Vulcan Softball vs Mountain Cats

Vulcans Split Doubleheader with PSAC Rival Pitt-Johnstown


Nate Kurtz

Vulcans Softball 2023 Team

Andrew White, Staff Writer

The Vulcans softball team took a trip to Pitt-Johnstown for a doubleheader with the Mountain Cats on Tuesday, Mar. 21, which marked their first games in PSAC play.  The Vulcans surged to a 10-2 win in the first game, before falling 5-4 in game two.

The first game started with a scoreless first inning, followed by a second inning that gave the Vulcans a one-run lead on a sacrifice fly-error. This led to Caleigh Rister, who also was the starting pitcher for the Vulcans, to score on a throwing error after she tagged up from second, and advanced home on the error. The following innings showed the Vulcans bats catching fire, as they scored a combined nine runs in the third and fourth innings to break the game wide open, taking a 10-0 lead.

In the third inning, the bases were loaded and Britney Wilson jumped on a fastball that cleared the bases and got her all the way to third base, as a three-RBI triple for the Vulcan’s Junior Catcher. Britney was named PSAC West Freshman of the Year in 2021, while also making the All-PSAC West Second-Team as a third baseman. Wilson has had a big influence on her team ever since, picking up the role of catcher position as well. Last year, she started all 35 games for the Vulcans at third base, and finished with a .252 batting average, four homeruns, 19 RBI’s, and 11 runs scored. In game one against Pitt-Johnstown, she went 2 for 3 with a single, triple, three RBI’s and two runs scored.

The first game was topped off with a grand slam in the fourth inning by Junior right-fielder, Charity Henderson. A bases clearing homerun that accounted for four runs batted in (RBI’s) for the right-handed power-hitter, which made the score 10-0. Henderson brings her batting average up to .339 on the season, pulling together 19 hits over 56 at-bats, while starting all 18 games so far for the Vulcans this Spring. Her grand slam played a huge part in the Vulcan’s win over the Mountain Cats of Pitt-Johnstown, the Vulcans gave up two late solo home runs by Julia Mooney and Kayle Miehl, which ended up being the only two hits of the game for the Mountain Cats, as Cal came out victorious with a score of 10-2. Caleigh Rister earned the complete-game victory as she managed to sit down 11-straight batters to open the game. She allowed only two runs and just two hits (both being solo HRs) with a walk, and struck out four batters over five innings, throwing only 68 pitches.

Game two, however, played out much differently for the Vulcans, as they started out allowing two runs in the first inning and another in the second, putting them behind 3-0 through the first two innings. Starting pitcher, Alyssa Rose, allowed only two hits but walked four batters which lead to runs scored against the Vulcans.

The Vulcans were able to bounce back relatively quickly, as finally got on the board in the third inning with a RBI single by Carlena Fiorilli, Sophomore left fielder.  They continued to rally back in the fourth inning as well, as second baseman Mackenzie Carson hit a single up the middle with two runners on base, and with the help of an error by the Mountain Cats, two runs scored in the process, tying the game up at 3-3.

The lead didn’t last long; however, as starting pitcher for Pitt-Johnstown, Tori Radvan, hit a solo homerun in the bottom half of the fourth inning, giving the lead back to the Mountain Cats, 4-3. Radvan is a Junior at Pitt-Johnstown, originally from Saver, PA. She’s known for her role as the ace on the team, but showed she can do more than just pitch when she hit a bomb to give her team the lead, her first homerun of the season.

As the game continued, Cal struggled to find their offensive rhythm again. After a scoreless fifth inning by the Vulcans, Junior first baseman Kayla Miehl extended their lead after her second home run of the doubleheader, making the score 5-3 in favor of UPJ. Kayle led the team in home runs last season with five and also knocked in 22 RBI’s last year for her team. She already has three home runs and nine RBI’s on 15 hits in 36 plate appearances, giving her a whopping .417 batting average through the first 12 games of the season.

The game ended after Cal scored one more run to make it a one-run game, but then stalled out offensively, giving the Mountain Cats the win, 5-4. In the seventh inning, the Vulcans had the game-tying run at first base before the game ended on a throw by UPJ’s catcher that caught the runner stealing. Junior starting pitcher Tori Radvan secured the win with a complete-game performance, allowing 12 hits, four runs (three earned), two walks, and struckout one batter on 113 pitches, her most pitches in a game all season.

With the split, the Vulcans are now sitting with a record of 8-10 (1-1 PSAC W) and Pitt-Johnstown sits at 5-7 (1-1 PSAC W). These two teams will meet again on Tuesday, April 11 for another doubleheader, hosted by the Vulcans at Lilley Field in California. The Vulcans play next on Wednesday at home, a doubleheader with Mercyhurst starting at 2:00 p.m.