CANDLER, N.C. – The Mars Hill (12-30, 5-15) softball team wrapped up the 2017 season with a pair of losses to Coker College (37-15, 13-7) on Saturday afternoon at Griffin Park. The Lions fell by scores of 7-3 and 3-2.
GAME ONE: MHU 3, COKER 7
Hannah Smith led the charge offensively with two hits in her four at-bats, including a homerun. Jordan Harris also tallied a long ball for the Lions. Tayler Barcomb and Mindy North each went 3-for-4 for the Cobras.
Coker struck first in the top of the second with four runs off three hits and one defensive miscue by the Lions defensive unit. Augusta Jackson contributed a two-RBI single during the at-bat. Hannah Smith put Mars Hill on the board in the bottom half of the second with a leadoff homerun to left center, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
The Lions continued to chip away in the bottom of the third as Casey Stanek provided an RBI double to score Cassidy Dahle, who reached on an error by the Coker first baseman. However, MHU was denied a bigger inning as a groundout stranded runners on second and third.
Coker pushed its lead to 5-2 with a single run in the top of the fourth. Mindy North started the frame with a single and stole second and third before coming home on a throwing error by the catcher.
Mars Hill was presented with a golden opportunity in the home half of the fifth, putting runners on second and third with no outs, but was unable to score anything as three consecutive groundouts ended the threat and sent the game to the sixth.
After a three-up, three-down top of the sixth Harris entered the game for the Blue and Gold in a pinch hitting capacity and proceeded to demolish a ball to left field for a solo shot to bring the Lions to within 5-3.
Coker posted two runs in the top of the seventh on a solo homerun from Maria Williamson and an RBI single by Mindy North and the Lions went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, eventually falling to the Cobras in game one by the final of 7-3.
Sydney Elkin (6-8) took the loss after tossing all seven innings while allowing five earned runs on 12 hits. Taylor Forehand (11-2) collected the win, throwing five innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
GAME TWO: MHU 2, COKER 3
Game two had a slow start as neither team could gain any momentum on the offensive end through the first three innings of play. Coker broke through in the top of the fourth with a single run on two hits. Tayler Barcomb laced a two-out double to left and Lillie Otten followed with an RBI single to give the Cobras the 1-0 advantage.
That advantage did not last long as Mars Hill came back with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the fourth inning. After two quick outs, Hannah Smith drew a walk and Taylor Lail followed with a majestic two-run homerun to straight away centerfield, giving the Lions their first lead of the afternoon.
Coker took the lead right back with two runs in the top of the fifth. After the first two batters were retired with relative ease, four consecutive hits allowed the two runs to touch the plate. Cassidy Dahle limited the damage as she gunned a runner out at third trying to stretch a hit, recording her second outfield assist of game two.
The Lions put the tying run on in the bottom of the seventh when Ragan Broome opened the frame with a sharp single to right field, but MHU was unable to move a runner past first, dropping the second game of the twin-billing, 3-2.
Shelby Culler (3-8) took the tough loss in game two, firing a complete game while giving up three runs and scattering nine hits. Taylor Forehand (12-2) picked up the win in a relief effort for Coker, throwing 3.1 innings and not allowing a run on just two hits.
Head coach Monica Gordy and the Mars Hill Athletic Department honored its three seniors prior to the opening pitch of game. Sydney Elkin, Emily Crouse, and Shelby were among those honored for their contributions to the Lions softball program.