The Waynesburg University softball team played host to Geneva College this past Tuesday for a Presidents’ Athletic Conference doubleheader. After winning the first game 6-2, the Yellow Jackets dropped a 6-4 effort in a six-inning, rain-shortened game two.
“I really thought the girls played well, one of the best games of the year in the first game against Geneva. We did a good job keeping their best hitters off base for the most part,” said head coach Richele Hall. “Overall, a good day for us, was hoping for a sweep [and] thought we would’ve had it if it wasn’t for the weather. It was a little frustrating based on that.”
The Golden Tornadoes (14-12, 3-5) opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning. Waynesburg (7-16-1, 3-5) finally got on the board in the bottom of the third to take a 3-1 lead in large part to five hits during the inning. Sophomore shortstop Keri Renzler came through with a two-run double to get Waynesburg’s first runs across, while sophomore first baseman Alex Lawrence added the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly.
The Jackets continued their hot hitting in the fourth with three runs on five more hits. Freshman centerfielder Courtney Syfert knocked in courtesy runner Savannah Walker to extend Waynesburg's lead to 4-1. Two batters later, freshman third baseman Cheyenne Wasko singled home Syfert. A fourth-straight single, this one by Lawrence, plated Renzler to grow the Waynesburg advantage to 6-1.
Geneva scored its second and final run of the opener in the top of the sixth, but sophomore pitcher Courtney Messenger had more than enough run support to shut the rest of the game down after that. The righty ace allowed seven hits over the complete-game effort. Messenger recorded two strikeouts and didn't walk a batter.
“I thought we played really well as unit, we got good pitching from Courtney [and] good defense behind her,” said Hall. “We hit the ball really well after the first two innings, strung some hits together and capitalized with runners on base.”
Game two opened with Geneva scoring a pair of unearned runs in the first. Waynesburg answered back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the opening inning thanks to a two-run double by freshman right fielder Rachel Skon.
Skon delivered again in the third, this time singling home Wasko to put the Jackets up 3-2. A wild pitch then allowed Lawrence to score, giving the Yellow Jackets their fourth and final run of the second game.
“Rachel had a good day, she caught the first game [and had a] great day at the plate,” said Hall. “She is seeing the ball well, being patient [and] capitalizing [with] runners in scoring position.”
Unfortunately, as the weather began to roll in, the Geneva offense began to find its stride. The Golden Tornadoes scored three times in the fourth to go up 5-4. The visitors tacked on an insurance run in the fifth to clinch the win. The game was called in the top of the seventh because of lightning.
Messenger took the loss in the late contest after giving up six runs, only three of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks over five innings in the circle. Senior Lyndi Gareis came in for an inning of relief and also faced one batter in the seventh before the game was called.
“We had a 4-2 lead in the fourth, then rain started to come down…[Messenger] walked a few batters, it’s frustrating to be in that situation. [I think] weather played in to the outcome. [We were] playing good ball. Courtney never walks three in an inning…but had to play through it.”
Over the twin-bill, Skon paced the Waynesburg offense by going 3-6 with a double and three RBI. Wasko added a 3-7 effort with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
Hall was pleased with the effort from many different Yellow Jackets throughout the games, including Renzler, who had three RBIs in game one, Lawrence, who is currently in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak and freshman Ashley Dubovich, who Hall said played extremely well on defense over the doubleheader.
“Lawrence is very consistent, it’s very nice to have that consistency in the lineup [every game],” she said. “Ashley Dubovich was awesome at second base, she made a lot of good plays and kept the ball in the infield.”
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the day was keeping Geneva freshman Casey Farkasovsky in check at the plate, as she only went 1-7 with two RBIs between the two games. Farkasovsky currently leads the PAC in home runs, RBIs and walks while ranking near the top of many other offensive categories.
The Jackets are back in action on Thursday, April 13, when they host La Roche for a seven-inning doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. The next PAC games will be against Bethany in Bethany, W.Va for a doubleheader this Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.