BY ERIN MADDEN
Franciscan University softball had its best hitting performance of the season in the second game of a doubleheader against Medaille College, despite losing both games 10-3 and 19-7 respectively.
“That’s something we talked about after the first game. I didn’t feel like we really played as hard as we should have,” Head Coach James Walker said. “So it was really nice to see, in the second game, every time we got down, they really tried to battle back. Obviously, we didn’t get all the way back. Just seeing how hard they played in the second game was a really big improvement.”
A combination of poor defense and a tough day on the mound for sophomore pitcher Jordan Cunningham put the Lady Barons in a 10-0 hole going into the bottom of the fourth.
“They hit the ball pretty hard against Jordan,” Walker said. “That was just a matter of giving them so many extra outs that they get a lot of extra at-bats against Jordan that they probably shouldn’t get. It was really a combination of Jordan probably not having her best stuff today and us not helping her defensively.”
Freshman Kristina Frandson got a rally going in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs for the team’s most productive inning of the season. Frandson had two RBIs and scored another run in the inning.
A few batters later, freshman Anne Pivarunas kept the inning alive with an infield single. Pivarunas had her best hitting performance of the season with three singles in the second game.
“We got some pretty good hitting in that second game,” Walker said. “We just didn’t shut them down enough.”
The highlight of the game, however, came in the bottom of the fifth when senior captain Hailey Wesselman crushed a home run over the center field fence, her second of the season.
“Hailey hit the ball really hard a couple times today,” Walker said. “I think actually that the double she hit off the top of the fence, she probably hit harder than she hit the home run. It was nice getting a couple good hits out of her.”
Wesselman also had a strong defensive performance playing at shortstop in the doubleheader. The senior was the recipient of several sharp ground balls that she consistently turned into outs during key points in the game.
Walker said that Wesselman continues to be a vocal presence and a positive influence while out on the field, no matter what position she plays.
“Hailey can really probably play all nine positions if we needed her to,” Walker said. “Any time we put her out there, she really picks the team up, talks to us and lets us know what we are supposed to be doing defensively.”
The Lady Barons will seek to keep up the hot hitting at home in a doubleheader against La Roche College on April 22 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.