Eastern wins three at North Florida Tournament

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Eastern softball team stuck to its winning ways as it grabbed three more wins early in the start of the spring season.

Eastern went 3-2 over the five games in the tournament with wins over South Dakota State (6-1), South Carolina State (7-1) and North Florida (14-12 in nine innings).

Kansas and North Florida got the best of the Panthers and handed them a loss in the tournament. Eastern won the second game against North Florida.
The Panthers had two five-run innings in the 14-12 win over North Florida.

Eastern had an 8-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but Eastern’s five-run third inning was erased by a six-run seventh by North Florida to tie the game.

The second five-run inning came in the ninth, made possible by a 3-run home run by senior Amber Toenyes following RBIs by freshman Mia Davis and senior Kaitlyn Crossen.

Toenyes now has seven RBIs through the first nine games, which is second on the team behind Haley Mitchell.

And in the circle, junior Michelle Rogers continued to dominate after picking up two more wins to move to 4-1 on the season. She has pitched 25 innings this year and has posted a 1.44 earned run average.

Rogers has given up 11 runs, but only four of them have been earned.

She has also struck out 16 batters this season. Her and junior Jessica Wireman have been relied on the most as they have been in the past three seasons.

Wireman has struggled a bit to start the season, however. The usual dominant pitcher has had teams get the best of her in her five appearances. She has a 5.31 ERA and a 1-2 record.

Sophomore Kayla Bear got the Panthers started off on the right foot as she hit a leadoff home run to open their opening game against South Dakota State. She also homered against South Carolina State.

The two homeruns were the first of her career, a new stroke of power for the speedy leadoff hitter.

In just her second year she is off to a strong start batting .529 with 18 hits and three doubles. She is also 11-11 on stolen bases. At this rate, she is going to shatter her season high from last year of 19.

Eastern has seven players hitting over .350.

Compared to last year, where there was not a whole lot of mixing and matching, coach Kim Schuette has had many players get playing time.

Junior Taylor Monahan, for example, has started every game for Eastern and is hitting .444. She spent much of her time last year as a pinch runner.

There were holes to fill with last year’s five seniors graduating, and through nine games, those holes have been filled as of right now.S