The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 4, 2012

Lions, Gorillas split softball doubleheader


From staff reports

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State’s fast start produced a 9-1, five-inning victory over Missouri Southern on Wednesday night, tying the school record with its 15th consecutive victory.

The streak, however, came to a close as Brooke Hurley’s grand slam in the third inning sparked an 8-6 victory for the Lions in the nightcap, halting Missouri Southern’s seven-game skid.

After the nonconference games at the PSU Softball Complex, the Lions (13-24) and Gorillas (22-17) are home for two MIAA doubleheaders this weekend. Friday’s slate has Emporia State at Missouri Southern and Missouri Western at Pittsburg State, and the Lions and Gorillas swap opponents for Saturday afternoon twinbills.

Hurley, who also homered in the first game, erased a 1-0 deficit with one swing in the second game. Brooklyn Farrell’s bunt single, an error and Lydia Niemegeers’ single to left loaded the bases with one out in the third. Hurley then sent a 1-0 pitch from Cheslyn Mitchell (4-2) over the fence in center field for her fifth homer of the season and second in three trips to the plate.

Two errors preceded Breanna Volkmann’s two-run single to right for a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning, and singles by Shelby Romines and Chloe Brown in the seventh drove in what proved to be the decisive runs. Volkmann went 2-for-4 to lead the Lions’ seven-hit attack.

The Gorillas committed eight errors — five by shortstop Mannie DeCastro — after having a total of nine misplays in their previous 11 games. Four of the Lions’ runs were unearned.

Lions pitcher Haley Pypes (8-5) held the Gorillas to one run and three hits through five innings. But Molly Stiens, who had three hits, homered to left to start the PSU sixth, and a walk, hit batsman and RBI double by Mitchell ended Pypes’ day.

Kayce Moore entered and allowed on run on DeCastro’s groundout, and the Gorillas scored twice in the seventh on Katelyn Birchfield’s grounder and Devon McCreath’s single before Moore secured the final out for her first save.

Pittsburg State’s first six batters stroked hits in the bottom of the first inning against Arlisa Arwood (0-1) in the opener. Singles by Mitchell and Tiffany Brown preceded DeCastro’s run-scoring double to center. Singles by Kreslee Ketcham to center, Alex Perez to left and a double to right-center by McKenzie Rynard each scored one run to make it 4-0.

McCreath’s two-out, two-run double to center and Mitchell’s single to center off reliever Hannah Cooke made it 7-0 in the third, and Ketcham’s two-run homer to center, her sixth of the year, off Chasity Henson increased the lead to 9-0.

The Lions avoided the shutout when Hurley connected for a home run to left field with one out in the fifth.

Gorillas right-hander Hilary Erbert (10-8) allowed six hits, walked five batters and struck out one.

Romines went 2-for-3 for the Lions, and Mitchell, DeCastro, Ketcham, Perez and Rynard all had two hits for the Gorillas, who matched PSU’s 15-game winning streak from March 6 through March 27, 1993.