Conway, AR, 2/19/2022- The Westminster College softball team traveled to Arkansas to compete in the Hendrix College Spring Fling Tournament to open the 2022 season. The Blue Jays played a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. They took on the Hendrix College Warriors in the first game and the Centenary College Ladies in the second. The Jays struck first blood against the Warriors in game 1, scoring two runs in the first inning. However, disaster would strike in the 5th with the Warriors scoring seven runs, defeating Westminster 11-3. In-game two, the Blue Jays looked to recover. The Blue Jays took a three-run lead into the 5th inning. The Ladies of Centenary tied it in the 6th inning. They would then hit a walk-off home run to left field in the bottom of the seventh, defeating the Blue Jays 4-3.
Game One: Box Score
The Blue Jays started the season off strong, scoring two runs in the first inning. Raigan Mckee (Oologah, OK / Oologah) got started with a single down the third baseline. Then Raegen Dickinson (Ozark, MO / Ozark) blasted a double to right-center scoring Mckee. Eva Gannon (Wentzville, Mo. / Holt) hit a single, advancing Dickinson to third. The Jays would score their second run in an unorthodox fashion. Kasey Ginder (Kirkwood, Mo. / Kirkwood) struck out swinging but reached first on a passed ball and scored Dickinson.
The Warriors scored four runs in the second inning, taking the lead 4-2. Westminster would score one more run in the fourth off a Maddie Marrero (Columbia, Mo. / Rock Bridge.) double that scored Janae Shirk (Springfield, Mo. / Pleasant Hope). However, it would not be enough as Hendrix would win, 11-3.
Junior pitcher Erin Carr (Woodlawn, Il / Christ Our Rock Lutheran) got the opening day start for the Blue Jays in game 1. Carr would pitch four and one-third innings, giving up eight earned runs. She walked six batters and recorded one strikeout. She held the Warriors in check for three of the five innings. Andee Raysik (Kingsville, MO / Lone Jack) would come on in relief in the fifth inning.
The Blue Jays scored three runs off five hits. However, they would leave four runners on base, which would prove detrimental. They would strikeout five times and record one walk. Dickinson, McKee, and Shirk led the Blue Jays with a hit and a run scored each.
Game Two: Box Score
Westminster got off to another hot start in game two against Centenary. Emily Esquivel (San Diego, Ca. / Eastlake) hit a rope to left-center field, and she hustled to third. The next at-bat, Laney Rosson (Columbia, Mo. / Battle), hit a single to right-center and scored Esquivel. Westminster had a one-to-nothing lead after the first inning.
The Blue Jays struck again in the fifth inning, bringing in two more runs, extending the lead three to zero. Esquivel hit a single that snuck through the left side of the infield. Then Rosson hit a single. The Jays had runners at first and second when Raegen Dickinson came up to the plate. She would send a double screaming to deep center, Esquivel scored. Rosson advanced to third. Kasey Ginder (Kirkwood, Mo. / Kirkwood) grounded out to the right side, but Rosson would score.
Freshman right-hander Haley Miller (O'Fallon, MO / Liberty) started in game two against Centenary. She had a strong outing, pitching six innings and recording three strikeouts. She would give up 13 hits and four earned runs. All four runs came after the 4th inning. Centenary scored one in the fifth and two in the sixth to tie the game.
Miller had the game on the line with the bases loaded and only one out in the bottom of the sixth. She would dig deep and record back-to-back strikeouts, giving the Blue Jays a chance to take the lead in the top of the 7th. With two outs, Ginder hit a double down the line. Her double gave Westminster a chance to win the game. The Blue Jays could not score the run and headed to the bottom of the inning, looking to send the game into the extras. The first batter of the inning would break the Blue Jays hearts, hitting a home run over the left-field fence. Centenary would defeat Westminster 4-3.
The softball team is back in action again on Sunday for the second and final day of the Spring Fling Tournament. They will play another double-header, taking on Centenary at 11:00 a.m. and Hendrix at 1:30 p.m.