After being shutout 2-0 to start the doubleheader against Towson University, sophomore left fielder Kaitlyn Wells stepped up to bat for the Elon University softball team, who was down 3-1 to begin the bottom of the second inning. Four pitches later, she launched a home run, scoring freshman designated player Mauri Murray and tying the game 3-3.
Her first career home run was a missile, flying over the left field fence. Wells said she stayed disciplined in the box and was happy to have achieved that milestone.
“It's been a long time coming,” Wells said. “I have really been struggling and that being my first home run in my career was just really exciting. And I'm really glad I got to do it at a time that my team really needed me.”
Head coach Kathy Bocock said that despite her offensive struggles, she was proud of Wells’ dedication and hard work in practice that paid off on the field.
“It was a good moment for her,” Bocock said. “It's gonna be a good moment for our team because the more confidence we can get her, the better we’re going to be.”
Wells’ home run did not go unanswered by the Towson offense, which scored two runs in the top of the fourth. Despite giving up five runs, Bocock said sophomore pitcher Isley Duggins is a competitor no matter the score.
“Isley is very laid back, but she is a winner and she's a go-getter,” Bocock said. “We knew she could get it done.”
Of her five runs, only one of them was earned, as the Phoenix committed five errors in the afternoon, something Bocock said she is hoping to clean up.
“They're going to work on it,” Bocock said. “We were working on hitting a lot. Maybe we didn't work on the defense as much as we should on that side, but they're gonna be fine because they're a real good team. They'll make any adjustments.”
The Tigers committed seven errors during the game, which aided the Phoenix’s dramatic comeback in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore center fielder Chloe Hatzopoulos and senior second baseman Megan Grant reached second and third with two outs on two errors.
Senior right fielder Drew Menscer reached on a fielder’s choice, and came all the way around to score. Caught in a potential pickoff situation, Towson’s junior catcher Madyson Peters overthrew second and watched as the ball ricocheted off of the base, bouncing into the lone outfield and scoring all three runners.
Wells said watching the situation from the dugout was exhilarating.
“I was jumping up and down screaming,” Wells said. “I was just so happy for my teammates that they could get it done.”
Bocock said in the shuffle, the Phoenix was hoping to throw off the Tigers defense, which propelled the team to its 6-5 lead.
“Our girls knew what we were trying to do, we’re trying to cause chaos,” Bocock said. “And it happened, it really worked out.”
In the top of the seventh, Duggins escaped trouble once again, keeping the lead at 6-5 and ending the game with a victory. The Phoenix will look to take game three of the series at Hunt Softball Park in its strikeout cancer game at 1 p.m.
“Our defense has so much more to offer than we showed today,” Wells said. “I think if we can piece that together, then we are going to come back so strong and win that game tomorrow.”