HICKORY, N.C. – Offense was at a premium for the Converse (2-22) softball team as it dropped a pair of games to South Atlantic Conference opponent, Lenoir-Rhyne (19-4), on Saturday afternoon. After scoring 14 runs the prior day the Valkyries could not get anything going on the offensive end, dropping the first game 12-1 before falling in the nightcap, 11-0.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 1, LENOIR-RHYNE 12
The Bears used the long ball in the first inning to blow the game open, scoring six runs on seven hits, three of those hits being of the homerun variety, to take the early lead. All the runs scored in the bottom of the first were after the top two batters were retired relatively easily.
Converse's defense held strong in the second inning, keeping L-R from adding to their lead and the offense got one of the runs back in the top half of the third. Makayla Davis led the frame off with a single up the middle before moving to second on a base hit by Erin Rios. The next two batters were set down in order, but Allison Plafcan kept the inning alive with a base knock of her own to center, allowing Sydney Moss, who ran for Davis, to touch the plate and trim the deficit to 6-1.
However, the Bears came back in the bottom of the third with six more runs on seven hits to extend the lead to 12-1 after three. The Valkyries could not put anything else together over the next two innings and fell by way of the mercy rule in game one by the same score.
No player for Converse recorded more than one hit in the first game of the twin billing, while L-R's Meredith Cates led all players, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 0, LENOIR-RHYNE 11
Just like game one, Lenoir-Rhyne put pressure on the Vals early, scoring five runs over the first two innings to sit comfortably ahead 5-0 after two full innings of play.
Converse threatened in the third inning, putting two runners on with one out, but a twin killing ended the threat and left the Valkyries off the scoreboard. The Bears went down in order in the third, but broke the bats open once again in the home half of the fourth, stringing together four hits that accounted for six runs. The big blow came off the bat of Cates, who blasted a grand slam to right center.
Down 11-0 heading to the fifth, the Valkyries needed four runs to extend the game. Jena Massing drew a leadoff walk, but would not move any farther around the base pads as the two strikeouts and a pop-up gave L-R the game two win and series sweep.
The Vals will be back in action on Tuesday, March 11 as they return to Tyger River Park to play host to the Mississippi University for Women. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m.