After falling behind by a 6-0 tally during its opening contest against the Cumberland (Tenn.) Phoenix softball program, the Shawnee State Bears’ softball program put together a spirited rally en route to taking home a 7-6 victory in the opening contest of a Thursday doubleheader, then established a 3-1 lead in its second doubleheader before falling by a 9-3 count in the nightcapper of the program’s conference-opening doubleheader on Thursday evening.
After a pair of infield errors, a pair of walks, and a two-RBI single by Tawnee Hegre allowed Cumberland to take a 5-0 advantage after an inning of play, the Phoenix increased their advantage on a solo home run by Kayley Caplinger as the Bears trailed 6-0 after two complete innings of action.
However, Shawnee State never showed any signs of quit in a contest that proved to be a classic. After a Michal Cunningham double was cleaned off by a two-run homer to dead center by Kaitlyn Gleich in the third inning, a second double by Cunningham and a single and stolen base by Gleich allowed the pair to score on sacrifice flies in the fifth, with Tatum Wise adding a single to cut the 6-0 Cumberland lead to 6-5 after the fifth inning. Then, after Cunningham reached base again in the sixth with a walk, Marisa Brown officially completed the comeback by smacking a two-run homer to right center to give SSU the 7-6 victory.
In the second inning, however, the tables were turned on Shawnee State. After a solo home run to lead off the second inning by Kayla Koch, Courtney Mills’ RBI double off of the center field fence allowed Cumberland to tie the score at one apiece through three-and-a-half innings. When Shawnee State answered back with back-to-back singles by Brown and Koch to grab a 3-1 lead after four complete — which was aided by three Cumberland errors — the Phoenix answered by scoring three runs in the fifth, a run in the sixth, and four runs in the seventh to close the deal.
Shawnee State is now 13-5 overall and 1-1 in MSC action. Cumberland (Tenn.) is now 21-4 and also sits 1-1 in conference play. Check for a full review of both games, along with Friday’s doubleheader action between the pair, in Saturday’s edition of the Daily Times.
SSU tennis falls to Midway (Ky.), Cumberlands (Ky.)
The Shawnee State men’s and women’s tennis programs each fell in a pair of matches on Friday and Monday as the Bears were defeated by Midway (Ky.) on Friday and Cumberlands (Ky.) on Tuesday. The men fell by 5-4 and 9-0 margins while the women dropped their bouts by 9-0 margins on both days.
In doubles action for the men, the duo of Casper Nolte (SO/Germantown, Ohio) and Shane Hitchens (FR/Waverly, Ohio) defeated Jacob Franke and Dustin Johnson to conclude the doubles victories for SSU. In singles play, Nate Hinze (FR/Portsmouth, Ohio) was victorious defeating Sergent 6-2, 6-2. Matthew Bryant (SR/Asheville, Ohio) secured another singles victory for the Bears winning 7-5, 6-3. The final singles victory came from Shane Hitchens, who took home both of his sets by a 7-5 and a perfect 6-0 margin
In doubles action for the women, all three pairings were defeated with the duo of Jessica Willard (FR/Circleville, Ohio) and Kathleen Singer (SR/Minford, Ohio) trying to erase the deficit but falling short 8-4. Alexandrea Hettinger (FR/Laurelville, Ohio) would secure a victory in singles play defeating Jilian Verbrugghe 2-1 before she retired.
On Tuesday, both programs found the going tough in a pair of 9-0 defeats to the Patriots in their respective conference openers. SSU’s men had little luck on the afternoon, as all three doubles teams failed to score in any of the three matches. Nate Hinze (FR/Portsmouth, Ohio) was Shawnee State’s best performer on the afternoon, falling to Martin Barbier 6-0, 6-1 in singles. No other Shawnee State men’s player was able to notch a win in a game.
Shawnee State’s women fared little better, with the Bears falling 9-0 in the women’s match as well. Jessica Willard (FR/Circleville, Ohio) and Caleigh O’Neal (JR/Greenup, Kentucky) proved to be the best doubles team for SSU on the day, falling to Hannah Wampler and Haley Mahan 8-1. Willard was also Shawnee State’s best individual performer, falling in singles to Jaclyn Jewell 6-1, 6-1.
The loss moves Shawnee State’s men to 4-12 and 0-2 in Mid-South Conference action on the season. SSU’s women fell to 2-11 on the season with their loss, and to 0-2 in league play as well. Cumberlands’ men improved to 2-7 on the year, while the women improved to 3-6, with both teams improving to 1-1 in conference play.