Red Hawks sweep Crusaders in softball program opener

Red Hawks sweep Crusaders in softball program opener

HICKORY, N.C. — Players and coaches on the Catawba Valley Community College softball team could not have envisioned a better start to their inaugural season on Monday.

Playing in the program's first-ever games against the Belmont Abbey JV team, the Red Hawks swept the doubleheader against the Crusaders at Highland Rec Center, including a 7-6 walk-off win in game one and a 10-7 victory in game two.

Game one: Catawba Valley 7, Belmont Abbey JV 6

Kelsea Dejarnette's RBI single between shortstop and third base in the bottom of the seventh inning completed a five-run comeback, giving the Red Hawks a walk-off victory in their program's first-ever softball game.

It was an ideal start o Monday's opener  for CVCC with Belmont Abbey taking an early 5-0 lead in the third inning. The Crusaders capitalized in the inning on two Red Hawk errors and four base hits, including an RBI double by Shelby Tracy and RBI singles by Tyler Lingerfelt and Allie Mendenhall.

First baseman Katie Wright drove in the first Catawba Valley run in the fourth inning on a single, which plated Dejarnette to cut the deficit to 5-1 through four complete innings.

Belmont Abbey made it a 6-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning, taking advantage of another Red Hawk error to plate another run on a Taylor Babcock RBI single to right-center field.

All six of the runs scored by the Crusaders in game one were unearned.

The Red Hawks mounted their comeback starting in the bottom of the sixth inning — scoring one run on a bases-loaded hit by pitch of Wright before left fielder Katelyn McClure cleared the bases two batters later on a three-run double to make it a one-run game.

Down 6-5 entering the final frame, left fielder Payton Goble led off the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a sac bunt by designated player Chesney Millsaps before the next batter — right fielder Zoe Dalton — drove in Goble's pinch runner Katie Camp on a single to tie the game.

After Paige Norton added another single, a wild pitch advanced Dalton to third and Norton to second, setting the stage for Dejarnette's game-winning hit.

McClure earned the win on the mound in relief. She allowed no runs, no hits and no walks and struck out one batter. Goble, who started the game on the mound, allowed seven hits, three walks and struck out six batters.

Game two: Catawba Valley 10, Belmont Abbey JV 7

The Red Hawks capitalized on 13 hits, including three apiece off the bats of Katelyn McClure and Paige Norton, to score 10 runs en route to the doubleheader sweep against the Crusaders on Monday afternoon.

Catawba Valley scored seven of its runs during the first two innings, including two in the first inning and five in the second inning, to take the early lead.

Kelsea Dejarnette and Hayley Morrow both had RBI singles during the early run, while McClure continued her hot play with a two-run double in the second inning.

The Crusaders responded with six runs of their own in the third and fourth innings.

Belmont Abbey's four-run fourth inning included three drawn walks and four hits — the biggest of which was a three-run home run by Morgan Mebane.

Walks once again plagued the Red Hawks in the fourth inning with three Crusaders drawing bases on balls, leading to two more Belmont Abbey runs.

CVCC responded to the scoring run, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning — two of those coming on a pair of RBI singles by center fielder Kinsley Gilmore and left fielder Katie Camp.

Belmont Abbey continued to fight until the last inning, but could only muster one more run in the sixth inning, which came on a wild pitch.

McClure earned her second win of the night on the mound in relief. She allowed one hit, one unearned run, one walk and struck out three batters in 2.2 innings. Goble earned the one-inning save.

Starting pitcher Chesney Millsaps allowed five hits, six runs and struck out two batters in her first outing of the season.

Fresh off its sweep Tuesday, the Catawba Valley Community College softball team returns to the diamond on Saturday for another home doubleheader — this time against Region 10 member Fayetteville Tech.

First pitch for game one of the twin bill is set for 2 p.m. at Highland Recreation Center.