TOP MOMENTS OF THE 2014 UMES SOFTBALL SEASON
May 20, 2014
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – Over two weeks ago (05/04), the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) softball team wrapped up its 2014 campaign against rt. 13 rival, Delaware State University (DSU). Despite a rebuilding season, the Lady Hawks showed glimpses of a promising future.
Looking back on last season, the young squad took on tough non-conference competition and battled their conference foes to the end. Let’s take a look at their top moments of the 2014 season:
#1: UMES GIVES NORFOLK STATE FIRST CONFERENCE LOSS OF THE SEASON
Prior to the season, Norfolk State University (NSU) was predicted to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Northern Division whereas the Lady Hawks were forecasted to finish seventh. The Spartans came into the series undefeated in MEAC play (6-0) while Maryland Eastern Shore suffered four consecutive losses at Coppin State University (CSU) and the University of Delaware (UD). NSU won the season-series, 2-1, but not before UMES gave the Spartans their first taste of defeat in conference play.
Norfolk State scored two first-inning runs, including a solo homer from MEAC All-Conference Second Teamer Kayla McNair, to take an early advantage, 2-0. In the bottom second, the Lady Hawks capitalized on the Spartan’s errors as they rallied four runs and took their first lead of the game, 4-2. Next inning, back-to-back lead-off singles by freshman Alexis Hudson (Laurel, Del.) and sophomore Emily Diseroad (Manchester Valley, Md.), followed by a sacrifice fly from sophomore Kaitlyn Hitch (Delmar, Del.) had runners in scoring position. Next at-bat, sophomore Trenece Nash (Decatur, Ga.) grounded out to shortstop and drove in Hudson to extend their lead, 5-2.
The Spartans answered with a run in the fourth to cut into the deficit, 5-3, but Maryland Eastern Shore mustered up another run in the six as a RBI-triple down the right-field line by senior Chelsea Alston (Matawan, N.J.) drove in freshman Ciara Schnyder (Arcadia, Calif.). In the final inning, Hitch came in and picked up her first career save as the Lady Hawks won, 6-3.
In the game, the Lady Hawks tallied six runs on eight hits, led by Alston going 2-for-4 with two triples. Hitch and fellow sophomore Abria Tinsley (Sewell, N.J.) held NSU to three runs (two earned) on six hits.
#2: LADY HAWKS SWEEP HOWARD
In sports, it’s very difficult to defeat an opponent three times in a season, especially your rivals. In this case, the Lady Hawks were able to achieve this rare occasion by sweeping Howard University in a three-game series. As a result, the team swept a conference opponent in a three-game series for the first time since April 2008.
After two innings of scoreless softball in Game One, the Lady Bison crossed the plate three times in the top of the third to take an early lead, 3-0. UMES responded in the bottom half of the inning as they scored three runs, including a two-out two-RBI double from Hitch, and tied the contest, 3-3. Both teams were scoreless in the fourth, but Maryland Eastern Shore put together a late rally as they tabbed three runs in the fifth to win, 6-3.
In Game Two, UMES jumped out to an early lead after junior Morgan King (Danville, Ill.) drove in Alston, 1-0. Howard battled back as a solo shot from Jasmine Gammons made the contest deadlocked, 1-1, until the Lady Hawks exploded in the bottom second with five runs to reclaim the lead, 6-1. After back-to-back scoreless innings in the third and fourth, the Lady Bison added a run in the fifth, 6-2, but Maryland Eastern Shore answered with senior Cherokee Williams (Upper Marlboro, Md.) swiping home to take the second game, 7-2.
In the series finale, after back-to-back walks from Alston and sophomore Vanessa Gomez (Belleville, N.J.), King singled to leftfield to load the bases with no outs. Next at-bat, Nash drove in the first run of the day as she sac flied to leftfield, bringing home Alston, 1-0. UMES added another run in the inning to take an early lead, 2-0. Howard responded in the second, scoring a run to cut the deficit, 2-1, but Maryland Eastern Shore answered with two more runs in the bottom second to extend their lead, 4-1. Lady Bison scored a run in the next three innings, but the Lady Hawks were too much as they won, 9-4.
In the series, freshman Allison Anderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) recorded four hits total in the first two games while King went a perfect 4-of-4 in the Game Three victory.
#3: LADY HAWKS SECURE FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
Maryland Eastern Shore opened the season winless (0-5) at the Charleston Southern Tournament in Charleston, S.C. Despite facing stiff competition, the Lady Hawks were poised to get into the win column at the North Carolina A&T Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Due to inclement weather, the squad cancelled their previous scheduled bout against Saint Francis (Pa.) University; thus, forcing an encounter with another team looking for their first win, Rider University. The contest went back-and-forth, but a late rally from UMES secured their first victory of the season.
Alston started the contest with a lead-off walk, followed by King reaching base on a walk. Maryland Eastern Shore scored first on a single by Diseroad, 2-0. The Broncs responded, scoring a run in the first and second innings and tied the game, 2-2. In the bottom third, Rider took their first lead of the contest by scoring three runs to take a commanding lead, 5-2.
Early on, UMES was unable to find any success as the Broncs’ Montana Berg held the Lady Hawks scoreless in the next three innings after giving up the game’s first two runs. In the fifth inning, Maryland Eastern Shore broke through to score three runs, including a two-run shot from Nash, and tied the contest, 5-5. In the next inning, UMES momentum continued as they scored another three runs to reclaim the lead, 8-5. In the seventh, the Lady Hawks had an offensive outbreak, scoring seven runs on seven hits, including a grand slam from King to seal the deal, 15-6.
Maryland Eastern Shore had an offensive explosion as they tallied 15 runs, including 13 in the final three innings. King set the tone for UMES as she went 2-for-3 with a game-high seven RBIs and a late-inning grand slam. Nash contributed by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two homers while freshman Kelly Cullen (Fruitland, Md.) notched her first-career collegiate victory for UMES in relief.
This season was a true learning curve for the team as they face tough competition throughout the season. The squad showed their inexperience, but demonstrated their potential at times. Gazing into next season, the Lady Hawks bring back several key contributors as they look to compete in the MEAC Northern Division.
For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com.