April 20, 2013 - Saturday's two GLIAC softball games unfolded in very different fashion, but the Hillsdale College softball team couldn't be happier with the result.
Hillsdale increased its current winning streak to five games after sweeping conference newcomer Walsh University 11-1 and 6-5 on a cold afternoon at Johnny Williams Field. The Chargers are clawing their way back into conference postseason contention, and are now 8-14 overall and 7-8 in the GLIAC.
The Chargers remain home Sunday, hosting Lake Erie College for a twinbill starting at noon. The team's six seniors will also be honored at the senior day ceremony, which will take place prior to the start of the opener.
One of those seniors, second baseman Miriam McKay, was one of several heroes in the nightcap, when he blasted a two-out, two-run double to center field that scored sophomore Courtney Day and senior Teresa Patterson with the tying and go-ahead runs. McKay's hit capped an incredible five-run seventh inning that saw the Chargers come back from a 5-1 deficit, pulling into a 6-5 lead.
Sophomore Katie Ardrey earned her second win of the day with an eight-pitch seventh inning, capping a day that saw Ardrey's grit and character help the team as much as her talent.
In the game's first six innings, the Chargers lost the offensive firepower they displayed in the first game, being limited to just one run and one hit entering the seventh. Freshman Sarah Grunert got the rally started with a head-first slide into first base on an infield single, beating out the throw by milliseconds. After a fielder's choice and a walk, sophomore Jessica Day put a perfectly placed infield single into play to load the bases with one out.
Ardrey scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2, then sophomore pinch hitter Jenny Bals had another infield hit to make the score 5-3. Sophomore Courtney Day then sliced a single to center that turned it into a one-run game, setting up McKay's heroics.
After pitching five innings while allowing just one run in the first game, Ardrey came into the game in a relief role in the nightcap and struck out two with no walks allowed in three innings. She also suffered a bad scratch on her chin from a foul ball in the first inning. But she shook off the injury and turned in a highlight performance for the Chargers.
Senior Taylor Schulty blasted a grand slam home run to spark a seven-run third inning in the first game for the Chargers. Senior Kate Hoop had two hits and two runs batted in during the 11-1 win, while freshman Danielle Garceau added two hits and drove in three runs for Hillsdale. Freshman Ainsley Ellison went 3-for-3 at the plate with one run batted in and two runs scored in game one.