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MU caps weekend with walk-off

Hunter Little hits first career walk off ending the Marauders five game weekend tournament in South Carolina. Photo courtesy of MU Athletics

Kat Vasquez
Associate Sports Editor 

The Millersville University Women’s softball team went on the road to play in the annual  Snowbird Freeze-Off Tournament at Market Commons Complex in the beautiful, warm and sunny Myrtle beach, South Carolina. The tournament went on from February 15th to the 17th. Millersville went up against four major college NCAA teams (Goldey-Beacom, Merrimack, New Haven, West Virginia, and Georgian Court.)

The Marauders defeated Goldey-Beacom college, 8-4, in the second of two games. Millersville had a long tough battle against Merrimack College, but was unfortunately beaten 2-1. During the first game against Merrimack College, the Marauders struck first in the bottom of the fourth when outfielder Faith Willenbrock doubled to the right field gap, scoring was Rebecca Blatt from second. In the top of the fifth inning, Merrimack pushed through with two runs, earning a 2-1 lead for the Merrimack Warriors. Luckily the Marauders made a comeback, thanks to Allie Janowiak walking in the bottom of the fifth inning. Willenbrock hit a double to the left field gap, letting Janowiak advance to third. Warriors got Maggie Murphy out at second, ending the threat between the Marauders and Warriors. Willenbrock went in and went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

At the start of game two against Goldey-Beacom College, the Marauders held a 5-1 lead after a bottom of the second home run by Hunter Little to left field, tying the game at 1-1. The 5-1 lead first began with Janowiak hitting her own home run towards center field. Blatt kept the momentum going by hitting a double. This double helped score for Madison Wenig who pinch ran for outfielder Devan Masciulli. Willenbrock then followed Blatt by hitting her own double, scoring and carrying out a 4-1 lead for Millersville. Goldey-Beacom responded with a three run, four hit top of the fifth inning that included a home run and RBI singles. That inning cut gave a lead to 5-4 for the Marauders. After Alexis Staniec singled, Janowiak then hit the ball into the left field gap to bring in Alexis Staniec into score, thus giving Millersville a 6-4 lead.

The second day of the Snow Bird Freeze-Off, Millersville won with a 2-1 win against New Haven University. However those sunny rays quickly turned into cloudiness and rain, thus having a rain delay against Georgian Court. After the delay, the Marauders were crushed by Georgian Court University with a final score 9-1. Millersville University left the tournament with a  2-2 record against the teams.

The Marauders struck first in the bottom of the second in game one against New Haven University. It started off with Faith Willenbrock who lead-off with a triple. Sophomore Brianna  Battavio kept patient on her swings and walked, recording her sixth in three games since the season opener. Maggie Murphy ripped a double into the right field gap, bringing home two runs. The New Haven Chargers answered and snapped back in the next half inning, scoring one run on a single by Jovanna Hillman, thus cutting the Marauders’ lead down to one. Along with Hillman, New Haven’s pitcher Ava Fitzmaurice went all six innings, giving up just four hits but walked four. Marauder Kasey Murphy went 1-for-2 on the day with the double and a walk. Three others Marauders Alexis Staniec, Rebecca Blatt and Allie Willenbrock, each had one hit during game one.

Game two against Georgian Court University, The Lions inginated right away at the start of the game, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Georgian Court early start came from a three-run home run and two RBI singles. Despite that first inning, the Marauders came out strong and fought back with Marissa Trezza hitting a home run to left field in the fourth, extending the Marauders lead to 8-0 in the end.

The Marauders finish their trip to Myrtle Beach with a 3-2 score against West Virginia University.  West Virginia Yellow Jackets dropped to 6-2 at the tournament. In the bottom of the fourth, the Marauders answered swiftly with their first run. Devan Masciulli hit a RBI single, bringing home Maggie Murphy from second. However, the Yellow Jackets whacked a third home run in the top of the sixth by Kasey Murphy, returning the lead to two.

The Marauders’ victorious win began with outfielder Alexis Staniec drawing a walk in the first inning. Head coach Jen Probst put in Catherine Johnson to pinch hit and Johnson singled out to left field. Following Johnson’s single, Brianna Battavio was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Hunter Little then cleared the bases with her first career walk-off grand slam.

The annual Freeze-Off Tournament witnessed Millersville start out strong for their 2019 season. Head Coach Jen Probst said,  “We checked off a lot of things we wanted to accomplish this weekend. We were competitive in every game. We hit the ball in the air far more than on the ground and we were able to get some balls out of the park all while continuing to bond as a team. We were also able to identify som areas we really need to work on to prepare for PSAC play.”

Tune in for Marauders first home game as they go against Bowie State University on Saturday, February 23rd at Seaber Softball Stadium.