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April 4, 2013

Ravens pull out all stops in sweep

AU softball team tops St. Mary's

ANDERSON, Ind. — The Anderson University softball team got a double-header sweep on Thursday afternoon but had to use all the Belles and whistles to do it.

The Ravens scored five times in the sixth inning of the opener to break a tie on their way to a 7-2 decision. In the second game, the home team used a bit of everything to defeats its foe 6-5 in nine innings against the St. Mary’s College Belles.

“We found a way to win two close games, instead of playing just good enough to lose,” said AU coach Tony Holloway. “This was two big games for us to win.”

Anderson (10-8, 1-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) now goes to league foe Defiance on Saturday for a 1 p.m. double-header.

In both games, Shenandoah graduate Yardley Collett played a large role in the wins. In the opener, she hit a home run to center field, a drive so massive that it would have done damage to one or more vehicles in a parking lot beyond the fence if it hadn’t clipped the top of a 30-foot tree on its way down.

“Even when we come here for practice we park well back in that lot,” said Collett. “With the hitters we’ve got on this team, it only makes sense.”

Collett also started the five-run sixth by getting hit by a pitch with two strikes against her. “It was coming right at me and I don’t move that fast anyway,” said Collett. “I figured it would only hurt for a little while.”

After she reached base, freshman Katie McCool bunted for a single and pinch-runner Sorcha Cox went to second. Both of them moved up a base on stolen bases and then both scored on a two-out, infield single by senior Lauren Smith. Three more runs poured across when Amy Wuestefeld hit a bases-loaded triple.

The pitching victory in the game went to Greenfield freshman Sami Frazier, who gave up no earned runs and six hits in pitching the entire game.

The second game was much wilder. Frazier got the Ravens on the board first with a solo homer in the second as she batted as the designated player. “That one felt good because I had been in a little bit of a slump,” said Frazier.

AU piled up a 4-0 lead after four innings. Collett had a sacrifice fly and two more runs came on a Belles error.

But the visitors scored a run in the fifth and another in the sixth. They tied the game with two runs on four hits in the seventh.

The game then went to the international rules of starting each extra inning with a runner on second base. In the top of the eighth that worked for St. Mary’s as a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly made it 5-4.

The Ravens were an out away from defeat with a runner on third when Sam Steele singled sharply up the middle to tie the game and send it to the ninth.

The Belles tried the same strategy in the ninth. The runner on second went to third when the first hitter lofted a deep fly ball to right field. At that point, Holloway brought Frazier back into the game to try and get a strikeout. The move worked, but not the way it was planned.

The hitter was Jillian Busfield, who had homered in the fifth for the Belles. “I got the ball inside where I wanted it, but she turned on it,” said Frazier. “Fortunately, Sorcha bailed me out.”

That would be Sorcha Cox, who was back at third base after spending a couple of innings as catcher. Cox speared the line drive going toward the line and she managed to keep her feet and momentum going to tag the runner before she could safely return to third for the inning-ending double play.

Now the Ravens only needed a run for the win and a sweep.

Katie Lee started on second base and went to third when Wuestefeld bunted her to third. That brought Collett to the plate and St. Mary’s decided to pitch to her. “I was just looking for a line drive through the infield,” said Collett.

It was a one-hopper up against the right field fence bringing Lee home with the winning run.

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