CLERMONT, Fla. – The Alverno softball team got its season off on the right start on Sunday as the Inferno took down the New England College Pilgrims by the score of 8-2 at the Hancock Sports Complex in central Florida. Later in the day Concordia-Moorhead knocked off the Inferno by an 8-4 margin in a closely contested matchup.
Sophomore Kaitlynn Schmick pitched the majority of the day with 11 innings in the circle as she factored into both pitching decisions on the day. She struck out 10 batters over her two outings, which included a complete game against New England College. Classmate Lauren Greif got the start in the second game and retired four batters before Schmick tossed the next four innings before senior Sam Korn made her collegiate pitching debut and struck out one of the two outs she recorded.
At the plate it was also Schmick to lead the way with three RBIs, which included a two-run home run to ice the game against the Pilgrims in game one of the day before adding another RBI in game two. Seniors Carina Jimenez and Andie Vandertie both notched four hits apiece on the day as the pair each drove in two runs on the day. Vandertie collected a pair of doubles, while Jimenez also had a two-base hit in the opener.
Also registering RBIs on the day were Greif, along with senior Dani Hood and junior Sara Redlin. Freshman Natalie Akin went 2-for-2 on the day, while seniors Mackenzie Mathies and Samantha Chapnick each had singles on the day.
Schmick retired the first batter of the season on a fly ball to Mathies in centerfield, she allowed a one-out single but then struck out the next two to end the threat. Vandertie led off the bottom of the first with a walk, three batters later Jimenez struck a ball into the leftfield corner that was bobbled. Vandertie dashed home and scored the opening run before the catcher's throw to third base went down the line allowing Jimenez to score the second run of the play.
Alverno's offense went back to work in the third as Mathies reached to open the inning, followed by a double that glanced off the top of the fence in left centerfield allowing Mathies to score from first. Senior Karli Selear pinch ran for Vandertie, ahead of a Jimenez single to bring around the pinch runner to put the Inferno up by four.
After striking out a pair in the fourth, Schmick ran into a speed bump in the fifth after yielding a leadoff double and a one-out walk. New England College loaded the bases with a bunt single, but Schmick held the line and struck out the next batter to strand the bases loaded. Alverno also loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but were unable to break through as the final two batters struck out for the Inferno.
In the top of the sixth, the first two batters reached for the Pilgrims, before Schmick retired the next two. A fielding error allowed the first New England College to score, followed by a double steal on the next batter allowing a second Pilgrim to score and trim the lead to 4-2.
The offense woke back up in the sixth inning as Mathies reached on a one-out walk followed by a Vandertie double to chase her speedy classmate home. Junior Kaitlynn Johnson ran for Vandertie and stole third ahead of Greif's RBI single. Up next was Schmick, who drilled a pitch over the centerfield fence to cap off the scoring at 8-2.
Alverno continued its hot start at the plate in the top of the first inning, Vandertie singled and moved up to second on an error. Selear pinch ran and moved up to third on a groundout ahead of Akin's walk to put runners on the corners with one down. Jimenez was up next and singled to drive home Selear; two batters later Redlin singled to drive in Akin to put the Inferno up by a pair with Greif heading to the circle for her first start.
In the bottom of the inning, Concordia-Moorhead trimmed the lead in half with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 heading into the second inning. The Cobbers put two runners on in the second, and the pair scored to give Concordia-Moorhead a 3-2 advantage.
Alverno tied the game in the top of the third as Akin opened the frame with a one-out single, followed by an infield single by Jimenez to put two on. Junior Brandi Rice walked to load the bases before Hood was hit by a pitch to bring home the tying run.
Neither side was able to score in the fourth or fifth innings before Alverno retook the lead in the sixth. Korn led off the frame with a walk, followed by an infield knock by Chapnick. A wild pitch moved the pair into scoring position before Schmick reached on a fielder's choice chased home Korn as Chapnick was erased.
The bottom of the sixth saw Concordia-Moorhead tied the game at four with a single, before loading the bases. The Cobbers got a big swing with the next batter as they hit a grand slam to left field to take an 8-4 advantage.
Alverno had to overcome a four-run deficit in the top of the seventh, but were unable to get a runner on base as the Cobbers won with the key late hit.