The Mt. Pleasant softball team scored five in each game of their Southeast Conference doubleheader against Fairfield on Monday, but the result on the defensive side of the ball couldn’t have been different. The Panthers handed Fairfield their first SEC loss, 5-1, in game one, but couldn’t contain the Trojan offense in game two, falling 17-5.
The Trojans took the lead in game one after scoring a run in the top of the first inning, but Mt. Pleasant got that run right back in the bottom half of the inning. The Panthers loaded the bases and scored one run when Savana Walls tied the game with a walk. Fairfield ace Allison Rebeling wiggled out of the jam, however, and it was 1-1 after two innings.
Anni Liechty gave the Panthers the lead in the fourth inning, hitting an RBI single. In the sixth, Samantha Broeker busted the game open with a two-out bases-clearing double to left field, that squirted past a diving Trojan outfielder to score three.
“That was huge,” said head coach Troy Mears about Broeker’s double. “I kept talking in our huggle, ‘Hey, we’re getting runners on, getting bases loaded. Somebody step us and give us that clutch hit.’ Finally, she did.”
Sydni Coleman was strong in the circle. She gave up just one unearned run on six hits over seven innings of work. She struck out five batters and didn’t walk anybody.
Broeker finished the game 1-3 with a double and three RBIs. Liechty was 2-4 with an RBI, and Walls went 0-2 with an RBI.
Fairfield began game two with three runs in the top of the first inning, but Mt. Pleasant once again loaded the bases and once again scored a handful of runs. This time, the Panthers put up five runs, including a two-run single by Lexie Magnani.
Fairfield, however, responded with 14 straight runs. They scored five in the second, two in the third, four in the fourth and three in the fifth. Mt. Pleasant couldn’t score another run and the game ended after five innings.
“Our pitching wasn’t as solid as we wanted it to be (in game two) and we booted too many balls,” said Coach Mears. “And, I think they (Fairfield) hit the ball a lot better in game two.”
Magnani went 2-3 with two RBIs to lead the Panthers. Trinity Krabill was 2-3. Ava Lowery and Lyndi Vantiger both finished 1-3 with an RBI.
Liechty was tagged with the loss in game two. She gave up eight earned runs on four hits and seven walks, while striking out three batters. Hannah Newman threw three innings in relief, giving up nine runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, while striking out two.
Mt. Pleasant is now 9-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play. They are one game behind Fairfield for first place after one round through the SEC. They’ll take on Danville tonight (Tuesday) in nonconference action.