By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Softball had to work harder than usual for its win over Bethany College (W.Va.) on Monday afternoon. The Crusaders kicked off the work week with 6-5 and 4-1 wins over the Bison at Clowson Field, though it took a total of 20 innings and nearly five hours to get to that point. Brianna Reardon and Chevy Hayslett once again performed well in the circle, while Alyx Slusher came through with a walk-off base hit and a total of three RBIs over the course of the day.
GAME 1 - Bethany 5, Capital 6 (F/13 inn.)
It took 13 innings and nearly three hours to find a winner in game one of Monday's doubleheader between Capital and Bethany. Just when the Bison pulled ahead thinking victory was within reach, the never-say-die Crusaders returned fire and forced additional innings.
Bethany took an early one-run lead, Capital's Kristen Mellott tied up the game in the bottom of the fourth after legging out an infield single that was hit deep the hole between shortstop and third. Neither team scored again until the ninth inning.
Capital had a chance to end the game in the bottom of the seventh. Bailey Walter stood at third after hitting a one-out double and moving up due to a wild pitch. The Crusaders initiated a squeeze play, but Haleigh Luce's bunt was hit right back to pitcher Cassie Weiss. Weiss then came up throwing to the plate and the tag beat Walter to the plate for the out.
Back-to-back doubles in the ninth inning helped Bethany plate three runs to take a manageable lead into the home half of the frame, but Capital was not ready to roll over. Capital placed runners on the corners after Cory Mangen's infield single, then Walter drilled a run-scoring single to make the score 5-2. Erica Ogden also drove a run home with a fielder's choice and an errant throw moving all runners up one base. Chevonne Hayslett then tied the game with a two-out single to center field to take a 5-5 score into the 10th.
For a second time, the Bison and Crusaders swapped runs in the 10th inning before going scoreless in each of the next two stanzas. Capital then moved their placed runner from second to third with a sacrifice bunt, putting the winning run 60 feet away. Freshman Alyx Slusher (Rockford, Ohio/Parkway) then roped the game-winning hit into the left center field gap to score Hannah Martin from third.
Junior pitcher Brianna Reardon (Fremont, Ohio/St. Joseph Central Catholic) went all 13 innings and tossed a career-high 13 strikeouts while improving her overall record to 5-9. Her previous high was four which she tallied earlier this season against Johnson & Wales University.
GAME 2 - Bethany 1, Capital 4
The Crusaders' game-two victory came slightly easier and with a quicker pace. A pair of two-run innings and a complete-game effort by Chevonne Hayslett (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg East) completed the sweep.
Sam Binkley's walk to Slusher in the bottom of the first inning came back to haunt the Bison. Cory Mangen (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) launched a no-doubter over the left center field fence for her first career home run, which put Cap up 2-0 in the opening frame.
Two innings later, it was Slusher that extended Capital's lead. Freshman catcher Brianna Tucker (Grove City, Ohio/Grove City) started a two-out rally with a rope to the right center field gap and was followed by a Pam Vickers single. After Vickers stole second to place two runners in scoring position, Slusher battled and hit her second run-scoring base knock. Her single to left center plated two more runs for the Crusaders, building a lead that was more than enough for Cap to bring home the victory.
Hayslett (W, 1-3) earned her first collegiate win in the circle after throwing all seven innings and allowing just five hits and one run, which was scored on a sacrifice fly out in the fifth. She tossed a one-two-three seventh inning to close out the game.
Capital will prepare to keep its current winning streak going into Wednesday afternoon's doubleheader against Oberlin College. The Crusaders and Yeomen will begin play at Clowson Field at 3 p.m.