Slap, steal, repeat: Softball’s offense on a roll

Randy Speer, The Circuit

Benedictine softball has won five of its last six games, picking up three conference wins in the process. Three of four weekend games were concluded with the run rule, taking down Peru State 10-1 and 14-6 then York College 9-0 and 10-3.
Getting runners on and being aggressive on the base paths helped set the tone for the weekend, Benedictine head coach Dana Goss said.
In the Saturday doubleheader against Peru State (9-23, 2-8 Heart), the Lady Ravens opened with a 10-1 win over the the Bobcats. Freshman catcher Courtney Parker helped lead the charge going 3 for 4 with a double and a home run.
Parker continued her hot streak in game two as the Lady Ravens won 14-6. She went 2 for 4 with a double, but it was the top of the Benedictine (16-14, 4-4) line-up that did some of the heavy lifting.
Seniors Sierra Esau and Alexis Richardson combined for six hits and five runs as the one-two punch.
“When we get our slappers going at the top of the lineup we have something a lot of teams don’t,” Goss said. “That set the tone. Really Sierra and Alexis… exploited the defenses with their bats.”

Freshman Sarah Methvin prepares to lead off. Photo by Randy Speer
Freshman Sarah Methvin prepares to lead off. Photo by Randy Speer

Sunday fared similarly for Benedictine as they took down York College 9-0 in five innings in the first game.
Senior Kaite Ricklefts threw a no-hitter in the shutout, striking out four.
In the final game of the weekend, Benedictine used an 8-run second inning to cruise to a 10-3 win.
In the second the Lady Ravens combined for 9 hits. Richardson hit a two-run triple, that was followed by a Parker home run. Freshman Brook Lee followed with double off the wall, but two Panther errors allowed Lee to score.
York answered in the top of the third with three runs of its own. Freshman pitcher Nikki McNeil allowed four hits before settling down and inducing an inning ending double play. McNeil allowed one in the final four innings.
Benedictine scratched a run across in the bottom of the third, but could not put the nail in the coffin with an additional run to end the game prematurely.
“Well, you’d think I’d be really happy because we run ruled three out of four people and won 10-3, but I feel like we should have won in a run rule there too,” said Goss. “So I guess, just never satisfied.”
Everything was clicking for the Lady Ravens as they notched 43 runs on 57 hits in four games. Benedictine also stole 32 bases. They rank second in total bags stolen with 106, averaging nearly four swipes a game – the best rate in the NAIA.
The offense continued to roll as they took on MidAmerica Nazarene (13-9, 5-5) on April 5 with a 9-2 win. Parker led the offense once again going 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a home run. She was named the Heart Player of the week for her performances.
Benedictine dropped their first game in nearly two weeks in the second game, falling 4-1 as the offense only mustered three hits.