LEESBURG, Fla. - Beloit College's softball team cracked out the bats Thursday and swept a pair of games at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex. The Buccaneers topped The Sage College 7-3 in the first game and followed with an 8-7 comeback win over North Park University.
In the first game, Beloit trailed 2-0 when it scored a run in the bottom of the first inning. Alyssa Boltik was hit by a pitch and stole second. Madi Christine singled and Alyssa Morris loaded the bases with a bunt single. Ashley Lambert's sacrifice fly cut the deficit in half.
The Bucs took a 3-2 lead in the second. Kaitlynn Taft singled and Makayla Zundel reached on an error. Boltik scored Taft with a drag bunt and Christine plated Zundel with a double.
Beloit took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Lambert singled and pinch-runner Emily Clinkscales swiped second and went to third o Maty Nowakowski's single. Callie Dutton's sac fly made it 4-2.
Sage pulled within 4-3, but the Bucs tacked on three more runs. Singles by Zundel and Dani Strejc and a walk by Emily Stapay loaded the bases. RBI singles by Morris and Lambert followed and Nowakowski drew an RBI walk.
Christine, Lambert and Strejc each went 2-for-3, combining for three runs batted. Boltik picked up the win on the mound striking out two and scattering seven hits while allowing three runs in the complete game victory.
• BIG COMEBACK: In the second game, Beloit scored first as Stephannie Lopez singled and later came home on Lambert's sac fly. The Bucs added two more runs in the second on an RBI single by Zundel and sac fly by Strejc.
North Park scored the next five unanswered runs before Beloit pulled within 5-4 in the top of the sixth on a sac fly by Lopez.
Morgan Lippert came in for relief after a great outing by Morris in the circle. When Lippert struggled, Boltik went back into the circle. A double scored two, but Boltik got out of the inning with a flyout and caught the next Viking batter off balance for the looking strikeout to bring up the Bucs' offense for its final opportunity down 7-4.
Morris and Lambert both singled. Kat Grzeszkiewicz replaced Lambert on the base paths. Nowakowski grounded to third when the second controversial call came into play. After being involved in a play in the third where it looked like the Viking first baseman missed the base on a force out, Nowakowski's grounder in the top of the seventh had Coach Kim Zarling meeting with the umpire once again. Morris had a big lead and took off for third on contact. As she slid into third the Viking third baseman was struggling to find the base on the fielder's choice. Zarling appealed to the home plate umpire as it seemed the defender did not get to third before Morris slid in but the call stood and the Bucs had runners on first and second with one out. A pop fly in foul territory had Beloit down to their final out, still down three.
Stapay drew a walk to load the bases. Zundel belted a double to left center that bounced off the fence and had Grzeszkiewicz and Nowakowski coming in to score to make it 7-6. Strejc followed with a two-RBI single to left center that reclaimed the lead for the Bucs as Zundel and Stapay touched home.
Beloit went back out on defense just three outs away from the win. A leadoff walk put the pressure on and the next Viking batter hit a hard liner back up the middle that struck Boltik in the leg in the circle. Dutton quickly grabbed the ball and fired to first to register the first out of the inning.
Boltik signaled she was OK to continue and forced a groundout that Nowakowski fielded easily at second for the second out of the game. With a runner on third, NPU's next batter lift a soft liner into shallow left center. Lopez went back hard and snatched up the ball with an outstretched glove to seal the 8-7 win.
Zundel led the Bucs with a 3-for-4 performance, adding three RBI and a run scored. Stapay was 2-for-2 drawing two walks and scoring twice.