By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer
After a split decision in their first two games at home, the softball Lady Hilltoppers will hit the road again for two doubleheaders in Charleston and Institute, W.Va.
The Toppers are sporting a one-game win streak as they recently split a doubleheader against Urbana University on March 19. Before that, the Toppers’ previous game was nearly a week prior on March 19, as three double-headers were canceled last week due to weather. Nevertheless, the Toppers have already begun this season better than the last.
The Toppers struggled in their first ten games last season, going 2-8. They have started this season on a good note, sporting a 5-5 record as of March 20, and they hope their early success will propel them to a solid season, starting on Saturday in Charleston.
The Toppers have struggled against the Golden Eagles for many seasons, winning zero games in the last 12 matchups. This season’s record so far, however, ties the best start the Toppers have had in the past six seasons. Past struggles against the Golden Eagles haunt the team, but they hope their momentum will carry them to victory.
Although the Toppers lost five of the first ten games, their solid defense has kept games close. Of the five losses, three were decided by two or fewer runs. The bats are also swinging well for the team, as they have scored seven runs or more in three of their five wins. Both sides of the field have begun the season on a good note. Although many of the Toppers are contributing, a select few are playing extremely well.
Junior Kelsi Johnson continues to lead the Toppers, batting an impressive .466 on the year, hitting one double and bringing in seven RBIs. Sophomore Sydney Bennington is also hitting very well, sporting a .357 batting average while hitting two doubles, one home run, and racking in 12 RBIs through the first ten games.
Pitching for the Toppers has also seemed to improve this season. Sophomore Linda Hall leads the team in strikeouts with 24 on the season. Junior Savanna Sieger leads the Toppers with a 3-0 record on the season, allowing only five runs in her appearances.
In their second double-header of the weekend, the Toppers will travel from Charleston to Institute, W.Va., to take on the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets. Just like the Golden Eagles, the Toppers have struggled mightily against the Yellow Jackets, having lost the last 12 games to them. Do not write the Toppers off just yet, however, as their solid play so far may net them a few wins this weekend.
Saturday’s doubleheader in Charleston starts at 1 p.m., and Sunday’s doubleheader in Institute starts at 3 p.m. Go Toppers!
Photo credit: Hilltoppersports.com