Softball bests Bucknell in series finale

By Stephen Waldman Army Athletic Communications

April 25th, 2019 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
  Junior shortstop/third baseman Emily Ballesteros provided the key base knock for the Black Knights in the series-clinching victory with a two-run single in the fourth inning in Army West Point’s 4-2 win over Bucknell Sunday at the Army Softball Complex.                     Photo by Army Athletic Communications

The Army West Point Softball team built off the momentum from Saturday’s game one victory and competed its way to a 4-2 victory over Bucknell in the series finale on Sunday at the Army Softball Complex.
Junior shortstop/third baseman Emily Ballesteros provided the key base knock for the Black Knights in the series-clinching victory with a two-run single in the fourth inning, while sophomore third baseman/shortstop Ally Snelling added a double earlier in the inning to spark the team.
The combination of junior pitcher Macey Newbary and rookie designated player/pitcher Jolie Duong kept the Bison off balance all day in the circle.
Newbary picked up her ninth win of the season after scattering six hits and two earned runs over four innings of work, while Duong notched her first-career save.
The Houston native closed out the final three innings of the game without allowing a base runner and fanning two hitters.
How it happened
• Bucknell began the game with four-straight bunts, including a single by Lauren Hadley that plated Allyse Volpe for the first run.
• Nicole Rivait drove in the second run of the game for the Bison in the following frame as the visitors took a 2-0 edge.
• Army responded in the fourth inning with its second three-run outburst of the weekend.
• Duong reached on a two-out error with the bases loaded to bring Army within one before Ballesteros singled in freshman pinch runner Tessa Leman and sophomore rightfielder Grace Mattimore to take a 3-2 advantage.
• Senior first baseman Carrie Reilly reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning and forced an errant throw from the Bison defense that allowed sophomore centerfielder Taylor Livingston to score an insurance run for the Black Knights.

Army highlights and game notes
• Army has won its fourth-straight series over Bucknell dating back to 2016.
• The Black Knights are the only Patriot League team to defeat the Bison this year.
• Snelling recorded her team-best 13th double of the season.
• Leman scored the 10th run of her rookie campaign.
• Mattimore tallied her 20th hit of the season.
• The Ashville, Virginia, native drew her 10th free pass of the year.
• Ballesteros notched the 130th base hit of her career.
• The Chino Hills, California, native contributed her second multi-RBI effort of the season.
• Newbary contributed her ninth win of the year.
• Duong earned her first collegiate save.
• It was the first save for Army in 2019.
• The Houston native appeared in her 25th game for the Black Knights.

Coach’s corner
• Interim head coach Bob Beretta—“I am very proud of our team. The ladies battled hard all weekend long. I thought we had just one really bad inning in the entire series. I thought we did a very nice job of minimizing damage in the first inning today when we found ourselves in a bit of early trouble. Macey did a very nice job of holding Bucknell to just one run in that spot. The game could have gotten away from us quickly, but instead we were able to limit Bucknell and allow our offense to overcome a manageable deficit later in the game.”
• “We did a nice job of stringing together a few hits to take the lead with three runs in the fourth before adding a crucial insurance run in the fourth. We ran the bases aggressively and took advantage of our opportunities. Macey gave us a strong start in the circle and Jolie was outstanding again, this time firing three shutout innings in relief to shut the door.”
• “We felt like we needed to win at least two games this weekend to keep our playoff hopes alive. We also knew it was going to take a solid all-around team effort to accomplish that against a team that entered the series undefeated in Patriot League play. I’m very proud of how our team responded to that challenge. This group has shown great character all season and never stopped grinding through adversity. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we took a big step forward this weekend.”