Softball goes 3-3 in Lindenwood Invite Tournament [Photo Gallery]


Photo by Joshua Calloni

Third basemen Lauren Pelton prepares to throw a ball across the diamond after fielding it at third base in a game against Western Illinois University on March 3.

Joshua Calloni, Sports Editor

This past week, the Lions softball team kicked off the home portion of its 2023 season, hosting a four-day, six-game tournament, titled the Lindenwood Invite.

Lindenwood hosted three opposing colleges, including the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Western Illinois University, and the University of North Dakota. Over the course of the tournament, the Lions went 3-3, which improves their overall season record to 5-11.

Lindenwood kicked off the tournament on Saturday, playing the University of Green Bay, dropping the contest narrowly by a score of 4-2. The Lions’ offense mustered seven total hits, including two from first baseman Tori Hatton, who also drove in one of the teams’ two runs. The other was driven in by center fielder Mya Bethany. Also of note, reliever Molly Heidrick came into the game in the sixth inning, pitching two innings, only allowing one hit, and striking out two of the seven batters she faced.

The next three games the Lions played were against Western Illinois University, with one game being played on Saturday, and two more on Sunday. The Lions managed to take two of the three games.

The first win came during the Saturday matchup, as Lindenwood won by a score of 3-1. The team rode the momentum of a very strong pitching performance by starting pitcher Amanda Weyh, who pitched all seven innings, only allowing four hits, an unearned run scored because of an error, and striking out four batters. Bethany, playing center field, doubled in another run during this game, and left fielder Irelynn West doubled in two more, making the score the finalized 3-1.

The team dropped the first of two games on Sunday, by a score of 9-6. The game was tied after the regulated seven innings and went to the 10th inning before Western Illinois scored three runs, from which the Lions could not recover. Catcher Jolie McMinn drove in two of the team’s runs, joined by Hatton, Bethany, and Dallis Darnell, who each drove in a run of their own.

In the latter half of the Sunday games, Lindenwood bounced back to beat Western Illinois by a score of 13-9. The Lions’ offense exploded, as their 13 runs marked a season high. The charge was led by Hatton, who knocked three more hits and drove in four additional runs. Bethany had four additional hits, reaching base each time she came to the plate, driving in two runs of her own. Third baseman Lauren Pelton and designated player Whitney Kinser also had nice games, driving in five combined runs, three for Pelton and two for Kinser.

“Ahead of these games I felt a lot more confident in myself than I had in the previous games,” Hatton said. “Starting as a freshman is a scary thing and I didn’t want to fail. However, once I got over that fear and just decided to play the way I know how to, I started to do really well.”

While Monday didn’t see the Lions playing any games, the team returned Tuesday to wrap up the tournament with a doubleheader against the University of North Dakota. The team again split the games, winning one and losing one.

The first of the two games saw a Lions win, shutting out North Dakota by a score of 8-0. Weyh pitched another scoreless game, going the full six innings, allowing only four hits, and striking out five of the batters she faced.

She finished the tournament pitching 13 innings, striking out nine, and allowing only one unearned run to score. The offense was no slouch either, scoring eight runs, three of which came from second baseman Chloe Honchar, who hit a bases-clearing double in the 1st inning. Mya Bethany also drove in two more runs, on two hits, in this game.

In the final game of the tournament, the Lions lost to North Dakota by a score of 7-5. Of note in this game, the Lions hit their first home run of the season, coming off the bat of catcher Morgan Gersch, driving in teammate Theresa Snaidauf in the process.

The Lions will not have a scheduled tournament now until the end of their season when the Ohio Valley Conference tournament comes around.