SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo Lions softball team (14-6, 1-0 SSC) opened up conference play on the right foot on Friday evening when they defeated the visiting Barry University Buccaneers (11-6, 01 SSC) by a score of 7-1 from University Stadium.
Senior Megan Still took the mound for the Lions in the win, tossing a 6-inning complete-game while striking out six and allowing just one earned run. The win improved Still's record to 7-1 on the year.
The Barry Buccaneers were the first to put a run on the board, scoring one run in the top of the first inning after a triple from Barry senior Sarah Broeseker scored freshman Megan Copeland. The run would be Barry's only run of the contest.
The Lions answered back quickly, collecting three hits and three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Brittany Ewing led off the inning by sending a short one-out single to right field and using her speed to advance to second base. After a groundout to third base on the next play, Ewing advanced to third, and a hit-by-pitch for Chelsey Steedley put two runners on the bases. Senior Rachelle Gremo was the first to collect an RBI on the night, sending a single to right field to score Ewing and advance Steedley to second. After a successful double steal effort, the Lions had two runners in scoring position, just in time for sophomore Kelsey LaNeave to single up the middle and score both Steedley and Gremo for the last runs of the inning.
With Barry unable to get anything going on the offensive side of things, Saint Leo scored one run in both the third and fourth innings to increase the run margin. In the bottom of the third, Rachelle Gremo sent a pitch screaming to the left-centerfield fence and slid into third base for a triple. The next batter, Kelsey LaNeave, was able to capitalize on the then-tired Barry pitcher, Alexis Yohe, and rip a single to right field and score Gremo for the fourth run of the game. With a new Barry pitcher in the bottom of the fourth inning in the form of Taylor Sabol, the Lions were able to adjust their bats and score yet another run on the Barry defense. Sophomore McKenzie Burns led the charge for Saint Leo, singling to the pitcher with two outs on the board. After stealing two bases, Burns was sent home by an outfield single from Ewing, which put the Lions ahead, 5-1.
The Lions collected two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to fundamental offensive efforts. With no outs, Steedley singled to the third baseman, and swiftly stole second base to put herself in scoring position. Two quick outs later, junior Kylee Hardesty laid down a bunt for an infield single that allowed Steedley to advance to third. With sophomore Angela Kafalas pinch-running for Hardesty, sophomore Torrie Weindorf sent a single up the middle, scoring both Steedley and Kafalas for the Lions' final runs.
In total, the Lions collected ten hits and nine stolen bases on the night.
The Saint Leo Lions will return to action on Saturday, Mar. 2, when they conclude their opening Sunshine State Conference series against the visiting Barry Buccaneers. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 1:00 p.m.
For more information on the Lions softball program, be sure to visit Saintleolions.com. Also, make sure to Like the Lions on Facebook and Follow the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.