Rio softball divides pair with Student Princes

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

TIFFIN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande jumped to an early lead and then held on down the stretch for a 7-4 game one win over Heidelberg University, Wednesday afternoon, in non-conference softball action at Frann’s Field.

The host Student Princes rallied for a 4-3 win in the nightcap.

Rio Grande moved to 30-12 as a result of the split.

Heidelberg, a member of the NCAA Division III Ohio Athletic Conference, finished the day at 13-21.

In the RedStorm’s game one victory, Rio scored in each of its first four at bats to take a 5-0 lead and then added a pair of insurance markers in the seventh inning to push its cushion to 7-0.

Heidelberg made things interesting by scoring four times in the home half of the seventh and the game ended with the potential tying run in the on-deck circle.

Junior Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) hit a leadoff home run to give Rio a lead it would never relinquish, while also adding a run-scoring triple – her national-best ninth three-base hit of the season.

Freshman Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) finished 3-for-4 with a double and a run batted in, while freshman Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) added an RBI triple of her own in the winning effort.

Senior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) improved to 13-4 on the season, allowing three hits and fanning six over six shutout innings.

The Student Princes scored four unearned runs in the seventh inning, three of which came on a home run by Kaitlyn Moore.

Morgan Daniels started and took the loss for Heidelberg, allowing six hits and five runs over 3-1/3 innings.

Rio Grande also jumped to a lead in game two, scoring once in the second and twice in the third to grab a 3-0 advantage.

Heidelberg rallied, though, pushing across two runs in the home third and then taking the lead for good on a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning by Raye Hammond, the daughter of Rio head coach Chris Hammond.

The RedStorm outhit their hosts, 9-5, but failed to take advantage of three scoring additional scoring chances by leaving the bases loaded in both the second and fifth innings and stranding a pair of runners in the third inning.

Webb, Conkey and sophomore Mary Pica (Minford, OH) all had two hits in a losing cause, while sophomore Aubrey Azbill (Miamisburg, OH) drove in a pair of runs. Webb and Pica each had a double.

Sophomore Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) started and was the hard-luck loser for Rio, allowing five hits and all four runs – only two of which were earned – in a complete game effort.

Stephanie Drapp doubled and drove in a run for Heidelberg, while Erica Leber also drove in a run.

Moore earned the win in relief of Drapp, allowing a walk and striking out three over three scoreless innings.

Rio Grande is scheduled to wrap up its regular season schedule on Saturday with a doubleheader against Carlow University.

First pitch is set for 11 a.m. in Kennedy Township, Pa.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.