DUNCAN, S.C. – The Converse (0-18) softball team fell by scores of 5-2 and 8-4 to the visiting Mars Hill Lions on Saturday afternoon at Tyger River Park.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 2, MARS HILL 5
The Lions jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after scoring a single run in the first followed by three more in the second inning of play. Kayleigh Jonas was able to collect a pair of RBIs to pace the Lions early. That lead grew to 5-0 in the fourth when Jonas tallied her third RBI of the contest with a single through the left side that plated Hollie Norris.
After the Valkyries offense struggled through the initial five innings of play the bats came to life in the bottom of the sixth inning. After an out led the frame off Marissa Steadman collected a single to center field and advanced to second as Allison Plafcan reached first on an error by the MHU defense.
A walk loaded the bases to set up Meredith Quarles, who singled through the right side, allowing two runners to come in to score and cutting the deficit to 5-2. However, the next two batters produced outs and the threat was halted at just the two runs. That would be all the runs scored in the contest as Mars Hill held on for the 5-2 win.
Mckayla Davis tallied a team-high two hits in three at-bats for the Vals, while a trio of other players chipped in one hit each. Steadman tossed 5.0 innings and allowed 10 hits and five runs, falling to 0-9 on the season, while Christiana Marasa improved to 3-2 after going 6.0 innings and giving up two runs on five hits.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 4, MARS HILL 8
Addison Harris produced a sacrifice fly in the top of the first to give MHU the early 1-0 lead. Although the Valkyries didn't even the score, starting pitcher Jianna Pellegrino settled down and retired the Lions relatively easily in the second and third innings.
However, Mars Hill extended the lead in the top of the fourth on two-run homerun by Bobbi Jones, making the score 3-0 in favor of the guests. The Valkyries finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth, closing the gap to 3-2 after a two RBI single by Plafcan, plating Jena Massing and Mackenzie Wenz, who both collected base hits earlier in the frame.
Mars Hill was able to push the lead back out to two runs (4-2) in the top of the sixth after an RBI double by Ragan Broome. Converse failed to score in its half of the sixth and the Lions blew the game open with four more runs in the top of the seventh, the big blow coming off a three-run homerun by Taylor Lail.
Converse made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs on three hits. With two outs and a runner on first Plafcan singled to left center and Mariah Blackmon followed that with a walk to load the bases. That set up Quarles, who singled to right field, allowing Plafcan and Massing to score. However, the next batter flew out and the Lions held on for the 8-4 victory.
Pellegrino took the loss and fell to 0-4 overall as she tossed 6.2 innings while allowing six runs on eight hits. Casey Stanek ran her record to 3-2 after throwing 4.2 innings and giving up two runs on three hits.
The Valkyries will be back in action on Tuesday, March 6 as they travel to Wingate, N.C. to face the Bulldogs in non-conference action. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.