Softball sweeps weekend double headers

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

Angie Nicholson began her second season as Eastern softball coach with a perfect 4-0 record in the preseason.

Eastern hosted two double-headers at Williams Field against Olney Central College and Parkland College on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Panthers outscored their opponents 36-1 in their four wins.

Without her top two pitchers from last year, Nicholson was able to see several freshmen play for the very first time in college.

Freshman Michelle Rogers, in her first collegiate softball action, threw seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts, one walk on eight hits. She picked up the 6-0 win in Eastern’s first game Friday against Olney.

Eastern freshman Taylor Miokovic went 2-for-3 at the plate, along with juniors Katie Watson and Kylie Bennett and freshman Tori Johnson. Bailey O’Dell led the Panthers with two RBIs.

In game two of the double-header on Friday, Eastern won 9-0.

The Panthers got another complete-game shutout from freshman Jessica Wireman against Olney. Wireman had nine strikeouts, giving up only two hits, allowing no walks in her collegiate softball debut. At the plate, Wireman went 3-for-4.

Eastern recorded 15 hits, including a two-run home run from Bennett, who finished with three RBIs. Junior Jennette Isaac was 2-for-2 and ended the weekend 6-for-11. Freshman Andrea Roberts went 2-or-3.

In game one of the double header against Parkland College, the Panthers won 9-1 with the only run coming of an error.

Freshman Michelle Rogers pitched all seven innings, striking out nine, walking three and allowing only one hit and one unearned run.

Eastern recorded 12 hits with Johnson leading the way going 3-for-4. Isaac went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs and O’Dell went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

The Panthers got another shutout winning 12-0 in the second game of the doubleheader.

Rogers was on the mound again and threw four shutout innings with four strikeouts, no walks and only one hit allowed.

Johnson came in for the last three innings and threw three scoreless innings. She allowed no hits, five strikeouts, and two walks.

She did have some nerves coming in to pitch because it was her first time pitching against a college team, but said after a few pitches she was able to relax.

Eastern had 13 hits with Johnson leading the way going 3-for-4. O’Dell went 2-for-3. Junior Haylee Beck, senior Hannah Cole and freshman Ashley Tokarski each contributed 2 RBIs.

Nicholson was most pleased with how the team hit this weekend.

“Our hitting was phenomenal,” she said.

Nicholson said she was really impressed with how consistent the hitting was, but knows not every game will be perfect

“Of course we made some young mistakes, which I did expect, but the fact that we are able to see those mistakes no and correct them is what the fall is all about,” she said.

Johnson led the team with a .769 batting average going 10-for-13 over the weekend.

“I was really happy with how I was hitting helping contribute to the team,” Johnson said.

Johnson also said that there is a big difference from high school to college.

“The level of play in high school is totally different from college, where in college you have to focus and be thinking two plays ahead of time,” she said.

The Panthers will be back at Williams Field on Saturday and Sunday to finish off their fall season.

They will host Illinois Central College at noon and Wabash College at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Eastern will take on Lake Land College in a double header Sunday at 11 a.m., with the second game scheduled for 1 p.m.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]