CLERMONT, Fla.— The most winning coach in Capital University Softball history, hit another big career milestone on Thursday as Nan Payne recorded her 400th career win. Her 400th did not come without drama as the Crusaders used a big fifth inning to complete the comeback against Alma College. After the hard fought victory, Capital endured another tough game against Hanover College (5-3).
Game 1 vs. Alma College – W, 5-4
The Crusaders used a strong fifth inning to earn their fourth win of the season against Alma College. Capital looked to send a message early, as its first five batters hit the ball in play. Senior outfielder Kelsey Swain (Pickerington, Ohio) led off for Capital as she got on base with a single through the left side.
After two consecutive errors by the Scots, Swain crossed home plate for the first run of the game. Sophomore Marisa Koss (Ostrander, Ohio) doubled to centerfield to send in Maura Rose (Williamsport, Pa.) for the run.
Alma returned the favor in the top of the third inning when junior short stop Devan Olah dropped the ball into the left-field gap to get on second. A sacrifice bunt advanced Olah to third base. Freshman centerfielder Erin Lee entered the game to pinch run from first base before stealing second and causing an error from the Crusaders. The error brought Olah in for the score. The next at bat resulted in a bunt, as Lee scored from third to tie the game at two apiece.
The Scots gained momentum in the top of the fourth when Katherine Hybl doubled to center field. After Capital walked Olah, Alma brought in pinch runners, Kassidi Adams and Kelsey Spencer. Anna Couture slapped a single as short stop Julia Jennings (Dover, Ohio) and Rose connected to tag Spencer out at home. Alma took the lead when Laura Lusk double to score Adams from third base.
The Crusaders' big fifth inning started with singles from Brooke Billings (Clyde, Ohio) and Ashley Knowles (Canton, Ohio). Swain advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Brooklyn Staten (Grove City, Ohio) loaded the bases with a single.
Next, Leanna Cotton (Okeechobee, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to pull the game within one. Capital tied the game after Rose hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Staten scored the game-winning run once Koss singled to left field.
Koss paced the Crusaders with two hits and two RBIs. Billings received the win at pitcher, bringing her record to 2-1.
Game 2 vs. Hanover – W, 9-8
Capital jumped out of the gate scoring three runs in the first inning and four in the second. The second inning was capped off by sophomore catcher Kat Boyer (Huber Heights, Ohio) when she singled up the middle to bring rose in for the score.
Trailing 7-1, the Panthers began to gain momentum as they scored three runs in three consecutive at bats.
In the fifth inning, Hanover brought the game within one when Sidney Powers singled to score teammate, McKenzie Writt.
Cotton changed the tide of the game with one swing of the bat as she slapped a ball over the left field fence to help Capital take a two run lead.
Hanover refused to go without a fight with the bases loaded as Dabney Skutt scored after a batter was walked.
With one out and the score 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Billings took over at pitcher. The senior pitcher's first batter grounded out to Jennings. Staten made the final play to seal the victory when she caught Lyndsea Burke's pop up.
Staten recorded a game-high four runs as Cotton added three RBIs. Capital held a 13-10 advantage in hits.
With the wins, Capital improves to 5-1 to start the season. The Crusaders finish its spring break trip tomorrow with a 9 a.m. matchup with Houghton College (0-4). Followed by a game against Alma (3-5) at 1 p.m.