OWU softball takes care of business at home


By Tony Carter

For the Gazette

The Ohio Wesleyan softball team, with nine wins already under its belt, added to its strong early-season resume by sweeping away 15-win Mount Union in a doubleheader showdown Thursday at Margaret Sagan Field in Delaware.

Senior southpaw Katie Chittum took the mound for the opener — a 4-3 Bishop (11-4-1) win. After tossing a scoreless first, the Purple Raiders (15-4) managed to get the bats going. Sophomore designated player Brooklyn Schlabach singled up the middle, followed by a double to center field at the hands of sophomore catcher Faith Kiko, which put Mount Union in the driver’s seat. A sacrifice bunt by freshman left fielder Kyndall Hahn drove in Schlabach, giving the Purple Raiders an early 1-0 advantage.

After that, a pitcher’s duel broke out. Mount Union lefty Kendyll Cahill cruised through the first four innings of work. The sophomore entered the contest with an eye-opening 7-1 record with a sub-1.00 ERA. She showcased her variety of pitches, shutting down the Battling Bishops’ lineup.

Cahill only allowed two baserunners through her first four innings. That number doubled in the fifth, though. Following a groundout by junior first baseman Sophie Leohner, senior shortstop Rylee Anspach showed great plate discipline, forcing a base-on-balls and, when senior right fielder Rylie Moore skyed a fly ball toward right field — a ball Mount Union right fielder Tori Sickafoose got a bad jump on and couldn’t track down — Anspach raced home to tie things up.

Following two runs scored by Mount Union in the top half of the sixth, the Battling Bishops showed no quit, responding with a run of their own.

Senior third baseman Alyssa Back and freshman center fielder Chameron Vanden Eynden got things started with back-to-back singles. After playing some small ball, senior second baseman Sophia Cegledy bounced a ball to shortstop, picking up an RBI as Back scored.

In the seventh, with OWU down 3-2, senior catcher Sara Bias ripped a double to right center. Pinch hitter and junior Mckenna Tuttle, who was hit by a pitch, was able to score from first on the play, tying the game and awarding the crowd some bonus ball.

Chittum got out of a jam in the top of the eighth before the Bishops completed the comeback in the bottom half.

Vanden Eynden managed to use her speed to reach base via a bunt single down the third-base line, moving Back, who was placed on second base to start the extra inning per NCAA ruling, to third. Junior Avery Panozzo then sealed the deal with a sacrifice fly to dead center, walking it off for the Bishops.

Chittum threw eight innings en route to the win, giving up seven hits and three earned runs while fanning four.

In the nightcap, Ohio Wesleyan took advantage of some costly errors by the Mount Union infield unit on the way to a 5-3 win.

Back led off the bottom of the third with a single to right field. Vanden Eynden laid down a sacrifice bunt to keep things moving and, as Panazzo worked a walk, Back stole third on a ball in the dirt.

With runners on second and third, Cegledy reached base via a fielder’s choice and Back scored when Mount Union third baseman Emily Denney made a throwing error.

Following another fielder’s choice RBI by Leohnar, Moore drew a bases-loaded walk to bump the lead to 2-0.

Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Back and Van Eynden orchestrated another scoring opportunity for the Bishops.

With two runners on, Panazzo attempted to bunt them into scoring position. Her bunt popped up to Purple Raider third baseman Emily Denney, who made an impressive effort. Denney tested her luck when Vanden Eynden aimed to make it to second, though.

With no one covering the bag, Mount Union center fielder Faith Reicosky went to try and cover. Denney overthrew her as the ball rolled deep into the outfield, allowing Back and Vanden Eynden to score easily and make it a 5-1 game.

Mount Union plated two in the top of the fifth, but as darkness loomed, the Purple Raiders were running out of daylight. Sophomore pitcher Makenna Knisley shut down the Raiders’ lineup in the top half of the sixth and the game was called due to darkness.

Knisley got the win, her third of the spring. She tossed six innings, allowing seven hits, three earned runs and a pair of walks while striking out three.

Back went 4-for-7 between the two games, Vanden Eynden went 3-for-7 and Leohner went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the second game. Bias and Moore each picked up a hit and an RBI.

Next up, Ohio Wesleyan will take a trip up north as it takes on Adrian for another doubleheader Thursday in Michigan.

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