By Jared Prenda
The Lady Birds Softball team secured a place in the Landmark Conference Playoffs for the seventh straight year following a series sweep over the Juniata College Eagles. The Cardinals secured the third overall seed with their 2-0 and 4-2 wins in a home doubleheader on Thursday, April 27. CUA currently sits at 22-12 overall record, and a 7-5 final record in conference play.
The opening matchup between the two sides ended almost as quickly as it began with Catholic taking control early against the Eagles. Following a three up, three down opening at bat from Juniata, CUA struck early.
The Cardinals looked to sophomore Rebecca Marks in the lead-off spot. Marks leads the team with a .412 OBS, and drew an opening walk for the team. Marks proceeded to steal second, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt down the third base line from second baseman Julie Keleti, and was driven in by junior Megan Colline on a ground out to short for the game winning run.
Keleti contributed to the winning effort later in the bottom of the third, where her single up the middle drove in freshman Marissa Deblasie for the final score of 2-0.
Catholic was carried all day by solid performances from their pitching staff. In the opener, sophomore starter Kelly Lynch gave the team a stellar performance, going wire-to-wire and recording 4 K’s and only surrendering 2 hits on the day. In the second match up, the work load was divided between two of the Cards pitchers. Freshman Ace Sabrina Scott got the start for the team, and earned the win on 6.1 innings of work, advancing her record to 7-2 on the year. Fellow freshman Claire Sturek relieved Scott for the final two outs of the game, earning her first career save.
The second part of the two-game series began soon after the end of the first, and the Cardinals found an equal amount of success. The Catholic team opened the bottom of the first by loading the bases on a Marks walk, Keleti bunt, and a single from senior Erin Adams. Unfortunately, the home team only managed to score one run, when Keleti was driven in on a single up the middle from catcher Alyssa Keane.
This opening inning inspired a series of runs throughout the game for the home side. In the third, junior centerfielder Rachel Valdes notched an RBI double, and was followed by a single from Keleti which would drive in the game winning run. The final run for CUA came on a sacrifice fly from Adams in the sixth, giving them a 4-2 win.
The Cardinals were primarily lead by their upper classmen, with Keleti tallying three total hits and an RBI in each game. Adams and Keane also recorded two hit games in the second game.
The CUA team looks to finish their season on a high note before post season play, with the four final regular season coming this weekend. The team will go on the road to Salisbury for a Saturday, April 29th doubleheader, and close out the season at home on a Sunday, April 30th doubleheader against Stevenson.