Softball sizzles in fall doubleheader

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SLU softball got off to a great start for their fall season, sweeping a doubleheader at the Billiken Sports Complex Saturday, Sept. 10. Te Billikens played the Shawnee Community College Saints and Jefferson College Vikings, with scores of 12-0 and 8-2.

In game one, junior pitcher Maddie Baalman got the start, throwing 3 innings, striking out 3, walking 2 and allowing 1 hit. Sophomore pitcher Kallen Loveless entered the game in the bottom of the 4th and went on to strike out 4, allowing 1 hit.

On the offensive side, the Billikens came alive early with a three-run blast by junior infielder Allie Macfarlane in the 1st inning. Junior infielder Alyssa Tarquinio also drove in 2 runs in the Billiken half of the first, putting the Billikens up 5-0.

In the 2nd, senior in- fielder Taylor Meeks led the Billiken offense, driving in 2 runs off of a double up the 3rd-base line. Sophomore catcher Kaylyn Breitbach and Tarquinio also contributed, driving in a run each in the 2nd.

The Billikens were on top 9-0 at the end of the inning. A mishandled ball by the Saints’ 2nd baseman during the 3rd scored another run, putting the Billikens up 10-0. Also in the 3rd, a deep hit by sophomore infielder Mackenzie Lawson bounced off the home-run marker in center field for a ground-rule double, scoring the final 2 runs that the Billikens would score in game one.

In game two, freshman pitcher Kaylea Chappelle started on the mound, pitching 4.1 innings and striking out 1. A major defensive play occurred in the 4th when Chappelle induced a double play for SLU after allowing 2 of 3 hits. The next batter lined out to the third baseman to end the inning. Loveless again came in to relieve, this time with one out in the 4th. Loveless struck out 2, walked 1 and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits.

Offensively, the Billikens got to work early again with an RBI off a double from senior outfielder Mackenzie Peter. The Billikens continued to strike in the 1st, with Meeks and Breitbach each driving in a run. An error by the first baseman resulted in another run scoring for SLU. A two-run homer by freshman infielder Bailey Strecker capped off the offensive explosion, putting the Billikens up 6-0.

In the 3rd, junior out- fielder Josie Knesel doubled to center field, scoring another run. Te Billikens added their final run in the 4th, when Peter grounded out with a runner on 3rd. Te Billikens led 8-0 after 3. Te Vikings would try striking back in the 6th, managing to score two off of a double up the 1st-base side. Tis is the only time the Vikings would score.

Macfarlane attributes this offensive success to hard work over the summer: “In the summer, we went home and we got to practice just on our own, but then right when we got back we started practicing. We’ve been working hard. Hitting is really important to us, and so is defense.”

On every team, there are the players to watch. Going This week in sports Thursday, Sept. 15 Men’s Soccer 8 p.m. @ Denver Friday, Sept. 16 Field Hockey 2 p.m. @ UMass Cross Country National Catholic Championships @ Notre Dame Women’s Soccer 6:30 p.m. @ SMU Volleyball 7 p.m. v. Murray State Saturday, Sept. 17 Volleyball 12 p.m. v. Omaha 7 p.m. v. Illinois Softball 2 p.m. v. Rockhurst 4 p.m. v. Wash U Swim/Dive CSCAA Open Water Nationals @ Lawrence, KS Sunday, Sept. 18 Field Hockey 11 a.m. @ UMass-Lowell Monday, Sept. 19 St. Louis Cardinals 7:40 p.m. @ Colorado Rockies Tuesday, Sept. 20 Women’s Soccer 4:30 p.m. v. Murray State Volleyball 6 p.m. @ Western Illinois Men’s Soccer 7 p.m. v. Louisville Wednesday, Sept. 21 St. Louis Cardinals 2:10 p.m. @ Colorado Rockies into the season, Macfarlane thinks that Peter (2016 AllRegion Honoree and team leader in home runs), senior infielder Alex Nickel are the ones to watch offensively, while Chappelle, Baalman and Loveless are the ones to watch on the mound.

Looking ahead to the rest of the short fall season and upcoming spring season, the team looks strong to Macfarlane: “We have 2 returning pitchers and a new freshman who has lots of experience in summer ball. We have almost our infield and outfield back, so I think it’s going to be a good year.”

With this sweep, Macfarlane also thinks that it tells any opponent that “…we’re here to take care of business and that we are taking every game seriously no matter the opponent. We’re going to play hard and get better each game. Our goal this year is to win every moment we can, not just games, but each play, each pitch, and we’re going for an A-10 Championship.”

Softball will be in action next at the Billiken Sports Center Saturday in yet another doubleheader, facing Rockhurst at 2 p.m. and Washington University at 4 p.m.