Highlighted by a three-run, game-tying home run by Gabrielle Braniff, the Statesmen softball team split a Midwest Collegiate Conference doubleheader against Grand View Sunday on Senior Day.
William Penn (21-28, 14-10 MCC) won the opener 9-8 (9 innings), but fell in game two 10-0 (6 innings). The team can now finish no lower than third in the standings, but a win by St. Ambrose over Clarke would help it move up to the #2 seed for the MCC Tournament.
The Statesmen will host a first-round MCC Tournament game on Thursday, but their opponent has yet to be determined.
The opener had a rough start with the home team falling behind 6-0 entering the bottom of the third. Fortunately, the Statesmen never gave up hope and began to make its move with one run in the bottom half. Ashlee Dennis doubled to put the home team on the board.
A solo home run by Bri Zerley–her team-leading seventh–made it 6-2 after five frames and Dennis drove in another with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.
The Vikings (28-11, 18-4 MCC) got one tally back in the top of the seventh, but William Penn roared all the way back with a four-run bottom half, topped by Braniff’s three-run shot. Braniff, who finished with three RBIs, now has three roundtrippers this spring.
Zerley doubled run a run to match GVU’s eighth-inning score, and then a pair of errors helped the Statesmen complete the come-from-behind victory in the ninth.
Sydney Edwards was 2-for-4, while Zerley finished 2-for-5. Eight of the home team’s starters had a hit as WPU was edged 14-10 in that department. Four Viking errors assisted the Statesmen in the first game as well.
Zerley and Dennis had two RBIs each, while Marissa Pereyra and Chyanne Koko both touched home plate twice.
Brittanee Grove tossed all nine innings, striking out five batters (three walks) to improve to 11-7.
WPU’s eight seniors were recognized between games. The celebration ended there, however, as the nightcap belonged to Grand View. The visitors outhit the navy and gold 16-2 to return the favor to William Penn.
Lunden Young struck out five in 4 1/3 innings, but is now 8-12 on the year.