BY TRAVIS QUATTLEBAUM
Led by the junior duo of No. 9 pitcher Hanna Otterman and No. 13 third baseman Brittany Scites, the Eagles were able to make a strong push at the beginning of the season.
An impressive showing by all UMW Eagles on their designated Fan Appreciation Day left no spectator in their seat for too long. Personalized posters made by the players made sure that all fans knew the Eagles were ready to play.
Otterman led the team in the journey to all five of their wins, none of which were as exciting as Saturday’s first game. The Eagles won the first home double header game against the Lynchburg College Hornets in a crazy last play walkoff.
With a slow start, the Eagles watched as the Hornet’s leadoff hitter opened with a triple. After an error, she was able to head home and gave Lynchburg an early 1-0 lead. The Eagles quickly responded in the bottom of the second with a Scites leadoff single. She moved into scoring position with a sac bunt by No. 21 Brittnee Haynes and then was brought home with a RBI double from No. 3 Hannah Williams. Scites’ run brought the score even at 1-1.
The bottom of the fourth saw a similar situation to the bottom of the second. Another single by Brittany Scites gave the Eagles a runner on base. A quick reaction to a pitch in the dirt allowed Scites to steal second and move into scoring position. A second clutch hit by Hannah Williams saw Scites cross the plate again, allowing UMW to take the lead.
UMW expanded on their lead in the sixth, with a third run by Scites. This time she had help from the pitcher Otterman who had a RBI single. This gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh.
The fun really started in the seventh when Lynchburg College’s Jessi Hall led with a stand up triple.
The next batter joined Hall on base when she was hit by a pitch. Then, Danielle Powell stepped to the plate.
Powell belted an Otterman pitch into deep left center field for the only homerun of the day. A couple of great defensive plays by shortstop No. 2 Bireet Chitty and a strike out by Otterman allowed the Eagles to escape down only 3-4.
As the bottom of the seventh started, the UMW ladies did not waiver. No. 18 Kate Chisholm “took one for the team,” allowing her to get on base quickly. Bireet Chitty followed up with an exciting play at first. On a high throw, the Lynchburg first baseman was brought into the running path and was met by the unstoppable force of the UMW short stop.
After a quick talk between the umpires, Chitty was confirmed safe. This gave the Eagles the go-ahead run on base.
In dramatic fashion, the No. 11 Erica Falvey stepped to the plate and hit what should have been a routine fly ball into shallow right field. Luckily for the Eagles the ball hit the ground which allowed for Chisholm to score easily from third. The pitcher then overthrew second in an attempt to get the force out on Chitty. With the ball rolling into center field, Chitty rounded third and easily made it home, the Eagles winning 5-4.
The Eagles had a disappointing second game, losing 4-2. Game two had the Hornets off to another quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Lynchburg increased their lead over UMW in the third by adding two more runs. In the bottom of the third, UMW bit into the score when No. 12 Stefannie Asselanis was knocked in by a Bireet Chitty RBI single.
The Eagles tried to rally again in the bottom of the sixth when a RBI double by No. 17 Grace Henry scored Scites. The score was too little too late and the game ended shortly after with one last tally mark by the Hornets in the top of the seventh. This brought the score to an even 4-2.
The lady Eagles spread the wealth on offense with nine different players contributing hits, five of which knocked in at least one run. Notable offensive performances by Brittany Scites, Williams and Chitty helped lead the team. Scites went 4-7 on the day with a stolen base and four runs.
Williams added two to her RBI total bringing her to a team-leading five. And Chitty knocked in a run as well as scoring one of her own.
Great defensive plays by all positions helped quell the Hornets’ high powered offense. A fantastic trio of pitchers: No. 22 Erin Stinson, No. 25 Ashton Ferneyhough and No. 9 Otterman were pivotal to the cause.
Stinson struck out five and allowed no runs in four and a third innings. Ferneyhough also added a strike out to her season total and contributed two and two-thirds innings. Otterman stood out pitching a complete game, allowing just three earned runs in seven innings while adding two strikeouts to her team high 26.
UMW takes to the diamond twice this week, first on Wednesday, March 19, when the ladies will travel north to Catholic University for a double header at 3 and 5 p.m. Then on Saturday, March 22 they hop on the bus to travel to Delaware and kick off their Capital Athletic Conference season against the Wesley Wolverines.