the Statesmen posted a three-run answer in the top of the third. The squad scored in three distinct ways, including on a groundout, a sacrifice fly, and finally via a single by Emily Brown (Sr., Waverly, Iowa, Biology).
Unfortunately, the visitors would draw no closer, permitting one run each of the next three innings to drop the matchup. WPU was outhit 13-5 with Abby Young (Jr., Dunlap, Ill., Exercise Science) pacing the team with a 2-for-3 performance.
The Statesmen offense rose to the occasion immediately in the nightcap as Alexa Blazek (So., Henderson, Nev., Exercise Science) singled in Sonia Reddy (Jr., Tracy, Calif., Exercise Science) and Lexi Riccardi (Jr., Redwood City, Calif., Biology) for a quick 2-0 advantage after the top of the first. Riccardi then tacked on another run as her fifth-inning double drove in Reddy, who tripled two batters earlier.
The Mustangs unfortunately responded with one run in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to force extra play.
A single by Lexi Resa (So., Liberty, Mo., Biology) plated pinchrunner Izabelle Morales (Fr., Henderson, Nev., Sociology) to give William Penn the lead back at 4-3 in the eighth, but MMU replicated the visiting team’s efforts. The hosts had the winning run at third, but she was stranded there and the squads moved onto the ninth frame.
With one out in the ninth, Reddy then did something that is rarely seen in softball as she hit an inside-the-park home run. The junior pounded a shot into the right field corner and then turned on the boosters, beating the relay throw to the plate. It is her third roundtripper of the season.
Kiya Harper (Jr., Decatur, Ill., Exercise Science) and Blazek then both contributed RBI doubles to extend the Statesmen lead to 7-4. The Mustangs would not go quietly, however, once again coming up with an answer as two runs came across. Fortunately, the tying run was left at second base and WPU collected the split of the twinbill and snapped the team’s losing streak.
The navy and gold owned a 10-8 advantage in hits with Reddy and Harper both finishing 3-for-5. Reddy scored three runs and Blazek, who had a pair of base knocks, produced three RBIs.
Katie Springer (Jr., Riverside, Iowa, Psychology and Human Services) was perfect through four innings and eventually ended up with 5 2/3 frames of work, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (one strikeout). Shelby Copley (Sr., Denver, Colo., Biology), who also appeared out of the bullpen in the opener, threw an additional 3 1/3 frames in the nightcap. The senior picked up the victory, striking out two in the process.
Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa Thursday to host Grand View in a Heart doubleheader at 4:30 p.m.