Wolves sweep doubleheader at Lincoln Memorial

Staff Report
Natalie Willis hit inside-the-park home runs in consecutive at-bats for Newberry. - Courtesy photo

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Newberry withstood a late-innings comeback by homestanding Lincoln Memorial with an extra-innings win in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader before closing the day with a high-scoring win in Game Two.

Natalie Willis provided a rarity at the plate for the Wolves (26-14, 7-5, SAC) hitting inside-the-park home runs in consecutive at-bats in the sixth and seventh innings of Game Two of the doubleheader, an 11-8 Newberry win.

The Wolves led Lincoln Memorial (20-18, 3-9 SAC) 6-2 after a three-run outburst in the top of the sixth inning of Game One. The Wolves already had a three-run inning on the books in the contest, crossing the plate three times with Sydney Patterson’s RBI single serving as the only hit of the second. In the sixth, Myranda Dills brought the first run of the inning home on a single before a Daphne Peyton single and a fielding error gave Newberry a four-run lead.

But the advantage would be short-lived as the Lady Railsplitters scored twice in the sixth and twice more in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. Lincoln Memorial advanced the potential game-winning run within 120 feet of the plate before Alyssa Ball recorded the final out on a ground ball back to the circle.

With the international tiebreak rule in effect, the Wolves scored their first run of the eighth inning on a sacrifice bunt and a Dills fielder’s choice. A second run scored on another RBI single by Patterson, with a play at the plate preventing the inning from continuing and the Wolves adding to their advantage.

Emily Marchbanks, who started the game in the circle and pitched the first six innings, was reinserted into the lineup and made quick work of the Lady Railsplitters, stranding a runner at third with three straight groundouts for an unconventional save. She worked seven innings in all, allowing four runs on seven hits. Ball earned the win in relief after pitching the seventh inning.

In Game Two, the Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and scored five times in the fourth inning, then scored twice in the seventh and staved off a Lady Railsplitters’ rally to win by an 11-8 count.

A two-run triple by Paige Meyer and a Wildes RBI single put the Wolves ahead in the first before the Wolves’ offense roared to life again in the fifth. The biggest blow came on a bases-clearing, three-run double off the bat of Haley Simonds, with Patterson and Natalie Willis recording RBI’s in the inning.

Willis showed off her speed later in the contest, leading off the sixth inning with an inside-the-park home run to right center. She repeated her feat moments later in the seventh, driving in a pair of runs on a ball that was initially caught in left center, but lodged free when the fielder collided with the fence.

The Lady Railsplitters went on to score four runs on five hits in the bottom of the inning, turning a seven-run deficit into three, before Marchbanks struck out the last two hitters with the bases loaded to complete the sweep. Chelsey Cunningham improved to 4-1 on the season with five innings out of the bullpen.

The win moves Newberry into a tie for third place with Queens in the South Atlantic Conference standings.

Natalie Willis hit inside-the-park home runs in consecutive at-bats for Newberry.
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_SoftballNCColor1.jpgNatalie Willis hit inside-the-park home runs in consecutive at-bats for Newberry. Courtesy photo

Staff Report