April 17, 2013 - Johnny Williams Field was a surreal scene throughout Wednesday's softball doubleheader between Hillsdale College and Malone University Wednesday evening.
The Chargers won their third game in a row, 8-0, over the Pioneers in the first game of a doubleheader that had been rescheduled from April 6, when Malone didn't have enough healthy players to play in a game. Game two was suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Hillsdale ahead 2-0 and a runner on first with one out.
The second game ended when a massive thunderstorm hit the Hillsdale area, bringing thunder and lightning.
The first game was delayed by 95 minutes due to the front edge of the aforementioned storm, which extended from Pennsylvania to Iowa throughout the day Wednesday. Rains flooded parts of the infield, but players and coaches on both teams worked extremely hard to get the field in playable condition, not wanting to cancel this first-ever GLIAC doubleheader between these schools a second time.
Once the game got going, sophomore pitcher Katie Ardrey took over from there, throwing a one-hit shutout, while tying a career-high with eight strikeouts in five innings pitched. She didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning.
At the plate, Ardrey helped herself out with two hits, including a double, a run batted in and a run scored.
Senior Taylor Schulty belted a three-run home run as part of a four-run second inning by the Chargers to put the team in front 6-0. Her shot was her 17th career home run, moving her into a tie for third place on the Chargers' career home runs list, tying the spot occupied by Brecken Libbe, who played at Hillsdale from 2006-08.
Freshman Ainsley Ellison celebrated her 19th birthday with two hits and two runs scored, while freshman Sarah Grunert, senior Kate Hoop and freshman Julia Kosco each banged out two hits for the Chargers in the win. Grunert, Kosco and Courtney Day each drove in runs for Hillsdale.
The bad weather brought dark skies with it in the second game, and the football stadium lights were turned on in the third inning to help brighten the scene as the teams raced through at bats in an attempt to complete an official game (5 full innings).
Schulty drove in her fourth run of the day with a double, and she later scored on a wild pitch to put Hillsdale in front 2-0. Had the bottom of the fifth inning been completed, the game would have gone final and been considered official. However, the rain delay to start the day prevented that from happening.
The game will be finished if it affects either team's ability to qualify, or be seeded for, the GLIAC Tournament.