It’s officially Spring.
At least, it is at East Central College.
There, the softball Falcons opened their campaign Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep against the Missouri Valley College JV team, 8-0 and 9-1.
“Overall, we had a good day,” East Central Head Coach Brad Wallach said. “We played our entire roster and I was happy with what I saw. Everybody did something well and anytime we can put two errorless games together, I’ll take that.”
The Falcons return to action Friday, hosting Lewis & Clark in a 2 p.m. doubleheader. That originally was scheduled for Thursday, but was pushed back.
The Falcons head to St. Charles Community College Monday for their MCCAC opener at 2 p.m.
East Central returns home to host Southeastern Illinois College (SWIC) Wednesday, the Central Methodist University JV team Thursday and the Missouri Baptist University JV team Friday.
All doubleheaders start at 2 p.m.
In the opener, the Falcons prevailed on a three-hit shutout by sophomore Ashley Miller (South Callaway)
“Ashley Miller was cruising along but ran into a little bit of a control problem in the fifth,” Wallach said. “She was able to work her way through it, though, to keep the shutout.”
Miller pitched all six innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six.
East Central took the lead with a run in the second and added two more in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the sixth to end the game early.
At the plate, sophomore second baseman Alayna Abney (Owensville) was perfect, going 4-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI.
Freshman Meg Barger (Kennedy) started in left field and went 2-3 with a double, a run and two RBIs.
Freshman Taylor Ruth (Owensville) got the nod at first base and went 1-3 with a triple, a walk, a run and two RBIs.
Sophomore catcher Jensen Crenshaw (Canton) posted a double and an RBI.
“Alayna Abney had a great day at the plate to lead us offensively,” Wallach said. “Meg Barger, Taylor Ruth, and Jensen Crenshaw also came up with key extra base hits.”
Freshman Seeley Friend (Newburg) posted two singles with two runs and an RBI in her college debut.
The other hits came from Shelby Carr (Salem) and Kori Fiedler (Union).
Megan Micke (Washington) and Samantha White (Jefferson, Festus) scored. Micke and White each walked twice.
The second game was a bit closer, at least for a while.
The Falcons took a 1-0 lead after one inning, but Missouri Valley tied it in the top of the second with a home run.
“Abby Ray pitched well but made one mistake and had to pay for it,” Wallach said.
The St. James sophomore hurler went five innings, allowing one run on two hits and one walk. She struck out three.
East Central took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third and added one in the fourth and four in the fifth to end it early.
Offensively, freshman Marissa Boyd (Union) made the most of her first start in left field.
“Marissa Boyd was clearly ‘the show’ in the second game with a triple, a single, and a walk-off two run homer in the fifth,” Wallach said. “Between RBIs and runs scored, she was a factor in five of our nine runs.”
Boyd went 3-3 with a triple, a home run, three runs and two RBIs.
Micke produced the other extra-base hit with a double. She also walked and scored twice.
Crenshaw and White each singled. Crenshaw stole a base and drove in one run while White also walked and scored once.
Fiedler moved from center field to first base, drawing a walk and scoring.
Friend also walked and scored.
Freshman Amber Strumph (St. Elizabeth) provided a sacrifice.
Sophomore Jordan Vrba (Dixon) had a walk and a run.