March 6 – CLERMONT, Fla. – The Bethany College softball team posted a doubleheader split on Sunday morning. The Bison edged Misericordia, 4-3, with the help of Deanna Mihalco's (Patterson, N.Y./Brewster) walk-off single in the seventh inning, before falling 7-1 to St. Mary's (Ind.) in game two.
The Bison (2-2) opened the second day of their spring break trip with another late-inning thriller against Misericordia (0-1).
Bethany struck first in the bottom of the second inning, stringing together three consecutive hits. Marissa Bosley (New Martinsville, W. Va./Magnolia) started it off with a triple, followed by an RBI single from Sarah Coss (Bowie, Md./Bishop McNamara) and another single off the bat of T.J. Solomon (Beltsville, Md./Elizabeth Seton).
Bethany increased their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third, mainly behind the heads-up base running of Kayla Kelly (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame). The senior began the inning with a single down the right field line before making her way around the bases on a pop out in the infield and two dropped third strike calls. Ashley Narigon (Washington, Pa./McGuffey) beat the throw from the catcher to allow Kelly to score from third with two outs.
Misericordia responded in the top of the fourth with a barrage of offense. The Cougars hit two homers in the inning, totaling three runs on two hits.
Sophomore Cassie Weiss (Washington, Pa./McGuffey) only allowed runs in that one inning as she got the start on the hill for the Bison. Weiss went all seven innings, striking out 12 batters while allowing six hits.
Bethany, however, still found themselves trailing 3-2 as they entered the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out and no one on base, shortstop Aubrey Baehr (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley) collected an infield single to spark the Bison offense. Kelly then drew a walk to put two runners on base.
The Cougars managed to get the second out of the inning before Mihalco stepped into the box. Baehr and Kelly were able to advance to second and third on a passed ball, and with a 2-0 count, Mihalco ripped a single back up the middle. Both runs came around to score as the Bison secured the 4-3 victory.
In the second game of the doubleheader against St. Mary's (2-0), Bethany's offense picked up where they had left off, scoring a run in the top of the first inning to take the 1-0 lead.
Ashley Brill (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) singled and stole second to get into scoring position. Mihalco did the rest as she singled to left field to drive in Brill.
St. Mary's answered in the bottom of the inning, collecting two hits and tying the game at 1-1.
Bethany starting pitcher Samantha Binkley (Arthur, Manitoba, Canada/St. James) then settled in, holding the Belles scoreless over the next two innings. Binkley struck out three batters over her first three innings of work.
St. Mary's increased their lead in the fourth inning with some small ball. The Belles began the inning with a single before two sacrifices helped bring in two more runs to take a 3-1 advantage.
Bethany struggled at times in the field in the later stages of the contest. Two errors helped St. Mary's score four runs in the fifth.
The Bison put together a small rally in the seventh, collecting two hits before an inning-ending double play preserved the 7-1 victory for Saint Mary's.
Bethany College softball will return to action on Monday, March 7 when they take on Gordon College and Monmouth (Ill.). The games are set for 9 and 11 a.m. starts.