HARRISONBURG, Va.- It took three extra innings but in the end, the Randolph softball team was victorious. The WildCats took the first game of a doubleheader over host Eastern Mennonite 8-7 on Saturday in 10 innings.
The Royals led 1-0 after two innings as EMU scored on a walk with the bases loaded. Randolph scored three times in the top of the third to go ahead 3-1 but Eastern Mennonite responded with a pair of runs in the bottom portion of the inning.
EMU led 6-3 after five innings as Beck Hoskins hit a three-run homerun off WildCat starting pitcher Lindsey Chaney (Charlottesville, Va./Covenant School). For the second time in the game, the score would be tied as the WildCats battled back to make it 6-6. Madison Brown's (Forest, Va./Jefferson Forest) RBI double got the 'Cats to within one run and Courtney Lucado's (Buchanan, Va./James River) two-run single tied it all up to eventually send the game into extra innings.
In the Randolph eighth, Blair Epperson (Nathalie, Va./William Campbell) stole home to put the WildCats ahead 7-6. In the bottom half of the inning, Hoskins' RBI single tied the game up once again to push the contest to a ninth inning.
In the top of the 10th, Delaney Nuckols (Rockville, Va./Patrick Henry) laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Abbi Pannill (Prince George, Va./Prince George) from third and put the 'Cats ahead 8-7. In the EMU 10th and the runner placed on second, Sydney Reath singled to center field and advanced to second base on the throw. Emily Davis rounded third and tried to score but was out as Nadia Tibbs (Lynchburg, Va./Brookville) threw to Lucado, who applied the tag. Chaney then induced a pop up for the second out and struck out the last batter for the WildCat win.
Chaney went the distance as she tied a career high with 10 innings pitched. She allowed eight hits on seven runs (five earned) and walked six. Her 12 strikeouts are a season-best.
The Randolph offense tallied a season-high 14 hits and stole eight bases, which are the most since 2013. Brown was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, one run batted in, and a stolen base. Lucado collected a season-best three hits and brought in three runs. She also stole two bases. Tibbs was 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored, two stolen bases, and one run batted in.
In the second game, EMU led 1-0 after one inning of play and eventually went ahead 4-0 after four innings. Randolph picked up a run in the fifth on an Epperson RBI single and another one in the sixth on a Brown RBI single to bring the score to 4-2. The Royals tallied a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to increase their lead to 6-2.
The WildCats looked to rally in the seventh inning. Briana Harbison (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) led off with a walk and was followed by Danielle Shannon (Greenville, Va./Riveheads) taking a free pass. Epperson reached on a fielder's choice that got Harbison out at third base. Nuckols singled to load the bases. Rachel Lee (Clifton, Va./Centreville) hit into a fielder's choice that got Epperson out and Brown grounded out to second base to end the game.
Pannill took the loss for Randolph in the circle. She went four innings and surrendered four runs on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout. Shannon pitched the final two innings and gave up two runs on six hits with one walk.
Epperson was 2-for-3 with a run batted in. Lee and Taylor Craft (Altavista, Va./Altavista) both had doubles and scored a run each.
The WildCats conclude the regular season tomorrow in Ashland as they take on Randolph-Macon. Game times will be at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.