Whitehead Throws No-Hitter on Opening Day
Rosemount, Minn.–The Statesmen softball team posted a pair of shutouts in its season-opening doubleheader against Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) Friday.
William Penn (2-0) won by scores of 1-0 and 9-0 (6 innings).
Malloree Grove (Sr., Runnells, Iowa, Physical Education) got the navy and gold going right away in the bottom of the first. The senior, one-third of the new triplets at WPU, led off with a walk and then scored three batters later on an RBI double by Jessica Christensen (So., Marysville, Wash., Sociology). It was one of just five hits for the Statesmen, but plenty enough as Jennifer Whitehead (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Biology) did the rest.
The senior, who already has three conference Pitcher of the Year laurels to her credit, began her run for #4 with a three-walk no-hitter against the Wolves (0-4). Whitehead allowed only two runners to reach second base as she struck out 12 in the win. She has now tossed three no-hitters in her WPU career.
Christensen finished 2-for-3 with two doubles in the opener.
Not that William Penn’s second hurler needed the offensive assurance either, but she got plenty of it in the nightcap. The Statesmen posted a 12-3 edge in base knocks and opened up the scoring with a three-run third frame.
Ashley Bezdicek (Jr., Walla Walla, Wash., Physical Education) tallied an RBI single in the inning, while Bri Zerley (Jr., Monroe, Iowa, Biology) brought around two more on a double in the next at-bat.
Malloree Grove added another run in the fourth with a solo home run and then drove in Sonia Ray (Sr., San Diego, Calif., Physical Education) on a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Ray led off the frame with a two-bagger.
Four final runs were recorded in a four-hit sixth inning with Bezdicek and Zerley both hitting doubles and later scoring. Zerley was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Malloree Grove (two RBIs), Bezdicek, and Brittanee Grove (Jr., Runnells, Iowa, Elementary Education) were all 2-for-4. Christensen also got on base three times with a trio of walks. Ray crossed home plate twice as well.
As aforementioned, the offense was not necessary as game two pitcher Lunden Young (Jr., Lewiston, Idaho, Physical Education) struck out six batters versus one walk in her Statesmen debut. The junior permitted only one extra-base hit and had just two runners in scoring position.
“We were a little nervous in the first game and it showed, but we loosened up for the second game and were much better all around,” Head Coach Mike Christner said. “Jen and Lunden both had really good first games. There are still a lot of things to improve upon, but we will work hard to get it all sorted out.”
Next: William Penn is off until its spring break trip March 3-8. The team will play 11 games against eight different programs.