Strong pitching, hitting leads Army Softball to series win

By Stephen Waldman Army Athletic Communications

 Senior pitcher Renee Poirier of the Army West Point Softball team guided the Black Knights with a strong pitching effort to an 8-0 run-rule victory in the series finale Sunday at Lafayette in Easton, Pa. Poirier, a Plainville, Mass., native struck out seven over five innings of work while allowing just two hits.  Photos by Army Athletic Communications

A strong pitching performance by senior pitcher Renee Poirier of the Army West Point Softball team and a balanced offensive effort guided the Black Knights to an 8-0 run-rule victory in the series finale Sunday at Lafayette in Easton, Pennsylvania.
The Black Knights, who improved to 15-19 on the season and 4-2 in Patriot League play, received a stellar pitching performance from Poirier in the circle as the Plainville, Massachusetts, native struck out seven over five innings of work while allowing just two hits.
The offense was clicking early and often as the visitors slugged nine hits on the afternoon, including a Taylor Drayton home run and a double by sophomore catcher Ally Snelling. Snelling boasted a game-high three hits with her double to go along with a walk, run scored and RBI. Drayton drove in a team-high three runs in the game as well.

How it happened
• Sophomore leftfielder Drayton spotted the Black Knights a two-run lead before Lafayette had an at-bat with a two-run homer in the top of the first.
• Army continued its offensive pressure in the following frame with a three-run inning.
• Poirier, sophomore centerfielder Taylor Livingston and senior second baseman Ashley Yoo led off the second with three consecutive hits with Yoo driving in the Army pitcher.
• Drayton collected her third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to score Livingston before a Snelling single plated Yoo.
• The Black Knights continued their relentless attack in the fifth when junior designated player Emily Ballesteros slashed a single to left that scored freshman pinch runner Tessa Leman to make it a 6-0 game.
• Livingston plated rookie third baseman Madi Gilmore on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to add to Army’s advantage.
• The Cadets collected their eighth and final run in the sixth stanza when junior pinch hitter Katie Ontiveros contributed a pinch-hit, two-out base knock that allowed Snelling to cross the plate.

Army highlights and game notes
• Army improved to 4-2 in Patriot League play and joins Bucknell as the only teams to win their first two league series.
• Drayton slugged her third home run of the year, tying sophomore catcher Grace Mattimore for the team lead.
• It was the fifth long ball of her career.
• The Clayton, N.C., native became the fifth Cadet to record double-digit RBI this season as she brought her 2019 total to 12.
• She added Army’s fourth three-RBI effort.
• Snelling tied Yoo for the team lead with her eighth multi-hit effort and recorded her team-high seventh double.
• The Las Vegas native has tallied back-to-back multi-hit games for the third time this season.
• She became the second Cadet to record multiple three-hit games this season, joining rookie rightfielder Bianca Gonzalez.
• Snelling notched her 25th hit of the year.
• Poirier took over sole possession of 10th place on Army’s all-time wins list, breaking a tie with Kristen West with her 29th career victory.
• The Plainville, Massachusetts, native also took over sixth on the career strikeout list with 208, passing Ashlie Christian’s career mark of 205 punchouts.
• Poirier tied her second-highest single-game strikeout total with seven today, matching her output against Georgetown (Feb. 25, 2017) and Columbia (March 5, 2017).
• Ontiveros collected her 50th career base hit.

Coach’s corner
• Interim head coach Bob Beretta—“I was very pleased with the mindset we brought into (Sunday’s) game. We had a much better approach at the plate from the moment we stepped off the bus. Taylor Drayton set the tone early with a big two-run home run in the first inning. And we did a nice job of playing offense and extending that lead in the second. Ally Snelling had a strong offensive weekend and seemed to be in the middle of every rally yesterday and today. And Taylor Livingston was on base as awful lot. She did a nice of of producing runs out of the nine-hole for us.”
• “I thought Renee (Poirier) was dominant. She was overpowering throughout the game in difficult weather conditions. It was cold, windy and rainy, and none of it seemed to bother our club today. We brought a championship mindset to the field and just kept attacking. Renee epitomized that. She located four pitches for strikes and was unhittable for most of the day. She also ripped a single, stole a base and scored a big run for us in the second inning. I couldn’t be happier for her. She really seems to be rounding back into form.”
• “Hopefully Sunday’s performance will carry over and we can get on a run. We’ve been so close to taking off all year. We seem ready for that to happen now.”