BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Army West Point softball team picked up a 5-3 victory over Lehigh to secure its first series victory over the Mountain Hawks since 1992 on Sunday morning at Leadership Park.
Sophomore Taylor Drayton led the Black Knights with her third multi-hit effort of the weekend, while second-year Grace Mattimore tied the Clayton, N.C., native with two RBI in the game. Sophomore Ally Snelling also reached base in three of her four plate appearances.
In the circle, junior Macey Newbary was a force for the Cadets once again, scattering five hits over six innings of shutout ball. The Missoula, Mont., native finished the weekend without allowing a run in 12.1 innings of work and allowed just eight hits and two free passes.
Army broke the scoreless tie in the first inning when Drayton blooped a single toward the second base bag that scored Ashley Yoo from third.
Mattimore added to the lead with a two-run single with the bases loaded which chased Lehigh starter Parker Boyd from the circle with one out in the opening frame.
The home side answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Both sides strengthened their defensive efforts over the next four innings until a sacrifice fly from Yoo plated Jolie Duong to put Army back in the lead, 4-3, in the top of the sixth.
The Black Knights added an insurance run in the seventh inning to seal the victory on an RBI single by Drayton that scored Megan Muffett who led off with a double.
Interim head coach Bob Beretta said, “That was a tremendous team victory. We had contributions from so many individuals, and that’s what it takes to grind out a win sometimes. We knew it was going to take contributions from everyone on our roster to win this series, and I feel like we received just that. We talk about fighting through adversity when it strikes, and I fell we really battled through some difficult moments today. We had big plays on both sides of the ball and Macey Newbary came up huge again for us in the circle.
“I thought the fly out double play we executed in the fifth inning resulted in a big momentum shift in the game, and we capitalized in our next at-bat by scoring the go-ahead run through perfect execution. Jolie Duong’s leadoff double got things started. An excellent sacrifice bunt by Carrie Reilly moved her to third before Katie Ontiveros gave us a great at-bat to stay alive by working a walk and made the sacrifice fly by Ashley Yoo possible.
“I thought the insurance run we added in the seventh was extremely important. That was a big base hit by Taylor Drayton after the leadoff double by Megan Muffett. I was proud of Megan after she came into the game due to injury and gave us two quality at-bats. She narrowly missed a home run in her first time up and then lined that big double to ignite our rally in the seventh.
“I’m very proud of the team. I thought we played solid ball all weekend and nearly came away with the sweep. It’s still quite an accomplishment to take a series from Lehigh for the first time in more than 25 years. That’s a long time and a lot of softball. Overall, it was a positive step for the team. I’m happy for this group, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Army travels to Albany for a doubleheader on Wednesday.