UCA Softball Perseveres, Wins in Series Against Cardinals

The UCA softball team (9-20, 2-4) faced a week of wins and losses ending with a victory against the University of the Incarnate Word (5-23, 1-5) on  March 18.

The first game of the week ended in a 6-2 loss for the Bears against Missouri State University (13-11, 1-2) on March 14.

Outfielder Hannah Stirton said Missouri State was better able to put the ball in place.

“I think they just made contact with the ball a lot more and they just executed more,” Stirton said.

On March 15, the Bears took on Mississippi State University (22-6, 2-3) in the Faculty/Staff Appreciation night.

The teams were tied after the bottom of the fourth inning with one point each, but the Bulldogs managed to score two more runs in the top of the seventh inning.

Bulldog’s shortstop Reggie Harrison managed a double in the third inning, but was out at third, and centerfielder and left fielder Kat Moore later scored.

The following inning, Stirton hit a sacrifice bunt to move second baseman Krissy Fontillas into scoring positions, and pinch hitter Brianna McArthur managed a single that let Fontillas tie the game.

Coach David Kuhn said the team played well defensively and commended the players.

“I thought Payton Herman pitched really well and gave us a chance to win” Kuhn said. “Kayla Gomness came in late and did a good job.”

Kuhn had high hopes for the remaining games despite the loss that night.

“I like our chances,” Kuhn said. “The way we played today, I feel good going into this weekend.”

Kuhn’s belief paid off, as the Bears won two of their series games against the University of the Incarnate Word with the score 5-0 in the first game and 6-1in their last.

They lost their second game of the match  with the score 5-4.

During the March 18 military appreciation game, right fielder Kayla Crutchmer and centerfielder Briana Whisenhunt made it to first and second in the first inning, but were both taken out by a caught line drive.

No runs were scored by either team until the third inning, when Whisenhunt, first baseman Kaylyn Shepherd, designated player Kailla Searcy and catcher Lauren Brooks scored.

The following round, outfielder Kayla Crutchmer made it home after stealing second base and moved forward after a sacrifice bunt from Whisenhunt and a single from Shepherd.

Cardinals outfielder Marcella Lopez scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning, but Crutchmer scored her own unearned run in the bottom of the inning.

Stirton said that Shepherd, Crutchmer and catcher Ryan Holdiness have been playing well, and freshmen who haven’t played until this season have come through for the team.

“When we’re on offensive, everyone is playing well,” Stirton said. “When we’re off, we need a lot of people to show up.”

Stirton said she had three sacrifice bunts during the Wednesday game, and was telling herself they just needed one or two runs to win the game.

“I was relying on the hitters behind me and players in front of me,” Stirton said. “I was trying to be selfless and rely on the rest of the team.”

Though the team has had its lows, Stirton said they have good games on the horizon.

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