The No. 7 softball team won all four of its home games against Lynchburg College (Va.) and Millsaps College (Miss.) as part of this weekend’s Emory Invitational. Six games were played in total, with Emory playing two games Saturday and two games Sunday. The Emory Invitational was the season debut for Millsaps, who had their first six games canceled, while the Lynchburg Hornets were 3-1 leading up to Saturday. The Eagles upped their season record to 11-1.
Emory and Millsaps opened the invitational with a dramatic extra-inning affair. Tie-breaker procedure was in use with the game tied at 5-5 after seven innings, with a runner placed on second at the start of every inning. Millsaps plated two runs to go ahead 7-5 in the top of the eighth, but sophomore slugger promptly tied the game with a two-run homer to reset the game.
Millsaps went ahead again in the top of the ninth, this time by a single run. In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore outfielder Ally Kersthold singled, moving sophomore Lauren Gorodetsky to third. Then sophomore second baseman Claire Bailey, who went 5-for-5 at the plate, erased another Millsaps lead with a run-scoring single. Two batters later, Light came through in the clutch for the second straight inning, this time lining a walk-off single which plated Kersthold for the winning run. Emory triumphed 9-8 in nine innings.
“There’s been a lot of times where we’ve been playing behind,” Light said. “At bat, I wanted to get it done for the team.”
Batting cleanup, Light went 4-for-5 with four RBIs. As heroic as her late inning escapades were, Light took a steady approach, especially with runners in scoring position in the ninth.
“I had the opportunity to come up with runners on,” Light said. “I was trying to put the ball in play.”
Sophomore Lena Brottman started the game, and was protecting a 4-0 lead as she toed the circle in the fourth. However, she yielded five runs, and junior captain Bridget Holloway entered with two outs. Holloway finished the game, pitching 5.1 innings for the win.
“Millsaps strung a couple hits together,” Brottman said. “Bridget was able to come in and change the pace of the game. We needed to take back control.
Bailey smacked a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game 5-5, and the score remained until the fated eighth inning.
The second game against Lynchburg Saturday was free of suspense. The Eagles lineup produced 11 hits en route to a 9-1 victory. Holloway earned her second win of the day.
Senior captain Jessica Boni went 3-for-3 with an RBI, and freshman catcher Micah Scharff and freshman shortstop Brooke Healey drove in multiple runs.
Sunday featured a rematch against Millsaps and Lynchburg, but in reverse order. The Eagles won 5-1 after a seven-inning complete game effort by Holloway, her third win in three games. Tied 1-1, Emory went ahead in the fourth off a pair of unearned runs. An extra two-run cushion in the sixth sealed the game. Gorodetsky, Scharff and sophomore Sophia Tarte each finished with one RBI, with Tarte driving home the game’s fifth run on a pinch-hit double.
Emory capped its weekend with another match against Millsaps, though all memories of Saturday’s back and forth game were erased after the Eagles scored in every inning but the second. Eclipsing the double digit mark in hits for the fourth straight game, the Eagles won 8-1 over Millsaps. Once again, Light feasted on Millsaps pitching, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, including her team-leading third home run, her second in two days.
Sophomore pitcher Amanda Kardys was also impressive, notching her first win after pitching 6 1/3 innings of two-hit ball. She walked none while striking out one.
“Amanda came in and did amazing,” Brottman said. “She came out ready to go, worked pitch by pitch. Her pitches were really working for her and she kept a strong presence.”
Kardy wrapped up a Sunday doubleheader which was more representative of the Eagles’ ability, according to Light.
“Although we won all four, we played to our standards Sunday,” Light said. “Everything came around. Hitting was on fire, and the pitching was awesome. We put everything together.”
The Eagles resume play at home next weekend with a doubleheader Mar. 3 against Transylvania University (Ky.) and Huntingdon College (Ala.).
— Contact Vincent Xu