We're not to Memorial Day yet, let alone July 4th. Still, here the Ashland University softball team was shooting off a blasting cap the first week of April.
In the bottom of the seventh inning in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday (Apr. 7), AU sophomore center fielder Taylor Menhart (Twinsburg, Ohio) slugged a walk-off, three-run homer to propel the Eagles past the Chargers, 6-4. Ashland won the first game, 8-2.
Thanks to Menhart's blast, her first of the season, the Eagles have a two-game winning streak and have won eight of their last 10 games. Ashland is 16-13, 10-4 in the GLIAC. Hillsdale is 3-14 and 2-8.
In the second game, AU led, 3-2 after two innings. The Chargers scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings and led, 4-3 entering the bottom of the seventh.
AU's first two batters in the seventh, Jen Moore (Jeromesville, Ohio/Hillsdale) and Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban), reached on errors (HC had five errors in the second game). That set the stage for Menhart's homer, which came off of Katie Ardrey. The HC hurler probably deserved a better fate – of the six runs she allowed only one was earned.
Menhart was 2-for-4 in the game. Third baseman Jerrica Young (Loundonville, Ohio) was also 2-for-4.
In the first game, the Eagles put the Chargers in an immediate hole by scoring five runs in the top of the first inning. AU had five runs on five hits in that rally. Gironda, outfielder Carly West (Ashland, Ohio/Hillsdale) and catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale) had RBI singles in the inning. Gironda added another run-scoring single in the second and Young homered in the fourth inning. That was her team-high fourth homer of the season.
Galloway started and pitched two scoreless innings. The final five innings were worked by sophomore Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne). She allowed two runs – one earned – on eight hits. McDermott walked one and struck out six. She's 3-0 this week and 4-3 for the season.
Gironda and outfielder Kourtney Yarnall (Canton, Ohio/Perry) were 2-for-4 in the first game.
The Eagles return home to Brookside Park on Wednesday (Apr. 10, 3:30 p.m.) for a doubleheader against Walsh.