Lady Lions split on opening day of Florida Softball

Shelby Jolliff finishes her throw from behind the dish.
Shelby Jolliff finishes her throw from behind the dish.

Titusville, Fl. - The Lady Lions kicked off the 2017 season on Sunday with a pair of games on the Florida space coast against United States Collegiate Athletic Association opponent Iowa Wesleyan and NCAA Division II Bloomfield College. 

Sophomore Samantha Varela pitched five innings of one run ball in the opener, while freshmen Kiana Lukoskie and Sarah Coolbaugh recorded four of Hazleton's eight hits against Iowa Wesleyan, powering the Lady Lions to a 10-1 win over the USCAA foe. But the bat's cooled in the second game of the day. Hazleton would manage just three hits against the Bears of Bloomfield who tagged the Lions for 14 knocks, taking the nightcap game by the score of 11-0 in five innings.

Game 1: Hazleton 10, Iowa Wesleyan 1 - Final, 5 Innings

Top Performers

Varela pitched a complete game five innings for Hazleton, allowing just one earned run on four hits while striking out four batters. Varela added two scores and one RBI, going 1-for-2 at the plate with a home run. Sarah Coolbaugh sparked Hazleton's seven run, third inning with a two RBI double and finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. Kiana Lukoskie earned a pair of hits in the first three innings, ending the game 2-for-3 at the dish with a run scored, one RBI and a stolen base. 

Sydnee Stalker brought in the lone score for Iowa on a single in the first frame, finishing the game 1-for-2 at the plate. Samantha Mcllwain was tagged with the loss in the circle, allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks.

Bottom 1st

After surrendering the lead to Iowa in the top half of the inning, Varela quickly knotted the score in her first plate appearance with a solo blast to right field. After a pair of walks to sophomore Vanessa Michael and freshman Erin Schmick, Lukoskie drove in the go ahead run with a single, then forced a throw on a stolen base, allowing Schmick to give the Lady Lions a 3-1 advantage.

Bottom 3rd

Hazleton loaded the bases with no outs and tacked on a run on a passed ball. Coolbaugh then delivered at the dish, breaking the game open with a two run double. Hazleton would tack on a total of seven runs on four hits in the frame to surge ahead for good and evoke the mercy rule in five innings.

Game 2: Bloomfield 11, Hazleton 0 - Final, 5 Innings

Top Performers

Four different Bear's hitters recorded two RBI each in the 11-0 win for Bloomfield. Mariah Frazier and Paige Lafferty each went 1-for-3 with a run scored while Kiersten Coho and Mykayla Moody both went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. 

Stephanie Miller earned the win for Bloomfield tossing five shut-out innings with one strikeout in the circle. Miller went three and a third innings of no-hit ball before allowing the first of Hazleton's three hits.

Freshman Breann Fetterman, Erin Schmick and Vanessa Michael each singled in the game for Hazleton three knocks in the losing effort that saw the Lions earn just four total base runners.

Mary Kate Penczkowski was saddled with the loss against the Division II opponent in her first outing in the circle for the Lady Lions. The freshman threw all five innings for Hazleton, allowing eight earned runs on 14 hits while striking out two batters.

Top 1st

Following an error and pair of singles for Bloomfield, Lafferty singles to give the Bears the early 2-0 lead after their first at bat.

Top 3rd

Bloomfield broke the game open with seven runs on five hits in the third frame. With a pair of runs already on the board, Moody doubled and Frazier tripled, each driving in a pair of runs in the process. Frazier would tack on the seventh run of the frame, scoring on a wild pitch to give the Bears a 9-0 advantage.

Top 5th

Hazleton would get the first two batters out via the ground ball but three straight singles by the Bears would load the bases. Coho would follow with a double to plate the final two runs of the game.

Next up

Hazleton is back on the field at 8:00 a.m. in Titusville where they'll face Iowa Wesleyan once more. The Lady Lions will follow that contest with a 10:30 a.m. ball game against NAIA opponent Shawnee State University as spring softball continues in Florida