DUNCAN, S.C. – Converse (0-10) softball fell by the scores of 2-1 and 12-6 to St. Andrews (7-5) on Sunday afternoon at Tyger River Park.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 1, ST. ANDREWS 2
The Knights took an early 1-0 lead with a single run in the top of the first. Following a leadoff out, Nikki Santiago singled to shallow left before swiping second base and moving to third on a fly out to right. That set up Lexi Dawson's RBI single to left.
Converse came back in the bottom of the first with a run of its own to knot the first game 1-1. Marissa Steadman drew a leadoff walk before stealing second. A strikeout followed by a wild pitch moved Steadman to third. Meredith Quarles reached on a fielder's choice and also stole second, placing runners on second and third with two outs. Allison Plafcan came through with a two-out single past the third baseman to push across the Valkyries first run.
The Valkyries were presented with a golden opportunity in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mackenzie Wenz led the frame off with a double to left center. After an out, McKayla Davis had an infield single and Moriah Gomez coaxed a walk to load the bases with one out. However, a pop up to the shortstop and soft groundout ended the threat and left the game tied at 1-1 after four innings of play.
St. Andrews posed a threat of its own in the top of the fifth after putting runners on first and third with one out, but a stellar defensive effort from the Purple and Gold kept the Knights from scoring the go-ahead run.
The Knights broke the deadlock in the top of the sixth with a run that scored on a wild pitch. Converse looked poised to tie the ballgame in the last of the seventh after Steadman led the frame off with a single to right before moving to second on a beautiful sacrifice bunt from Jena Massing. However, the Knights defense came up with a big play to get Steadman out going to third and the final batter fouled out to first to end the game, leaving the Valkyries on the losing end of a 2-1 contest.
Steadman (0-5) tossed a complete game but took the loss after allowing two runs over 7.0 innings. S.K. Brown also threw a complete game for SAU and improved to 3-3 on the season.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 6, ST. ANDREWS 12
The Knights struck first in game two after posting two runs on three hits in the top of the first. Cassie Fortner produced an RBI double while Ashlyn Dial came through with a base hit that scored the second run of the inning.
A pair of defensive miscues by the Purple and Gold in the top of the second helped St. Andrews balloon its lead to 5-0.
Converse put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the second following a single by Davis and a hit-by-pitch taken by Anna Bennett, but a lineout and strikeout kept the Valkyries off the board and the score remained 5-0 in favor of the guests after two full innings of play. Amanda Shaffer added a two-RBI single in the top of the third to increase the Knights' lead to 7-0.
St. Andrews tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 9-0, but Converse finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth, plating two runs to avoid the run-rule and send the game to the sixth. Massing ripped a single up the middle for the Valkyries first run while Allison Plafcan reached on an error, allowing Mariah Gomez to touch the plate and trim the deficit to 9-2.
After SAU scored three runs in the top of the seventh to make it a 12-2 game Converse came back in the bottom of the last inning with one of its best half innings of the season, plating four runs on four hits. With two outs Massing doubled down the right field line and came home to score after a Taylor Stewart single up the middle. The next two batters walked to load the bases prior to Anna Bennett's RBI walk. Mariah Blackmon followed that with a single to center that scored two more runs.
However, the following batter fouled out to end the game and St. Andrews escaped with the 12-6 win and series sweep.
Jianna Pellegrino (0-2) was credited with the loss after going just 1.1 innings and allowing five runs on five hits while Nancy Amos (3-1) picked up the win.
Converse will return to the diamond on Tuesday, February 20 as it plays host to Augusta. Game one is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.