F&M sweeps Washington to tighten race in Centennial softball

LANCASTER, Pa. — The pennant race in Centennial Conference softball is now a real race, and some credit should go to Franklin & Marshall, which is playing for pride more so than position at this stage of the season.

Tied for next-to-last in the nine-school conference, F&M swept Centennial leader Washington on Tuesday.

The Diplomats (3-7 CC, 11-19) won the first game, 8-3, and averted a split by also winning the nightcap, 8-7.

Washington, 18-13-1 on the season, still sits atop the standings with a 9-3 record in conference games, but Swarthmore and Dickinson are within reach at 7-3.

Washington looks to get back on track Saturday, April 20 with a CC twin bill at home against Gettysburg (6-4 CC, 19-9). First pitch is at 1 p.m.

On Tuesday in Lancaster, the host Diplomats scored four unearned runs with two away in the last of the second inning to pull ahead, 4-1. They led the rest of the way.

Washington senior Lexi Barnhart (six strikeouts) deserved better. Two errors led to six unearned runs. Barnhart’s line included five hits and seven walks.

Meantime, the Shore ladies managed just two hits off of Charlotte Dwyer, who pocketed her first win of the season.

Washington was much more productive at the plate in game two, banging out nine hits, including two apiece from Lilly Cook, Gracelyn Goforth and Jenna Harper, who extended her hitting streak to 10 games in a row.

In the back-and-forth game, Washington led for the last time at 6-3 after pushing five runs across the plate in the top of the fifth. Navaeh Unzueta led off with a triple to center and scored one batter later on a Shannon Rosche sacrifice fly. The other four runs were scored with two away; the key hit was Cook’s blast — with Lilly Wenzel (RBI single up the middle) and Harper (double to left) aboard — that cleared the left field fence.

Washington’s lead was short-lived because F&M responded with five runs of its own in the home half of the frame, regaining the lead for good at 8-6. Maddy Yeingst’s three-run homer with two away proved to be the game-winning hit.

The Shore ladies closed to within a run, 8-7, in the sixth when Maddy Kendall, running for Goforth (leadoff single), scored on Chloe Trefz’s RBI groundout.

Washington stranded Rosche (reached on an error), representing the tying run, on third.

In the seventh, Washington also had the tying run on base when Harper singled up the middle with one away, but Kayla Kilmer retired the next two batters to close out the game and get the win in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

NOTES: Following Saturday’s doubleheader against Gettysburg, WC will host No. 1-ranked Salisbury on Thursday, April 25 and then close out the regular season with two games at conference rival Dickinson on April 27.

Salisbury (22-1) is coached by Lacey Lister Lord, who spent 12 seasons at Washington and led the Shore ladies to a Centennial Conference championship in 2013.

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