Upland, Ind. – The Marian softball team continued their run in the winner’s bracket at the Crossroads League Tournament on Wednesday afternoon, taking their second game of the day with a 9-5 win over Taylor. Marian used a five-run third inning break the game open, while scoring a pair of runs in both the first and fifth innings to improve to 45-11 overall this season.
Marian played the role of visitors in their second game of the tournament, and went to work on offense right away, bringing home two runs in the first inning. Savannah Harweger and Kassidi Cadle kick-started the game with consecutive singles. The pair of hits set up Shelbie Stotts, who kept her hot bat alive with an RBI double to score the game’s first run. Emma Maple doubled the lead in the next plate appearance with a sacrifice fly to score Cadle, pushing Marian ahead 2-0 in the top of the first.
Jaylah Guilliam protected the lead through the first two innings, getting a perfect first inning while stranding a double and walk with three flyouts to Lanie Horen in center field in the second. Surging off the three consecutive outs to center, Marian’s offense got started again in the third inning with Harweger drawing a lead-off walk.
Stotts and Maple both jumped on base with a single and walk, loading the bases for Sierra Norman. Norman didn’t wait long to break the game wide open, slamming the first pitch of the at bat out and over the left center fence, slicing the ball through the wind for her second grand slam of the season. Abbi Wirey kept the inning going after the grand slam with an RBI double to score Horen, pushing the Knights on top 7-0.
Taylor would answer back with a run of their own in the bottom of the third, but Guilliam was able to minimize the damage to one unearned run. The freshman recovered with a flawless fourth inning forcing three groundouts to the infield, and found additional run support in the top of fifth with Wirey slugging an RBI single to put the Knights ahead 8-1. A Caitlyn Phillips single would load the bases for the second time on the afternoon, with a wild pitch from Lauren Kanai allowing Horen to score the ninth run of the game.
The Knights sat three outs away from a run-rule victory, but were unable to close the game in five innings as the Trojans started a rally with Kanai singling off the glove of Guilliam. The hit propeled a chain with Guilliam issuing a walk, and two batters later Kara Tucker extended the game with an RBI single. A two-RBI double from Maddi Evans plated two more runs, while a Kristin Mihalic single scored Evans, bringing Taylor’s total to four runs in the inning. Guilliam battled back after allowing the four-hit frame, forcing a pop out to get out of the inning and keep the Knights on top 9-5.
Sydney Wilson was called on to close out the win, coming out of the bullpen for the first time this season in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wilson picked up right where she left off in their Goshen win with a four-batter sixth, stranding a single at first base. Wilson allowed a lead-off hit in the bottom of the seventh to Tucker, but the junior battled back by striking out Evans for the first out. After getting a groundout for the second out of the frame, Wilson battled out of a hole and got Mihalic to go down on strikes, closing out the 9-5 win.
Guilliam earned her 16th win going five innings, while Wilson held the game in tact with two scoreless relief innings. Stotts went 3-4 in the win with a double, while Wirey had two hits and two RBI. Norman reached base safely twice, with her grand slam showing as the difference in the final score.
Marian will play Indiana Wesleyan in Thursday’s winner’s bracket game, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. in Upland, Ind.