The Lady Bisons softball team picked up one win in four games against the University of Arkansas Monticello (UAM) Blossoms on April 8-9. They fell to 26-20 overall and 18-16 in conference. The Lady Bisons are currently 6th in the Great American Conference (GAC) standings. The top eight teams in the conference will advance to the GAC Tournament in Bentonville, Arkansas, on April 28-30.
The Lady Bisons won the first game of the series 6-5 after freshman outfielder Peyton Mills hit her second walk-off of the year. Junior pitcher Hannah Johnson picked up her 13th win after pitching a complete game.
The Lady Bisons got things going early after junior catcher Kimmy Hendricks hit a two-run home run, but the Blossoms responded in the fifth inning when they rallied to take a 3-2 lead. Harding regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth after a home run by freshman infielder Alexus Lawellin and an RBI double from Hendricks. After UAM came back and tied it at 5-5 in the sixth, the Lady Bisons had a chance to end the game in the last inning; Mills hit her fifth home run of the year to win the game for Harding.
Mills said having her family there to see the walk-off home run made the moment even more special.
“My grandparents flew in from Arizona to watch the games,” Mills said. “After I hit it my Papa Moe walked behind the fence and grabbed the ball and hid it in his jacket so he could keep it.”
Johnson, who leads the team with a 2.77 ERA, gave credit to her teammates for the win.
“Picking up my 13th win was amazing personally and also for the team,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t be able to have any wins if they weren’t behind me.”
The Lady Bisons came up short in game two, falling 8-6. Errors played a key part in the first inning, as the Blossoms took a 2-0 lead on two hits and two Harding errors. The Lady Bisons answered back in the bottom of the first after Mills hit a two-run bomb to right center field. The Lady Bisons then took a 3-2 lead after freshman utility player Kristen Dempsey hit a solo shot to left center field, her first collegiate home run, but UAM responded by powering themselves to an 8-3 lead heading into the fifth. Although junior outfielder Courtney Derrick hit her first homer of the year to make it 8-6 in the sixth, the Lady Bisons were unable to pull any closer.
Harding only registered three hits in game three, and they fell 8-0. The Blossoms took a 5-0 lead going into the sixth inning as errors plagued the Lady Bisons’ defense again, finishing with four. The Blossoms tacked on three more runs in the sixth after a three-run home run. The Lady Bisons were shut out for just the fourth time this season in conference play.
The Lady Bisons got the offense going in game four but fell again, losing 7-5. UAM took a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning after hitting a two-run home run. Harding tied the game up after RBIs by junior infielder Amanda Berdon and redshirt junior outfielder Heather Montgomery, but the fifth inning got away from the Lady Bisons as the Blossoms tacked on four runs on four hits. The Lady Bisons rallied in the last inning after scoring two runs to make it 7-5. They had a runner on base with the tying run at the plate in the seventh, but could not execute the comeback.
Harding will play a four-game series against Northwestern Oklahoma State University today and tomorrow in Alva, Oklahoma.