After a rough start to the season, the Augusta softball team has clawed its way back to .500 after a brutal stretch of playing eight games in seven days. They won three of their last four to get to 4-4 on the year.
After dropping to 1-3, the Orioles started their week with a road doubleheader against the Wellington Crusaders. In the opening game, Kourtney Divine blasted a two-run home run as the Orioles jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second inning. Bailey Pennycuff later hit a single, then stole second and reached third on an error. Caitlyn Divine drove her in with a base hit for a 4-0 lead.
The Orioles weren’t done in the inning. Taylor Hinnenkamp followed that with a single and raced around to third on another Wellington error. Sophie Johnston drove her in with a two-RBI knock to push the Orioles’ lead to 6-0. Katie Payne kept it going with an RBI double to right field for a 7-0 lead.
Augusta added three more runs in the third inning for a 10-0 lead. Wellington broke up the shutout and led 10-3 going to the fifth inning.
That’s when Payne added another two-RBI double. The Orioles tacked on one more to lead 13-5. They eventually built a 15-4 lead going to the bottom of the sixth, then held the Crusaders in the bottom of the inning for the sixth-innings run-rule win by that 15-4 score.
Game 2 looked like it would follow a similar path. Alison Macari hit an RBI single for an early 1-0 lead, but Wellington came back with three runs to lead 3-1 through the first inning. The Orioles’ deficit swelled to 5-1, but they came storming back to lead 7-5 in the fifth. Payne came through with a clutch RBI single to score Kourtney for an 8-5 lead in the sixth.
Wellington would not be denied, though. The Crusaders cut their deficit to one at 8-7 in the sixth. Pennycuff tried to give the Orioles enough insurance runs with an RBI triple, then later scoring for a 10-8 lead. But Wellington scored a run and loaded the bases with one out, then came through with a clutch two-RBI double to pick up a walk-off 11-10 win to stun the Orioles.
Augusta only had a two-day turnaround before playing another pair of road games Wednesday at Winfield for a rain makeup doubleheader. But the Orioles came through with a sweep of the Vikings with wins of 5-2 and 10-6
Kourtney Divine and Johnston both stayed hot at the plate in Game 1 against the Vikings as they collected three hits apiece. Madison Wheeler added two hits and an RBI.
It was Gracie Johnston who stepped up big in the circle for the Orioles. She got a complete-game victory by allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, and striking out a cool dozen Vikings. Winfield only got three hits off her. Gracie didn’t allow any walks.
In Game 2, the Orioles’ offense came alive even more in Game 2. Payne finished with three hits and three RBIs. Wheeler, Kourtney, Raine Harman, Macari and Pennycuff all added two hits apiece. Macari had two RBIs.
Macari picked up the complete-game victory. She threw four strikeouts while allowing five earned runs on nine hits and only one walk.
Augusta will get a much-needed break before returning to action for a home doubleheader Thursday, April 20 against Rose Hill.