STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan softball team hung on for a 2-1 win in game one of a non-conference doubleheader against Waynesburg before falling to the Yellow Jackets 15-14 in nine innings in the nightcap, Saturday.
"I think these are the two most complete games we have played all year," complimented head coach Jim Walker following the games. "We spent a lot of time working on our defense and especially our cutoffs this week and it paid big dividends with use eliminating quite a few of their runners."
Pitching was the name of the game in the opener as senior Jordan Cunningham limited Waynesburg to just to five hits and one run while striking out five.
After each team went 1-2-3 in the first, Waynesburg go the first baserunner of the day as the Yellow Jacket leadoff hitter reached on a Lady Baron error in the second. Cunningham didn't let the pressure rattle her and got out of the inning thanks to a pair of strikeouts.
Franciscan broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the second as the Lady Barons took advantage of timely Yellow Jacket errors and hit the ball well. With the bases loaded and one out, senior Lindsey Finch singled to right field and brought home freshman Ashley Kondracki.
Cunningham continued to cruise and allowed just five baserunners over the next four innings to keep Waynesburg off the board. Franciscan pushed its lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth. Finch led off the inning with a double to right and freshman Dennise Carrazco singled her home.
Waynesburg got its only run in the top of the seventh as Mackenzie Smith led off the frame with a home run to left. Cunningham worked herself out of the inning and picked up the win in the first game.
The second game was a different story, however, as the Yellow Jackets opened the game with four runs in the first to take a 4-0 lead. Franciscan quickly answered and plated three in the home half of the frame. In fact, the Lady Barons plated two runs in every inning after that until the bottom of the sixth. Carrazco, Kathleen Thompson, Kayla Anderson, and Cunningham each had a pair of hits in the second game.
The Yellow Jackets were then held scoresless until the sixth when they plated four to cut the lead down to 11-8. Waynesburg tied the game in the top of the seventh with three runs and after keeping the Lady Barons off the scoreboard that tinning, sent the game into extra innings.
Thanks to the international tie breaker rule, each team was able to plate a pair of runs in the eighth to extend the game. Waynesburg scored two more in the ninth to take a 15-13 lead.
Anna Ames was placed on second in the bottom of the ninth and promptly stole third for Finch. Finch sent the ball deep into center field and allowed Ames to come home. Franciscan was unable to get its equalizer despite Carrazco hitting a scorcher to right and the game came to a rest at 15-14 in favor of Waynesburg.
"It was really frustrating letting game two get away from us but was really proud of how the girls battled back after down by four so early," continued Coach Walker. "If we get pitching like we did today out of Jordan and Ashley, I like our chances this year.
"Today was a total team effort as everyone made positive contributions to what we are trying to accomplish as a program."
The Lady Barons welcome La Roche to Steubenville next Saturday for a 3:00 pm double head to open AMCC action.