WEST POINT – The Army West Point softball team completed its first weekend sweep of the season Sunday afternoon at the Army Softball Complex. Army topped Bucknell 3-1 in the front end of the doubleheader and claimed the second game 3-2.
“We needed to win four games and we won four games,” Army head coach Cheryl Milligan said. “We look like we’re meshing more every time we play. Our middle infielders are really tossing the ball to each other. We’re starting to peak at the right time.”
The Black Knights are now 8-8 in league play. The wins put them ahead of the Bison for the fourth spot in the Patriot League standings with one weekend series remaining. The top four teams advance to the Patriot League tournament which will be played from May 13-15.
In the first game, Jolie Duong retired the first eight batters she faced before allowing a base knock to right center field.
Ally Snelling got Army’s first hit bunt single to lead off the fourth inning.
The Black Knights loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, after Madi Gilmore led off the inning with a sharp single up the middle and Ellie Caldwell walked in the next at bat. Army, however, was unable to get a run on the board.
Army opened the scoring in the bottom of the sixth. With no outs and runners on first and second, the Black Knights utilized aggressive baserunning. Alicyn Grete hit an infield single over the head of the shortstop and Taylor Drayton scored from second base to make it 1-0. In the next at bat, Gilmore hit an RBI single up the middle, which brought in Annie Brock to give the Cadets the 2-0 lead. Later in the inning, Army managed to load the bases. Kayla Edwards was hit by a pitch, for the third time in the game, and which brought home Army’s third run.
The Bison got one run on the board, but the Cadets were able to earn the 3-1 victory.
Duong finished the contest with five strikeouts, four hits and one earned run. The Houston native improved to 7-1 on the season and owns an ERA of 2.61.
The Black Knights got on the board early in the second contest, putting two runs up in the bottom of the first. Ally Snelling grounded out to second, scoring Angelina Bebek in the process to make it 1-0. In the next at bat, Drayton doubled deep to right center field, which scored Edwards.
Over the course of the next four innings each team had just hits apiece.
The Black Knights added what proved to be a crucial run in the bottom of the sixth with Alicyn Grete tagging on sacrifice fly from Grace Snyder to make it 3-0.
Bucknell made things interesting in the top of the seventh, scoring two runs with two outs.
The tying run reached third, but Brook Mitchell raced over to make a catch in foul territory to record the final out.
Grete allowed just one earned run in 7.0 innings of work to pick up the win on the mound.
“It was huge for Jolie to come out and be shut down the way that she did. Alicyn is battling. She’s struggling with a lot of her mechanics right now, but to tough it out when you don’t have your best stuff is what great pitchers do. I’m proud of her for that,” Milligan added.
Up next the Black Knights close out their regular season with a four-game series against Holy Cross this weekend.