STEUBENVILLE – For the first time in program history, the Franciscan softball team swept an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference doubleheader from visiting La Roche Redhawks, Wednesday afternoon. The Lady Barons won the first game 3-0 before finishing off the sweep with a 10-1, five-inning win in the second game.
Senior captain Jordan Cunningham dazzled in the circle for the Lady Barons in the opening game, tossing a two-hit shutout. Cunningham allowed just one runner over the minimum for the seven-inning game and struck out a pair of batters.
Franciscan struck first as freshman Kathleen Thompson singled with one out in the bottom of the first. Kayla Anderson doubled to right to bring home Thompson and give the Lady Barons a 1-0 lead. After another 1-2-3 inning from Cunningham in the top of the second, Franciscan added an insurance run in the bottom half of the frame. With one out and runners on first and third, head coach Jim Walker put on the double steal and thanks to the stellar first base coaching of Br. Nate Meckey, Lindsey Finch and Anna Fluharty pulled off the double steal with Fluharty scoring for Franciscan.
The Lady Barons scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth as freshman Dennise Carrazco drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home sophomore Anna Ames and push the Lady Baron lead to 3-0.
Cunningham carried a perfect game into the top of the fifth before it was broken up with back-to-back singles to lead off the fifth. Cunningham got an inning-ended double play to end the frame before any damage could be done. Cunningham did not allow another runner for the rest of the game and picked up her fourth win of the year.
Franciscan's bats were just getting warmed up as the second game began. La Roche and the Lady Barons traded runs in the first inning before Franciscan put up three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 4-1 lead. Finch went from first to third on a sac bunt and Carrazco walked to put runners on the corners. Thompson doubled to left field to clear the bases and eventually came home on a two-out singles from Ashley Kondracki for the inning's third run.
Franciscan blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth with a six-run, four-hit frame. All of the Lady Barons' runs in the fourth came with two outs. Thompson drew a two-out walk and promptly stole second. Anderson, Kondracki, and Cunningham roped three-straight RBI singles before Anna Ames reach on an error by the shortstop. Fluharty hit the first home run of the season for the Lady Barons sending a pitch deep over the left field fence to give the Lady Barons a 10-1 lead.
After being sidelined by an injury to start the season, freshman Jayln Effertz impressed in the circle in her first start of the season. Effertz shut down the Redhawks in the top of the fifth to bring the game to a close after five innings for the Lady Barons.
Effertz tossed 5.0 innings, and allowed just one run on six hits while striking out one and walking no one.
Franciscan will host Maine-Presque Isle on Friday in a non-conference doubleheader at 3:00 pm.