BLACKSBURG, Va. –The Emory & Henry College Softball Team traveled to Virginia Tech on Saturday, September 28 for three games versus Virginia Tech, Radford University, and Southwest Virginia Community College. The Wasps dropped their first two games before bouncing back for a game-three victory. The Hokies defeated E&H by a final score of 4-2 while Radford picked up a 17-1 win over the Wasps. Emory & Henry won the final game of the evening, 15-5, over the Flying Eagles of SWCC.
Virginia Tech 4, Emory & Henry 2
In the Wasps' opening game, Virginia Tech claimed a comeback 4-2 victory. Senior shortstop Leanna Toler got the scoring started early with a solo home run in the top of the first inning that sailed over the left field fence. With the game knotted at one run apiece, E&H took the lead again in the top of the third inning. Sophomore left fielder Nicole Cox got the rally started with a bunt single then sprinted around to third base on a throwing error. Sophomore center fielder Anna Thomas followed with a squeeze bunt to plate Cox and give Emory & Henry a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the inning, the Hokies' Al Valazquez connected for a three-run home run to put Virginia Tech ahead for good. In the pitchers' duel, Virginia Tech's Keely Rochard and Emory & Henry's Alex Braun each held their opposition in tact as neither team was able to push a run across over the game's final four frames. Braun took the tough luck loss allowing just three earned runs, six hits, and one walk; she struck out two Hokies in the game and allowed just one baserunner in the final three innings of play.
Radford 17, Emory & Henry 1
The Highlanders rolled to a big win in the Wasps second game of the day. Senior Sofia Tapia led the way for Radford with a four-hit, six-RBI performance. Toler drove in Thomas with a RBI single in the third inning for the Wasps' lone run of the game. Cox reached base twice in the game with a single and a walk. Senior Tiffany Cole took the loss in the circle pitching the first three innings. Junior Cameron Derr struck out six batters during her four innings of relief work for E&H.
Emory & Henry 15, Southwest Virginia 5
Emory & Henry pounded out 20 hits on the way to an easy 15-5 victory in the nightcap. The Wasps jumped on the Flying Eagles for four runs in the first inning highlighted by an inside-the-park home run off the bat of Cox and an RBI-double from junior second baseman Kyndall Hiatt. In the second inning, a triple from Toler followed by a sacrifice fly from Cox made the score 5-0. After SWCC scored a run in the top of the third, the Wasps tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Freshmen Dacey Jenkins and Emily Scaggs got the rally started with a walk and a single. After a fielder's choice from Toler, Cox singled home Scaggs for her fourth RBI of the game. In the fifth inning, Emory & Henry pushed across two more runs with another Hiatt RBI double highlighting the frame. The Wasps closed the door on the game with a five-run sixth inning. Freshman Sarah Tiller, freshman Laken Crockett, senior Lyndsay Boyd, junior Mia Altizer, Cole, and Hiatt each collected base hits in the inning while sophomore Hailey Mince added a sacrifice fly. Hiatt ended the game with four hits, two doubles, and three RBI while junior third baseman Allyson Steadman, Toler, Cox, and Thomas added two hits apiece. Thirteen different Wasps had base hits in the game. Anna Thomas picked up the win in the circle allowing just two earned runs over five innings pitched. Cole shut down the Flying Eagles in her two innings of relief allowing no runs and striking out four.
Other Fall Highlights for Emory & Henry Softball
Team Henry defeated Team Emory three games to one in the Seventh Annual Emory & Henry Softball World Series. Team Henry was paced by junior Hannah Morrison, Thomas, Toler, Altizer, Cox, and Jenkins. Morrison had six hits and seven RBI in the series including a home run and a double. Toler collected a series leading nine hits, eight runs scored with three extra-base hits. Thomas pounded out eight hits in the four games while Cox, Altizer, and Jenkins had seven hits each. Braun earned two victories in the circle while Thomas picked up the clinching game-four win. For Team Emory, senior Alex Thomas and freshman Emma Banks led the way offensively with six hits each. Thomas blasted three home runs in the series including a seventh-inning game-winner in game two. Hiatt and Mince added five hits apiece for Team Emory while junior Kendall Varner, freshman Amanda Koeppe, and Cole had four hits each.
The team also participated in a couple of service projects this fall. The Wasps volunteered their time at the Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina where they fed dinner to around 100 people in need, many of whom are homeless. Assistant Softball Coach Jenae Morrissey organized the event for the team. She explained, "Taking our student-athletes to the Hospitality House to serve people in need– many of which were children and young teenagers was a humbling experience for all." Morrissey continued, "After we served, our players had the chance to express their gratitude for the blessings in their life. We take small things for granted every day - like a warm meal, warm clothes, and a place to lay our heads at night. We lose focus sometimes because of stress from school and ball. However, these types of opportunities where we can take our players to serve others is one of the things I love most about Emory & Henry Softball!"
In addition, the softball team contributed to the 23rd Annual All Sports Day for Girls. The popular community event saw over 70 girls visit Emory & Henry's campus to play various sports throughout the day including softball. Senior Caitlyn Yates has participated in the event for four years and believes that the event can leave a lasting impression on those who attend. Yates said, "It is an honor to get to participate in All Sports Day for Girls at Emory & Henry. I always look forward to this day because it is meant to empower women and show these young girls all the ways they can be powerful, especially through sports. Getting to see how excited they are about athletics brings absolute joy to my heart. "
Head Coach Tommy Forrester is excited about what he saw from his team this fall. Forrester commented, "The women on our team have worked extremely hard to be where we are. Watching us compete well against last season's ACC Regular Season Champion and ace pitcher shows a small glimpse of just how good we can be." He continued, "The team is doing great things both on and off the field. We are excited get back to work this offseason and continue to increase in excellence this spring. The sky is the limit for our team."
-Head Coach Tommy Forrester contributed to this article