Wydown sweep: Softball wins pair against rival Fontbonne
In one of the NCAA’s most local rivalries, the Washington University softball team took care of Tuesday at home Tuesday, beating neighbor Fontbonne University twice. The Griffins made possibly the shortest away trip in Division III, crossing Wydown Boulevard to drop two to the Bears, led by stellar pitching from juniors Anna McKee and Maggie Clapp.
In the opener, starter McKee delivered one of her most dominant performances of the season, flirting with a no-hitter. She ended up going the distance, striking out 12 Griffins and facing just one over the minimum.
McKee was perfect through 3.2 innings, retiring the first 11 Fontbonne hitters she faced before walking the Griffins’ No. 3 hitter. She allowed another two-out walk the next inning, but senior catcher Halle Steinberg caught the runner stealing to end the frame.
McKee carried the no-hitter into the final inning, getting the leadoff hitter to ground out to shortstop to bring her two outs away. But Fontbonne’s three-hole batter, the same one who had walked earlier in the game, played spoiler again. This time, she legged out an infield single to second base to break up the no-no bid.
McKee remained in the game to induce a game-ending double play, sealing a one-hit complete game.
Offensively, Wash. U. scored its runs through a combination of luck and brute force. The first batter of the game, senior right fielder Kenzie James, reached base on an error by Fontbonne’s third baseman, then advanced to third on a single by sophomore shortstop Taylor Arends, who got thrown out at second on the play. The Bears experienced some positive deja vu on the next play, when the opposing third baseman made another throwing error, allowing senior left fielder Hannah Mehrle to bring in James.
The Red and Green went down in order the next two innings, but got things started early in the fourth with a pair of singles to set up runners on the corners. Two batters later, the Griffin catcher committed another Fontbonne throwing error, allowing Mehrle to come around with Wash. U.’s second run.
Even though McKee was cruising, the Bears added some insurance in the fifth again, courtesy of Mehrle, the team’s hottest hitter. After a trio of bunts pushed one run across, Mehrle delivered a two-run shot to extend the lead to 5-0. Mehrle is now slugging .567, top on the team.
The second game was a bit tighter, though the result was the same. Freshman third baseman Mikaela Arredondo got the Bears on the board with a second-inning triple scoring senior center fielder Janet Taylor.
The next inning, the Bears continued to get help from the Fontbonne third baseman, whose error allowed Steinberg to reach base. After a James bunt, Arends followed with one of her own. But the roller was thrown away by the third baseman, and Steinberg scored to double the lead.
The Red and Green took advantage of further Fontbonne miscues in the fourth, when Arredondo made her way around the diamond due to two Griffin mistakes. After a one-out single, Arredondo moved to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch then scored on a botched throw by the pitcher.
Meanwhile, Clapp, the starter on the mound, put up zeros over four innings: She walked one, allowed four hits and fanned a pair. Though it was her shortest outing since April 8, Clapp picked up the win to go 6-8 on the season.
McKee, coming off a gem just hours earlier, was even better at finishing off the Griffins in the second game, controlling the strike zone for three hitless innings with five strikeouts and no free passes.
McKee did allow a run despite not giving up a hit. She hit the first batter of the inning, who moved to second on a groundout. After a wild pitch, McKee induced a fly ball that led to a Fontbonne sacrifice fly. McKee rebounded to strike out the side in order in the seventh to close out the game and record her first save of the season.
The Red and Green have a four-game series at home against Brandeis University this weekend, including a Senior Day doubleheader Saturday.