MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill softball team fought to a split with non-conference opponent Lees-McRae (9-12) on Sunday afternoon at Ponder Field. The Lions (6-12) took game one by the final of 7-5 before dropping the nightcap, 7-6.
GAME ONE: MHU 7, LMC 5
The first two innings were quiet as each team mustered a single hit over their first six outs. Mars Hill had a great chance to push ahead in the bottom of the third after Ragan Broome and Cassidy Dahle collected back-to-back hits with two outs. However, a fly ball to right field ended the threat and kept the game scoreless.
When presented a better opportunity to score in the bottom of the fourth, the Lions did not squander it. Casey Stanek led the frame off with a solid single through the middle and Emiley Burriss followed with a double to the left center field gap. Taylor Lail put the Lions on the board, collecting the third straight hit to start the inning, allowing Stanek and Burriss to score and give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
The scoring was not over there as the Lions loaded the bases with one out and Broome came through with a clutch single to center, plating two more runs and Dahle added a sacrifice fly to balloon the lead to 5-0 after four.
Lees-McRae put together a legit threat in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but Stanek settled in and forced a groundout to preserve the lead for the Lions.
Mars Hill tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Stanek led the inning off with a hustle double to left field and stood on third following two outs. Kaleigh Jonas stepped into the box a crushed a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall for her third bomb of the season, giving the Lions a 7-0 lead late.
The Bobcats finally broke through in the top of the sixth, cashing in four runs with a two-outs to cut the deficit to 7-4. MHU allowed a single run in the seventh, but the defense buckled down to earn the 7-5 win.
Stanek (2-3) earned the win after pitching 5.2 innings and allowing four runs on nine hits to go along with four strikeouts. Sydney Elkin earned her first save of the year, retiring the final two batters to secure the victory. Taylor Stallings (1-4) was tagged with the loss, giving up seven runs on 11 hits.
Stanek led the Lions at the plate during game one finishing a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Broome, Lail, and Jonas added two RBIs each in the winning effort.
GAME TWO: MHU 6, LMC 7
Mars Hill picked up where it left off in the late stages of game one as Ragan Broome went yard for the first time this year on the second pitch of the contest to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
Lees-McRae came back in the top of the second with a three-spot, capped off by a two-RBI single from Kara Cunningham. The Bobcats added to that lead with two more runs in the third and led 5-1.
After three uneventful innings the Lions got the bats going again in the bottom of the fifth. Krista Romine led the frame off with a single back through the box. After an out Broome earned a walk to put runners on first and second. Cassidy Dahle delivered a RBI hit before Kaleigh Jonas unleashed a 2-1 pitch over the left center field wall for her second homerun in as many games, tying the game at 5-all.
However, Lees-McRae capitalized on two defensive miscues by the Lions in the top of the sixth, pushing back ahead 7-5.
The Lions looked poised to tie the contest in the bottom of the seventh. Jonas drew a leadoff walk and following an out, Addison Harris ripped a double past the right fielder that put runners on second and third with one down. Pinch hitter Emiley Burriss produced a run with a sacrifice fly, but the next batter grounded out and Mars Hill dropped game two, 7-6.
Sydney Elkin dropped to 2-3 on the season after she was issued the loss. Elkin pitched 4.1 innings and gave up only one earned run (two total), while scattering just three hits. Gabrielle Moyer improved to 4-0 for the Bobcats, tossing 7.0 innings and giving up six runs on 10 hits.
Harris led the charge from the plate during game two, finishing 3-for-4. Jonas finished with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Broome also touched the plate twice. Sarah Stallings and Caitlin Ray each had two hits for the Bobcats, while Kara Cunningham chipped in two RBIs.
The Lions will complete their six-game homestand on Wednesday, March 8 as they play host to the Mountain Lions of Young Harris College. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.