CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton softball team picked up a pair of five-inning, North Atlantic Conference victories over Johnson State College on Friday evening, claiming wins of 12-0 and 9-1 in the first action of the season at Spartan Field.
Castleton improves its record to 9-5 overall with the two wins, and moves to 3-1 on the season in NAC action. Johnson State falls to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in conference play after the doubleheader sweep.
Tori Swaine powered the offense for Castleton, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs scored and three runs batted in on the afternoon. Sara Baker went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored while driving in a run, and Kayley Fountain posted a 3-for-4 day with three runs scored and two RBIs. Kayla Wood and Taylor Paquette each earned complete-game victories in the circle for the Spartans.
Johnson State's Kaitlynn Woodward combined to throw 4.2 innings over the course of two games, allowing 12 runs—nine earned—on nine hits, four walks and three hit batters. Abby McRae led the Badgers' offensive attack, tallying three hits and a run on the day including Johnson State's only hit in the first contest.
Castleton received a dominant pitching performance from Wood in game one, as the senior went the distance, striking out seven batters in five innings while allowing just one hit. Wood faced the minimum amount of batters, as she allowed a single to lead off the game but the runner was erased on a pick-off at first base. Fountain was Castleton's top offensive performer in the first game, tallying two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Sami Carlo also added two hits for the Spartans and stole a base.
Castleton jumped all over Woodward in the first inning, scoring 11 times on six hits and two Badger errors. Timi Carone drew a walk to open the game, but was gunned down stealing second base for the first out of the inning. The next 10 batters reached base safely to score seven runs with just one out in the inning. Jordan Gouger tagged a two-run single down the left field line to make it 3-0, before a base hit by Briley Blackbird scored three runs to double the gap to 6-0. Karli Theberge's second walk of the inning made it 7-0 Spartans, before Baker grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out. With the bases loaded and two outs in the inning, Fountain sent a single into left field to score two runners, but the outfielder mishandled the ball, allowing a third run to score to make it 10-0 in favor of the home squad. The Spartans added one final run in the inning on a hard-hit ground ball to third base by Swaine, as Fountain scored on the play.
Both teams traded zeros until the bottom of the fourth inning, when pinch-hitter Abby Ferrara sent a base hit up the middle and into center field to score Brooke Naylor, making it 12-0 in favor of Castleton.
Wood retired the side in order in the fifth—three of the 14 consecutive batters she retired to end the game—giving the Spartans a game-one victory.
Paquette was just as sharp as Wood in the second game of the day, striking out five batters over five innings while allowing just one earned run and no walks. Baker went 2-for-3 with a pair of extra-base hits in the contest, while Swaine added two hits including a double. Both Baker and Swaine had two RBIs in the game-two win. Carone had a hit, three runs and three stolen bases in the game as well for the Spartans.
Hannah Leroux shouldered the loss for Johnson State in the second game, going 3.1 innings and allowing nine runs—seven earned—on nine hits and five walks. Woodward tossed the final two-thirds of an inning for the Badgers, allowing no baserunners. McRae added two more hits to her total in the second game, while stealing a base and scoring the only run of the day for Johnson State.
The Spartans scored runs in each of their four turns at bat, plating one run in the first, two in the second, one in the third and five in the fourth to end the game early once more. Baker rocked a one-out double off the fence in left field to open the scoring in the first inning, bringing home Carone in the process.
After a 1-2-3 second inning for Paquette, Castleton tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the frame, as Carone notched an RBI single into right field before moving into scoring position with a stolen base. A passed ball moved Carone to third, before she scored on an illegal pitch by Leroux.
Johnson State battled back in the top of the third for its first run of the day, when McRae singled and stole second with two outs in the inning. Jennie Moore then knocked a two-out base hit through the right side of the infield to score McRae, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Castleton matched the run in the home half of the inning, when McKinlie Carpenter sent a fly ball into right field, deep enough to score Swaine on the sacrifice fly.
Paquette held Johnson State scoreless in the top of the fourth, and the Spartans' bats came alive once more in the bottom of the inning. Castleton plated five runs on four hits and an error. Carlo led off the inning with a base hit, before Carone reached base on an error. With runners on first and third, Carone swiped her third bag of the day to give Theberge two runners in scoring position. She cashed in, singling up the middle to score both runners. Swaine followed with an RBI single of her own three batters later, before Paquette helped her own cause with a run-scoring single past a diving third baseman and into left field. Gouger capped the scoring with an RBI groundout, making it 9-1.
Paquette struck out the first two batters of the fifth inning, before McRae reached base on a bunt single with two outs. Moore was the last out of the game, however, as she grounded out on a bunt attempt to end the contest.
The Spartans have a busy upcoming schedule, playing 10 games in seven days beginning on Monday afternoon. The Spartans host Keene State on Monday at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. in a doubleheader that was rescheduled from April 6, before hosting Plymouth State and Southern Vermont on Wednesday and Thursday at the same times.