Bennett, softball team clinch senior-day win

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

The Eastern softball team recognized seniors Bailey O’Dell and Hannah Cole for everything they have done in their four years as Panthers.

Both have mixed emotions about playing their last game here.

“It was a day full of mixed emotions,” O’Dell said. “Sad that this was the last home game but excited to have been through this experience.”

Cole said it still has not hit her yet this was her last game at Williams Field.

“I went into it holding nothing back knowing we had nothing to lose,” Cole said. “I wanted to make sure I did everything to make sure we could remember our last game at home exactly how we wanted to.”

The Panthers took on top seeded Southern Il- linois-Edwardsville in the series and regular sea- son finale.

Edwardsville came in with a 19-4 record and the Panthers were 12-10.

Sunday, both teams came in with one win in the series. Edwardsville clinched the top spot with its 7-2 win and Eastern clinched the sixth seed with a 4-3 win.

The Panthers won the rubber game 1-0 on a walk off hit by junior Kylie Bennett in the tenth inning.

Cole led off the inning with a double and Ben- nett followed right after her with a double of her own driving in Cole to win the game.

“To win in that way against that team with my fellow senior starting it off and being the winning run, I really couldn’t have been happier with how we left that field today,” O’Dell said.

It was a pitcher’s duel all throughout the game as freshman Jessica Wireman recorded the shut- out and win. Wireman went all ten innings strik- ing out six and allowing just seven hits. The win improves her record to 11-12 on the year.

The Panthers won the second of two games on Saturday, 4-3.

Freshman Michelle Rogers was on the mound pitching all seven innings and allowing just two earned runs. She is now 8-12 on the year.

The Panthers got down 2-0 in the first inning but in the third, O’Dell hit a two-run home run to deep left center field to tie the game.

“I really couldn’t have been happier with how we left that field today.””

— Baily O'Dell, senior shortstop

Junior April Markowski gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead in the fifth after driving in junior Hay- lee Beck.

Fellow junior Katie Watson added a much needed fourth run on her single that drove in freshman Taylor Monahan as Chambers gave Ed- wardsville a third run in the seventh.

Wireman and Rogers both had solid final starts before the OVC tournament later this week.

“It’s huge that it’s coming on late in the year,” Eastern coach Angie Nicholson said. “That’s what it’s about, getting better at the end.”

The Panthers lost the first game of the week- end, 7-2. Wireman was on the mound but took the loss. She only had two earned runs in the game.

The Panthers’ season will continue on Wednes- day when they head to Edwardsville for the OVC tournament to take on Murray State.


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