Fulton, Mo. 4/9/2022- The Westminster softball team had their conference home opener on Saturday as they hosted the Fontbonne University Griffins for an afternoon doubleheader. There was a large crowd in attendance for both games as Westminster College held an in-person alumni weekend for the first time since 2019. Game One was a high-scoring back-and-forth affair that saw the Blue Jays with an 8-7 lead going into the sixth inning of play. Sadly, for the Blue Jay fans in attendance, the Jays could not hold on to the lead and would lose to the Griffins, 9-8, in a thrilling game. After the emotional rollercoaster that was game one, the Griffins wanted no part of having a similar scenario in game two and ran away with it 13-2. With the two wins, Fontbonne improved to 7-1 in conference and 10-12 overall. The Blue Jays dropped to 2-2 in conference and 4-12 overall on the season.
Game One: Box Score
Erin Carr (Woodlawn, Il / Christ Our Rock Lutheran) got the start for the Blue Jays in game one and had a solid outing, pitching three and two-thirds innings. She struck out three batters and held the Griffins' offense in check until the fourth inning.
The Griffins struck first after a lead-off single, a steal, and then another base hit to score the run to put them up 1-0. After the run scored, Carr settled in and retired the next two Griffin hitters.
In the bottom of the first, the Blue Jays responded after a Laney Rosson (Columbia, Mo. / Battle) single, and this started what would be a great day for her at the plate. Raigan Mckee (Oologah, OK / Oologah) would hit a double to score Rosson and tie the game. Raegen Dickinson (Ozark, MO / Ozark) would single to put runners on first and third. Kasey Ginder (Kirkwood, Mo. / Kirkwood) stepped to the plate in a big spot. Looking to score in the run, she would hit a ground ball to third. On the throw to first, McKee broke home and beat the tag in a bang, bang play to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.
The Griffins would tie it in the third at 2-2. Then, in the fourth inning, they would score five runs. Bailee Zemianek (Wentzville, MO / Holt) came in to pitch with a runner on first and second, with two outs. She was asked to close the door on Griffin's rally and prevent any more damage from being done. She gets the out on a ball hit right back at her. She would glove it and get the out at first.
The Blue Jays had remained quiet after the first inning until Kelsey Logan (Fulton, Mo / South Callaway) came to the plate to lead off the bottom of the 5th with her team down 7-2 and things looking bleak. Logan would start a Blue Jay rally with a single. Emily Esquivel (San Diego, Ca. / Eastlake) kept it going with a single of her own. Rosson would record her second hit of the day to keep the line moving with another single. McKee came up to bat with the bases loaded and smoked a ball to the right side of the infield, which resulted in a line out to the second baseman. But Logan, with a heads-up play, stayed on third to tag up and scored on the play. Esquivel would also advance to third. With the runners on first and third, Dickinson stepped up to bat. Rosson would steal second during the at-bat. After the steal, Dickinson would hit a line drive single and score Esquivel and moved Rosson up to third. Kayleigh Fike (Eldon, Mo. / Eldon) would pinch run for Dickinson at first. Ginder kept the momentum going, getting a base hit to score Rosson. Ginder and Fike would move up to second and third after a passed ball. With Janae Shirk (Springfield, Mo. / Pleasant Hope) at the plate, she would score Fink on a base hit. Maddie Marrero (Columbia, Mo. / Rock Bridge) stepped to the plate for the first time in the game. She came in to play right field on a double switch earlier in the game. Marrero hit a single to score Ginder. Zemianek would ground out to the pitcher, but Shirk broke for home on contact and scored. Logan came to the plate for the second time in the inning. She would draw a walk to keep the rally that she started going. Esquivel would ground out to the shortstop to bring the inning to an end. When the dust settled, the Blue Jays scored six runs on seven hits and had the lead 8-7.
The stunned Griffins finally got to bat again at the top of the sixth. Zemianek was still on the mound and looked to close the game to give the Blue Jays a huge conference win at home. Zemianek struck out the first batter of the inning. Then a fielding error put a Griffin on base, they would steal second. The batter would then hit a single to put runners on first and third. A single to left would score the runner from third to tie the game at 8-8. McKee would throw the runner on first out trying to steal second base. With two outs and a runner on third, the Griffins would hit a double to left field to score the go-ahead run, going up 9-8.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Jays looked to bounce back to either tie the game or get the lead back. Things looked promising after Rosson hit a leadoff single and then would steal second. McKee drew a walk. Dickinson also drew a walk to load the bases. Ginder stepped to the plate with no outs and the bases loaded, looking to tie the game. She would put the ball in the play and would reach on a fielder's choice. The Griffins would get the force out at home for the first out of the inning. Shirk would strike out swinging for the second out. Marrero hit a sharp ground ball to the shortstop, but in a stroke of bad luck, the shortstop would tag the runner out, going from second to third to end the inning.
Zemianek singled to center field to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Logan and Esquivel would both ground out. With 2 outs and a runner on second, Rosson would step to the plate as the last hope for the Blue Jays. She hit a missile to left field, but to everyone's dismay, it hooked foul. Had it been fair, it would have been a walk-off two-run home run. Alas, it was not meant to be. Rosson would hit another fly ball to left field and the left fielder would catch it to end the game. The Griffins hung on to win game one 9-8.
Rosson had a big game for the Blue Jays, going three for five and two runs scored. Dickinson, Shirk, and Zemianek would all record two hits.
Zemianek also pitched three innings and a third on thirty-five pitches. She got one strikeout and gave up two runs on four hits.
Game Two: Box Score
The Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning in game two and would run away with it 13-2. It was all Fontbonne. The Blue Jays scored a run in the fourth inning after a Rosson double. Then would score again in the bottom of the fifth on a Carr single to right field.
Rosson, Carr, and Dickinson would all go 2-3 from the dish. Carr and Rosson would have the RBIs that scored Logan and Ginder.
Haley Miller (O'Fallon, MO / Liberty) got the start in game two. She pitched two innings. Zemianek would pitch an inning and a third. Andee Raysik (Kingsville, MO / Lone Jack) would close the game out, pitching an inning and two-thirds.
The Blue Jays are back in action on Sunday when they travel down I-70 to St. Louis to play a doubleheader against the Webster University Gorloks. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.