Pioneers softball play RSC Conference Rivals in Weekend Homestand


Photo by Aidan Ringiewicz

Pioneer senior Jodi Frontino on the last play of the game sliding into third base against the Ohio Christian University Trailblazers

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

The Point Park Pioneers softball team played four conference games against River States Conference rivals (RSC) and started their weekend homestand on a calm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

On April 2 at 12 p.m, the Pioneers took on the Ohio Christian Trailblazers (OCU) in a doubleheader at Fairhaven Park in Kennedy Township. Senior left fielder Taylor Goldstrohm said she loved getting to play at home in the sun with the Point Park faithful in attendance.

“I love playing in weather that I can stand,”  Goldstrohm said. “Tomorrow [against Rio Grande] might be a little bit colder, so we’re all just pretty happy we had a decent day out.”

Point Park had played in a cold and rainy climate in their last two games against the Midway University Eagles, which was their last doubleheader prior to their matchup against the Trailblazers. They dropped both games to the Eagles, losing 11-1 in the first game and 4-1 in the second game on March 25. The Pioneers enter the first doubleheader against OCU with a 9-9 record, along with a 2-2 RSC conference record. This is their first game in over a week because of two postponements that occurred earlier in the week due to weather.

Ohio Christian entered the game with a 10-14 record, along with an 6-4 RSC conference record. The Trailblazers split in their previous doubleheader at home against the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears, winning the first game 7-1 and losing the second game 1-0.

Point Park junior Angalee Beall got the start for the Pioneers in game one. The Trailblazers took zero time to get their offense rolling in the first game. Sophomore Ohio Christian right fielder Hilarie Spitler hit a leadoff triple to begin the Trailblazers campaign. Trailblazers senior center fielder Emma Dammeyer reached first base on an infield single, which didn’t push the first run across. However, Ohio Christian sophomore Kylee Bako drove in the game’s first run of the ballgame, hitting into a fielder’s choice. Beall walked the next batter, but the team then recorded two outs to end the inning only giving up a run.

Freshman Emma Hastings started the game on the mound for the Trailblazers. Goldstrohm grounded out to first base to begin the bottom of the first, but senior center fielder Carissa Scekeres singled, becoming the Pioneers first base runner on the day. Nevertheless, Hastings shut down the Pioneer bats and escaped the first inning without giving up a run.

Beall gave up just one hit in the second inning. Point Park sophomore Sydnie Reese singled to lead off the bottom of the second inning, and junior Alex Bondi bunted her over to second. Reese then advanced to third on an error. Nevertheless, the Pioneers squandered their chance to drive in the run after a fielder’s choice at home and a groundout that followed.

The Trailblazers struck again in the top of the third. Dammeyer led off the inning with a solo home run, and Bako followed up with a double. Freshman Remi Koi took over pitching duties from Beall after the two hits she surrendered in the third. Koi got a quick out number one, but Hastings helped out her own cause at the dish, driving in the Bako from second. This extended their lead to 3-0.

Both teams remained scoreless for the next two innings, but the Trailblazers had a productive sixth inning, scoring two runs on four hits. Nonetheless, the Pioneers finally made their way into the score column after a single by Reese, scoring Scekeres from second. Hastings was then moved from pitcher to center field and southpaw Spitler became the new pitcher.

Despite the success during the inning, Beall was called out at home at the plate with only one out in the inning. This derailed their chances to tack on more runs. OCU led 5-1 after six innings.

After OCU was held scoreless in the top of the seventh, freshman Melanie Taylor and junior Cameron Meier hit back-to-back singles, leading off the inning. Senior Jodi Frontino then walked, loading the bases. Goldstrohm popped up to the shortstop for the first out, but Scekeres drove in Taylor from third. Beall then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Meier, but there was yet another baserunning miscue. Frontino was thrown out tagging up from second to third, ending the game. The Pioneers lost game one, 5-3.

Point Park had 8 hits as a team and went the entirety of the game without an error. Nevertheless, the OCU offense tallied 13 hits and pushed 5 runs across.

In the second game, junior Jada Simon got the start for the Pioneers. In the first inning, Dammeyer doubled early and freshman Lexi King drove in Dammeyer, giving OCU an early 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, the Trailblazers scored three runs on four hits. Freshman Kristin Gardner drove in both Marissa Bardonaro and Karissa McLean, and Dammeyer then recorded yet another hit, extending their lead to 4-0.

The Pioneers responded and chipped away at the four run lead after an RBI single by junior Cristina Sargent, scoring junior Mara Iagnemma. Taylor, who advanced to third after Sargent’s single, scored on a wild pitch. Simon pushed the Pioneers third run, driving in Sargent from third after a groundout to the second baseman.

The game was 4-3 going into the fourth inning. The Trailblazers then scored two runs in the six, extending their lead to three runs.

In the sixth inning, OCU began to pull away from the Pioneers. Hastings homered early in the inning, and the team then had a barrage of hits. Freshman Hailie Amrheinand Gardner drove in runs, and Bako had a bases clearing triple, making the score 12-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, Meier got things going with a leadoff double. Reese, Sargent and junior Courtney Shoemake drove in runs, and the Pioneers avoided the 8-run rule. Nevertheless, OCU hung on and won by the final score of 13-8.

OCU tallied a staggering 17 hits in the second game, scoring 13 runs. The Trailblazers were led by Dammeyer who went 2 for 3 in the first game and 3 for 4 in the second game.

The Pioneers got the bats going late and notched 11 hits in the second game, scoring 9 runs. Sargent led the team in hits, going 3 for 4 in the second game of the doubleheader.

Point Park dropped both games to the Trailblazers, and the baserunning woes hurt their chances to pull off a win in the first game. Senior catcher Hailey Leitner, who leads the Pioneers in home runs, said their hesitancy on the basepaths led to the mistakes.

“Our goal is always to be aggressive. It seems like the first game we were definitely very hesitant, and we needed to be more aggressive and that’s something the coaches emphasized in our meeting in between the games and just pointing out that we’re old enough,” said Leitner. “Our game is high enough that we can’t wait for them to tell us what to do. We just need to act and react to the play.”

Although the team struggled early on in both games, Leitner said she was proud that the team fought back even though the team didn’t win.

“I think that [second] game just really showed that we had fight in us, and I believe that we were going to come back and beat them because we could have,” Leitner said. “That’s a team that we’re very capable of beating, and we should have never had a game like that.”

Goldstrohm was also glad to see the team keep fighting late in the game and she also believes the team was unlucky as many hits were finding the gloves of the Trailblazers defenders.

“Some of the hits that Mel and Syd had; some of those could have dropped,” said Goldstrohm. “At some point, they’re gonna drop. We are down 12-3, and we could still come back and get as many of our runs as we did, I think that’s really special for us.”

The Pioneers aimed to have their late momentum continue against the University of Rio Grande Red Storm on April 3. The Red Storm entered the game with a 24-10 record, along with a 9-1 conference record. Rio Grande won their come into the game winning four in a row and previously played Carlow University at Fairhaven Park on April 2, winning the first game 9-0, and the second game 3-1.

Beall would get the start for the Pioneers in the first game. Point Park went down early as Zoe Doll drove in the first run of the game, and the Red Storm continued their onslaught, putting up 4 runs in the first inning.

Nevertheless, Goldstrohm got things going for the Pioneers with a leadoff double. Beall scored Golstrohm on a groundout which led to the Pioneers first run. However, that run was their only run of the inning and Rio Grande led 4-1 at the end of one.

Both offenses were stagnant from the second inning all the way up to the fifth inning. The Red Storm scored a run in the second, extending the lead to four runs and in the fifth,  they notched two more runs, making it 7-1. Sophomore pitcher Sydney Campolo held the Pioneers scoreless for six straight innings and the Red Storm tallied four more runs in the last two innings of the game. The Red Storm won game one 11-1.

Campolo went 7 innings, only giving up one run in the contest. Doll led the team in hits, going 3 for 5, along with tallying 3 RBIs.

The Pioneers had 7 hits as a team and Frontino had 2 of the team’s hits. Nonetheless, they were only able to push 1 run across.

Simon pitched game two for Point Park. The Red Storm’s momentum carried over to the second game. Rio Grande put up 4 runs in the first inning on three hits and one error.

Red Storm senior pitcher Raelynn Hastings was the pitcher for game two. The Pioneers offense only had one hit against in the first four innings of play.

Rio Grande scored two more runs in the fifth and sixth and they put the game away with a two run home run by Doll. The Red Storm scored one more run in the seventh and went on to win by the score of 9-0.

The Red Storm had a big weekend on April 2 and 3, outsourcing their opponents 32-2 in their last four games.

The Pioneers now hold a record of 9-13, along with a 2-6 conference record. Both Goldstrohm and Leitner said they believe that the team needs to improve and strike first as the Pioneers have struggled to get the bats going early.

Goldstrohm said she knows the team has talent and sees the early season struggles as a wakeup call for the team.

“I think that we definitely could claw some games out and we need to at this point,” Goldstohm said. “We’re already digging ourselves a hole, so we just need to get back on top and really focus.”