This weekend, Salisbury University softball fans were treated to a two-day, six-game tournament between Salisbury, DeSales University and Hood College. Salisbury swept the Bulldogs and Blazers over the weekend to improve to 7-0 on the year.
Game 1: Salisbury 5, DeSales 0
After the three scoreless innings to start the first game, Salisbury got on the board with a two-RBI single by junior catcher Madeira Alexander.
After a slow start for the Sea Gulls, Alexander was focused on getting her team on the board with freshman outfielder Abby Mace and designated player Madison Lednum on base.
“We were going slow there, but I knew that the team just needed a hit, so I was really focused that at bat,” Alexander said.
Alexander scored on a passed ball to give the Sea Gulls a 3-0 lead at the end of the fourth inning. Salisbury added two more runs to its lead in the sixth inning with a home run by Mace and another RBI single by Alexander.
On the mound, freshman pitcher Savannah Sheats pitched a complete game for the Sea Gulls, striking out nine DeSales batters and giving up just two hits.
Game 2: Salisbury 14, Hood 5
The Sea Gulls, designated as the visitors for this game, came back from an early deficit to defeat the Blazers. Hood College scored two runs in the bottom of the first.
Salisbury got on the board in the third inning and took the lead with a grand slam from senior first baseman Emily Allen. After the Blazers tied the game up in the bottom of the third inning, the Sea Gulls scored nine runs in the next three innings.
Freshman second baseman Madison Lemon smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Sea Gulls a 14-5 lead. Sheats came on in relief for freshman pitcher Lindsey Windsor in the third inning, only allowing two hits and pitching one out shy of four innings.
With an infield behind her made up of three seniors, Sheats entered the game with confidence in the defense behind her.
“I just came in knowing my team was behind me and just knew to throw, how I knew how to throw,” Sheats said.
Sophomore outfielder Jillian Jones went four-for-four in the game with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Game 3: Salisbury 7, DeSales 0
Salisbury, once again the designated road team, scored all seven of its runs in the third inning. A Jones RBI single put Salisbury on the board, followed by a two-RBI single from senior third baseman Kayleigh Edwards. Allen also notched a two-RBI single, and Alexander notched a two-run home run in the inning.
Sheats pitched five and two-thirds innings in the win for the Sea Gulls, allowing just one hit and one walk. Pitching a total of 16 and one third innings throughout the weekend series, Sheats struck out 19 batters while allowing two walks and five hits.
Head coach Margie Knight was proud of her freshman pitcher’s performance over the weekend.
“I thought that she pitched like a seasoned veteran,” Knight said. “She was able to adapt [to the different umpire’s strike zones] extremely well and very quick.”
Game 4: Salisbury 19, Hood 1 (5 innings)
The Sea Gull offense did not score prior to the third inning in its first three games of the weekend. This was not the case against Hood College, as Salisbury scored nine runs in the first inning, with 11 Sea Gulls coming up to bat.
Jones felt that the Sea Gulls were able to get some offensive momentum after seeing each other get some knocks on the Hood pitching staff early.
“We saw each other doing well, and it started to be like a domino effect and we all just started hitting better,” Jones said.
Salisbury scored 10 runs over the next three innings to jump out to a 19-0 lead. The Blazers scored a run in the top of the fifth, but fell 19-1. All of Salisbury’s starters recorded at least one hit in Salisbury’s win over Hood.
Windsor pitched three and two thirds innings in the win, allowing only one hit while striking out three batters.
Jones went 8-for-14 this weekend, including going 7-for-7 in both games against the Blazers.
Wednesday provides a big rivalry matchup for Salisbury, as Virginia Wesleyan University will come to town. Knight said her team is prepared to play a team of their quality.
“We’re waiting for them, we’re ready.” Coach Knight said. “They’ve been perennial national champs and regularly in the running, but we don’t care, they’re just another team that will be in that first base dugout, and that’s how we’re going to view it.”
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: Brad Boardman image.