Hilltopper Softball celebrates senior day with pair of victories

The West Liberty University Hilltopper softball team was back in action this week as they took on Concord University in a home doubleheader on Sunday, April 10, looking to improve on not only their total record of 19-12-1, but also their conference record, which stood at 9-3 entering play.

The Hilltoppers started the day by celebrating their seniors before game one. WLU honored ten seniors, with the most wins in team history, which included Makenzie Amend, Katie Beeman, Riley Bennington, Katelynn Blair, Taylor Bonnett, Lauren Garcia, Julia Hahn, Annie Paterson, Lauryn Simmons and Kaitlyn Wheeler.

Just after being honored, Amend took the circle for West Liberty in game one of the day. Looking to improve upon her already impressive 1.76 ERA on the season, Amend started off by striking out the first two batters, and the Mountain Lions didn’t fare much better than that as long as they were facing her. She finished the game with six shutout innings, two hits, no walks, and 13 strikeouts. Taylor Bonnett closed the game out with a scoreless seventh inning. Cleanup hitter Grace Swigart’s RBI single and Katie Beeman’s 2-RBI double were more than enough to give the Hilltoppers a win, improving their season record to 17-2 when they hold their opponent to two or fewer runs.

The second game of the day was a bit more eventful on the offensive side of the ball. The Hilltoppers pounced on Concord starting pitcher Rachael Koller, scoring a pair of runs in the first and another pair in the second to chase her from the game. When the game looked like it was slipping from the Mountain Lions’ grasp in the fourth inning, third baseman Sarah Thompson crushed a three-run homer to bring it back to a one-run game. The Hilltoppers answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring another pair of runs on a double by Kayla Mancuso, her second hit of the day. West Liberty opened the door for Concord, with two runs directly resulting from a passed ball to make the score 6-5 in favor of the Toppers in the fifth inning. Mancuso’s fourth RBI of the day came in the sixth inning, as she tripled to score leadoff hitter Sidney Little. The breathing room provided by that run was just enough for the Hilltoppers to hang on, as a seventh inning rally came up short for Concord and a flyout with a runner in scoring position left them with a 7-6 final score in favor of WLU.

West Liberty softball will be back in action on Friday, April 15 as the Toppers take on Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va. For more information on all things West Liberty athletics, visit hilltoppersports.com.