Hilltopper Softball earns eight wins over busy spring break

While West Liberty students enjoyed their spring break, the grind didn’t stop for the Hilltopper softball team, who completed a slate of 10 games over a five-day stretch last week. The Toppers enjoyed a successful week, winning eight of ten to improve to 8-8 on the season after an 0-6 start to the year.

Spring break began with a pair of games on March 4 for the Toppers in Mount Olive, N.C. against Mercy College and the University of Mount Olive. West Liberty cruised to a 9-2 victory in game one of the day versus Mercy behind homers by Riley Conkle and Annie Paterson, scoring their first victory of the young season. The Hilltoppers were shut out in their second game of the day by Mount Olive’s Lauren King.

The Hilltoppers returned to action the next day with another pair of games. Their first match against Mount Olive was a scoreless tie for the first five innings before a two-run homer by Riley Conkle broke the ice in the sixth inning, leading to a 4-1 victory for West Liberty. The second game of the day saw another victory for WLU, with a five-run fourth inning proving to be the difference in a 7-2 victory for the Hilltoppers.

Head coach Herb Minch’s Hilltoppers traveled to Charlotte, N.C. on March 6 for a two-game set against Alderson Broaddus and Queens University. West Liberty’s pitching staff put on a clinic in their first game of the day against ABU, with Makenzie Amend and Taylor Bonnett combining to pitch a one-hit shutout, striking out a total of 17 batters in a 4-0 victory. The Toppers looked poised for another win in their second game of the day versus Queens, but a three-run home run by Jordyn Thompson in the sixth inning gave Queens a 5-4 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

On March 7, WLU softball traveled to Richmond, Va. for a doubleheader versus Virginia Union University. The Toppers trailed in the first game of the day 3-0 through three innings before scoring 10 unanswered runs en route to a 10-4 victory. Makenzie Amend put up a dominant start in game two, pitching a complete game shutout and striking out a staggering 14 batters. Amend pitched three days in a row, allowing just one run in 20 total innings pitched.

For the final day of their grueling spring break stretch, the Toppers traveled to Shepherdstown, W.Va. for a doubleheader against Shepherd University. A five-run third inning in game one lifted West Liberty to a 5-1 victory as Riley Bennington and Taylor Bonnett held Shepherd at bay from the mound. Annie Paterson pitched a complete game shutout in game two, striking out nine batters as West Liberty cruised to a 6-0 victory to complete their spring break and make it back to .500 on the season.

West Liberty softball will be back in action Wednesday, March 16 in Salem, W.Va. against Salem University. For more information about West Liberty University softball visit hilltoppersports.com.