Hitting the road for the first time this season, the East Central College softball Falcons had to settle for a split Friday at St. Charles Community College.
The host team won the opener, 8-6 in eight innings. East Central (7-1) came back to win the second game of the doubleheader, 11-0.
“I was really pleased with our bunting game and timely hitting,” East Central Head Coach Brad Wallach said. “Runs were hard to come by in the first game and we scored our first two in the fifth inning on squeeze plays. We also executed another squeeze later on. The bunting game can be a difference-maker when it’s hard to get the ball in play.”
The Falcons were scheduled to host the Culver-Stockton JV team Monday, but it was called off due to wet field conditions. The Falcons host Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) Tuesday at 2 p.m.
For the rest of the week, East Central is at the Missouri Valley JV team in Marshall Friday at 1 p.m. and visits the Central Methodist JV team in Fayette Saturday.
East Central received more good news as it was ranked in the most recent NJCAA Division II national poll. The Falcons were ranked 20th and were the only Missouri team in the poll.
East Central’s first loss of the season came in the opener Friday. St. Charles took a 3-0 lead after one inning and increased it to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth.
Each team scored in the fifth and it was 5-2 going into the seventh. The Falcons rallied to tie it and took a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth, but couldn’t hold on.
“We dug a hole in the bottom of the first and did a good job of working our way back, tying it with three runs in the top of the seventh, and giving ourselves a chance to win in the eighth,” Wallach said. “Unfortunately, they had a girl step up and hit a two-out three-run walkoff home run. Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to your opponent and this was one of them.”
Sophomore Ashley Miller (South Callaway) pitched all 7.2 innings, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 12 hits and one walk. She struck out two and took the loss.
The Falcons managed 11 hits in the game. St. Charles had 12. East Central committed two errors and St. Charles had one.
Offensively, four Falcons had two hits apiece in the game.
Freshman Meg Barger (Kennedy) singled twice and drove in two.
Sophomore Jensen Crenshaw (Canton) had two hits, a run and an RBI.
Freshman Kori Fiedler (Union) had two hits, two walks, a stolen base and two runs.
Freshman Seeley Friend (Newburg) had two hits and an RBI.
Sophomore Megan Micke (Washington) doubled, scored and drove in two.
Freshman Taylor Ruth (Owensville) singled, stole a base and scored.
Sophomore Samantha White (Jefferson, Festus) singled and scored.
Sophomore Alayna Abney (Owensville) sacrificed.
The Falcons dominated the second game, 11-0.
East Central jumped on top with two runs in the first and added three in the second, one in the fourth and five in the sixth to end the contest early.
“Our goal this game was to put a tough loss behind us, bounce back, and get them on their heels right away,” Wallach said. “We did just that. We pretty much controlled the entire game offensively and Abby Ray did a great job, posting her second shutout in a row.”
Ray (St. James), a sophomore, scattered five hits and struck out five over six innings.
Offensively, the Falcons outhit St. Charles, 13-5, and only made one error to six for St. Charles.
Crenshaw was the top batter for East Central with three hits, including two doubles. She scored once and drove in a run.
Friend, Micke and White each had two hits.
Friend singled twice, scored and drove in two.
Micke also scored twice and drove in one run.
White added two runs and an RBI.
Abney singled, scored twice and drove in a run.
Freshman Marissa Boyd (Union) singled, scored and drove in a run.
Amber Struemph (St. Elizabeth) had a pinch hit single, scored and drove in a run.
Barger walked twice and scored.