Softball manages split

March 5, 2013

Junior Danielle Monnier allowed two hits with 12 strikeouts in her first complete game shutout of the season.

Junior Danielle Monnier allowed two hits with 12 strikeouts in her first complete game shutout of the season.

FT. MYERS, FL – In what has been a common theme for Wilmington softball early in the season, the Lady Quakers picked up two impressive outings in the circle. However, they were only able to manage a split in two games at the Gene Cusic Classic Tuesday.

After Wilmington extended its Floyd-era record with their fifth straight win to start the season on the strength of a 3-0 win over Eastern Nazarene, WC lost a heartbreaker, 3-2, in eight innings to Clark.

Junior Danielle Monnier (Houston, OH/Houston) dominated from the outset in the opener, allowing just two hits with 12 strikeouts in earning her first complete game shutout of the season. In addition to her 12 strikeouts, Monnier had a part in five of the other nine outs in the game with four assists and one putout.

“We came out and attack the ball early in scoring three runs,” said head coach Beth Floyd. “You give Danielle an early lead and she is just going to bear down and make some tremendous pitches. Danielle was absolutely phenomenal and dominated that game and took care of business. Both of our pitchers have been amazing down here, doing a great job. They both have a strong approach to the game.”

Freshman Megan Rachford (Germantown, OH/Valley View) drove in all three runs with a two-out bases loaded single in the first inning, and finished 2-for-3 on the evening. Junior Stacy Lunsford (Wilmington, OH/Clinton-Massie) was 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Clark scored two runs in the seventh and one in the eight to claim the 3-2 extra innings victory Tuesday. All three of the runs were unearned as they took advantage of two errors in the seventh inning to take the lead.

“The second game was hard,” said Floyd. “We were leading the whole game, it was a nail biter. We just needed to come up with a big play and we didn’t do that. It’s hard to hold onto a one-run lead when you are not playing solid all the way around, and we just needed to take advantage of a couple opportunities offensively as well as making some defensive stops.”

The first run of the game was scored in unusual fashion as senior Brooke Byrne (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) took advantage of a mental mistake. With runners on first and third with one out, Byrne took off for second after the play in which Clark thought she was out, the Cougars also threw out Allie Noggle (Ashville, OH/Teays Valley) at home trying to score from third.

Thinking they had just mowed down both runners, Clark celebrated in front of its dugout. As they celebrated, Byrne casually rounded third and headed home for the first run of the game.

“I take my hat off to Brooke Byrne,” said Floyd. “She was very intelligent in that situation. She didn’t panic, and did an outstanding job on the bases to make that first run possible.”

Noggle was 2-for-3 for the Lady Quakers, who left 10 runners on base in the loss.

Sophomore Jessica Clutter (Englewood, OH/Northmont) was the hard-luck loser, allowing three unearned runs on seven hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts. She lowered her ERA to just 0.45 after three appearances.

Wilmington (5-1) returns to the diamond Wednesday, playing Northland at 11 a.m. and Penn State-Behrend at 1 p.m.