The Maple Leaf softball team was finally able to play on a dry home field inside the John Ingold Athletic Complex as they took on conference foe Bethel College in a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon.Junior Emily Cummings got the start for the Leafs in the first game as she looked to improve on her team-leading 5-3 record. She did just that, dealing a full seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits, striking out six.
The Pilots struck first in the opening inning off an RBI groundout from Shelby Prows, but the two hits in the inning was all Cummings was going to allow.
The Maple Leafs got on the board in the bottom of the second as they remained patient at the plate, drawing two walks until junior Katherine Boyer knocked in a run off an RBI groundout. Cummings then sat down the next three hitters for the Pilots and quickly got the offense back on the field for the Leafs.
The bats for Goshen erupted in the bottom of the third as they started off back-to-back singles before sophomore Leah Herrman batted in the second run of the game for the first Goshen lead of the day. Then Cummings helped her cause in a dramatic way, launching a two-run home run down the left field line for her first career home run as a Maple Leaf.
That two-run bomb was contagious for the Leafs as the very next pitch out of the Pilot pitchers hands was sent over the fence once again as junior Sandra Rodriguez crushed her first home run of the season in back-to-back fashion.
In all, the Leafs scored four in the third to take a 5-1 advantage on which they would not look back on, taking the game 8-1. Cummings retired 16 straight allowing the first run of the game.
Rodriguez and sophomore Jessica Bachtell led the way for the Goshen offense, both going 4-4, knocking in a combined four runs. Cummings finished 2-3 with a double, home run and a walk.
The second game proved to be a more heavily contested one as Bethel’s offense was sparked after a slow first seven innings.
Goshen started the second game fast, scoring one run off of a Bachtell RBI single in the opening inning. The Pilots would respond right away in the top of the second after a bases-loaded walk drove in their first run of the game to draw the score even. In the latter half of the inning, Boyer put the Leafs back on top with a RBI single of her own.
Goshen would go on to score two more runs in the third inning off RBI singles from Herrman and Rodriguez. After the third, Bethel took control and owned the plate, scoring two in the fourth, three in the fifth and adding two more in the sixth to take a 8-5 lead heading into the final inning of the evening.
Down three, the Leafs put runners in position in the final inning as the bases were loaded with one out. A sacrifice fly from sophomore Cassandra Espinoza tightened the deficit to two runs, but it wasn’t enough as the Leafs fell in the second game, 8-6.
Rodriguez stayed hot in the second game, going 3-3 with another home run and a double, giving her a perfect 7-7 day with two home runs and five RBI. Sophomore Ri Koteles went 3-4 in the second game and Boyer rounded out the offense hitting 2-3.
With the split homestand, Goshen moves to 8-15 on the season and 2-5 in conference. Next, they will travel to Spring Arbor University to take on the Cougars on Saturday, Mar. 30. The first game of the doubleheader will start at 1 p.m.