Hastings authors gem as RedStorm softball splits with Malone

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Raelynn Hastings tossed a one-hit shutout and struck out a career-high 11 batters to lead the University of Rio Grande softball team in a 9-0 game two win over Malone University and a doubleheader split with the Pioneers in the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic, Wednesday afternoon, at the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex.

The Pioneers posted a 3-1 win in eight innings in the opening game.

Rio Grande finished the day at 9-4 as a result of the split.

Malone, an NCAA Division II institution which was a former rival of Rio Grande when both schools were members of the America Mideast Conference, fell to 2-1-1 after the game two loss.

The Pioneers’ lone hit came on an Emily Spada single to lead off the third inning. A two-out sixth inning error by the RedStorm produced Malone’s only other baserunner in the contest.

Hastings, a senior from Commercial Point, Ohio, struck out five of the first six batters she faced — all in succession. She surpassed her previous career-high of 10 strikeouts set in a win over Penn State-Beaver on March 11, 2020.

Rio Grande grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead, but the game open with three-run uprisings in both the third and sixth innings.

Senior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) had three hits and drove in three runs to pace the RedStorm offense, while junior Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs. Junior Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) added a double in the victory.

Elizabeth Dyke started and lost for the Pioneers, allowing seven hits and four runs over three innings.

Rio Grande fell victim to a solid pitching performance in the opening game loss as Malone’s Kelsey Byers allowed five hits and an unearned run while striking out 16 in a complete game effort.

Rio freshman Sydney Campolo (New Lexington, OH) was the hard-luck loser, allowing just four hits and two earned runs while striking out nine in a complete game effort.

Bailey Byers gave Malone a 1-0 lead by hitting the game’s first pitch for a home run, but Rio Grande tied the game in the fourth when senior Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH) led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch and later scored on a throwing error.

That’s how things stayed until the Pioneers came to bat in the eighth.

Lauren Bennett led off with a walk — the only one issued in the game by Campolo — moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kelsey Byers and scored on a double by Bailey Byers. A two-out error allowed Bailey Byers to score an insurance marker.

Mikayla Kesel also had two hits in the win for the Pioneers.

Junior Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) went 2-for-4 in the loss for the RedStorm.

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.