I hope everyone is ready for softball season to begin! Florida State Softball has officially kicked off their 2024 campaign against the Charlotte 49ers on Thursday.
Getting the nod in the circle for Team 41 was 5th year Senior, Emma Wilson. For the first inning, Wilson sat down her first batter before a one out double was given up to the 49ers second baseman. A second straight extra base hit got the opposition on the board as Ella Chancey drove in the first run of the game via a triple.
Facing her third batter of the game, Wilson was able to roll a ground ball back to the circle, where she fired to Kalei Harding at first, who turned the ball back to Michaela Edenfield at home to double off the runner trying to score.
In the bottom of the inning, Jahni Kerr led off against Charlotte’s pitcher, Lena Elkins and returned to the dugout after a strikeout. Placed second in the batting order, Edenfield reached on a single. However she was left on base after Elkins got outs from Harding and Devyn Flaherty.
The 2nd inning came and went quickly as Wilson used her defense. Back to back plays by freshman 3rd baseman Jaysoni Beachum and a layout in center by Jahni Kerr kept things silent for the 49ers bats.
The first walk of the season was brought by the 2nd inning lead off, Amaya Ross, who stole second as soon as she could. After an out, Jaysoni Beachum stepped up for her first collegiate at bat. Against Elkins, she drove a pitch into the outfield which easily scored Ross to tie the game at 1-1.
A fellow freshman in Isa Torres also registered her debut hit with a comebacker to Elkins. Chaos ensued as the Seminole runners tried to apply pressure to Charlotte, resulting in Beachum being tagged out and Torres standing at third.
With two outs in the 2nd and pressure applied, the 49ers switched from Elkins to Brooke Bowling in the circle. Facing her first batter, Bowling walked Kaley Mudge to turn over the FSU lineup.
Time in the circle was short for Bowling as she was lifted for Georgeanna Barefoot to face the top of the batting order. Kerr drove in both baserunners on a 2 RBI double to take the lead at 3-1.
A quiet 3rd inning gave way to the 4th inning and Wilson back out. Giving up a lead off single to Cori Hoffler ended Wilson’s day and Makenna Reid entered in her place. With a runner on first, Reid retired her first two batters before walking Arianna Rodi. Despite adding another baserunner, Reid answered back with her second strike out of the inning to end the frame.
Reid entered again in the 5th and issued a one out walk before a single back to the circle put two runners on base. The bases soon became loaded after Abigail Knight was hit by a pitch. A clutch strike out got one more out on the board before Ella Chancey beat out an infield single to tack on a 49ers run and keep the bases loaded. A wild pitch cleared a base and tied the game at 3-3 and Reid ended any further threat with a strikeout.
Now in a tied ballgame, Sam Gress entered in the circle for Charlotte in the 5th. Also making her first appearance in the 5th was Katie Dack, who singled to lead off. Two outs were put up by Gress after Edenfield reached on fielders choice. On a nice pitch up in the zone, Harding drove it over the head of the left fielder, allowing Edenfield to score and have herself standing on second.
A ‘Nole in scoring position brought up Flaherty, who tripled into the right-center gap, easily scoring Harding. Gress ended the inning with a 5-3 FSU lead.
In the top of the 6th, Charlotte took advantage of its first pitch with a homerun from Rodi. Now a 5-4 ballgame, freshman Ashtyn Danley took Reid’s spot.
Facing her first collegiate batter, Danley walks the pinch hitter. She was soon erased from the basepaths after Edenfield caught her stealing. While Danley recorded two outs, she also added two batters from a single and hit by pitch. With Charlotte looking to load the bases for the second straight inning, Danley walked her batter to put someone at every bag. After a few timeouts and words from Coacha, Danley ended her first inning with a line out.
Getting closer to the late innings, Gress sat her first two down in the bottom of the 6th before allowing a single to Torres, followed by a walk to Kaley Mudge. All were left stranded after a shallow fly out and headed into the 7th.
Sticking with Danley in the 7th, Ella Chancey sneaks a single to lead off. She was retired but replaced at first. Soon the 49ers had runners on the corners with one out, and Emma Wilson re-entering for the Seminoles.
Coming back for the 7th and in a tight spot, Wilson struck out her first batter. With two outs, Charlotte loads the bases yet again on a hit by pitch. A walk to the shortstop tied the game at 5-5 and kept it at that after a foul out.
Still facing Gress, Flaherty reached on a single after two outs from Edenfield and Harding. Like always, Flaherty took advantage and stole second to get into scoring position. After lengthy reviews, Flaherty was safe at the bag and the inning came to a close after a line out.
Entering extra innings at 5-5 Wilson started out with a backwards K and a fly out. Two up two down and a quick comebacker stifled the 49ers chances.
In the bottom of the frame, FSU had a runner on 2nd after Annie Potter pinch ran and stole second in place of Beachum. With two outs, Mudge singled and a lengthy review called her out, stealing the winning run away from FSU.
Turning into a pitchers duel between Gress and Wilson, the 9th came and went. In the 10th, Wilson gave up a two out double before Abigail Knight singled in the leading run. After a hit by pitch review, the umpires determined the batter leaned into the pitch and was called out, leaving FSU down 6-5 to Charlotte.
Down to their last inning, FSU went down in order and suffered their first loss of the season in the opening game.
Despite the loss, Seminole fans can take away positives from the first game against Charlotte. Emma Wilson showed she can last multiple innings, and re-enter when needed, Jaysoni Beachum looks like more than a freshman, and Isa Torres is a solid performer after taking over for Josie Muffley.
FSU will look to rebound on Friday against Charlotte at 6 pm on ACCNX