Navy comes back to beat orange 7-5 in inner scrimmage

Angel Ulloa

Jeremy Carranco, Contributor

The Navy team used a five-run fourth inning to defeat the Orange team 7-5 in an inner-squad scrimmage Friday night at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The two teams were separated between starters and reserves. The starters represented the navy team and the reserves represented the orange team.

Surprisingly, it was the reserves who jumped out on top early. Freshmen Mallorie Cross got her team on the board early with an RBI groundout to score Lindsey Sokoloski, who got the game started with a lead off triple to left field off senior pitcher Erika Harrawood. Navy would soon respond in the bottom of the frame, when senior infielder Kiki Pepi brought in Courtney Clayton on a single up the middle. The two teams went into the second inning tied at one a piece.

The score remained tied until the orange team went on a hitting frenzy in the top half of the third inning. Using five straight singles, Orange jumped out to a 5-1 lead on senior pitcher Taylor Grohmann who just replaced Harrawood on the mound. Navy again responded in their bottom half but only with one run off a Mariah Ellis single that brought in sophomore Ariel Blair.

Freshman pitcher Devyn Cretz had a great start that helped her team enjoy the early lead. Cretz allowed just two runs in her three innings pitched including a one, two, three bottom of the second. Cretz also had two strikeouts on the night.

Navy quickly shifted the momentum of the contest in the bottom half of the fourth when replacement pitcher Kaitlin Fifield took the mound. After quick back-to-back infield singles by Pamala Baber and Kaitlyn Ryder, Blair hit a triple in the left center field gap that cut the orange lead to one at 5-4. Navy would then add on three more thanks to a Pepi one-run single and a huge two-run double by Hope Moreno after a successful double steal by Pepi and Ellis in the frame.

The teams exchanged some hits the rest of the way but no one else would score as navy held on for the victory.

After being rattled in the third inning, Grohmann settled down allowing just one more hit and striking out one in the fourth. Freshmen pitcher Allie Johnson was stellar the rest of the way for the navy team, giving up only one hit and one walk while claiming a strikeout.

Freshmen infielder Macey Brown was red-hot with her bat on the chilly El Paso night. Brown finished the night 3-5 with a RBI for the orange team and she turned the game’s only double play of the contest.
“It was really cool for my teammates to see me show up tonight, we looked really good,” said Brown. “We’ve put lots of hours in at practice and it’s cool to see where we’ve ended up.”

For the navy team, standouts hitters include, Ellis who went 3-4 and Pepi who went 2-3 and scored one of the two go ahead runs for her team.

“I think our hitters did a great job, we hit some shots tonight,” said head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk. “It’s nice to see because usually when we scrimmage early our pitchers are ahead of our hitters because they haven’t seen live play, so I was really impressed with that. I think our two freshmen pitchers did an outstanding job tonight. It makes us excited to see what they are going to be able to do down the road.”

Clayton, last year’s C-USA Player of the Year, is optimistic of the young talent the Miners have.

“We have such good new talent this season which makes me even more proud to play on this team,” said junior infielder Clayton who led the Miners last season with a .438 on base percentage and .416 batting average. “This was so much fun to be able to get out here and play game like before season starts, it just makes us even more excited for the season to start.”

The Miners season opener is on Feb. 9 in Tempe, Arizona at the Kajikawa Classic where they will take on Stanford at 2:15pm MT followed by host Arizona State at 4:45pm MT.