SAINT LEO, Fla. – In the first game of the annual Saint Leo Challenge, the Saint Leo University softball team defeated the visiting Southeastern Fire by a score of 5-0. The Friday afternoon contest allowed the Lions to improve their record to 11-5 for the season.
The Lions jumped on the bats early on by scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead. The offensive attack began when the Lions' second batter, junior Brittany Ewing, singled to right field and advanced to second base on an errant throw. Two plays later, senior Rachelle Gremo sent a single to short right field and scored Ewing from second base.
With the Fire unable to score any runs, the Lions were able to tack on some more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and increase their lead. The inning began with a walk to Kelsey LaNeave, who eventually took second base on a wild pitch. The next batter, Angela Kafalas, sent a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher and allowed LaNeave to take third base freely. With one out and a runner on third base, Emily Holman then sent a bunt single to the pitcher that allowed LaNeave to score easily. On the next play, Kaitlynn Diaz singled to centerfield, advancing Holman to second base. Freshman Jessica LoBianco then grounded out to the first baseman, allowing both Holman and Diaz to advance one base each. With two outs and runners on second and third, the opposing pitcher, Sam Rich, then sent a passed ball passed the hands of the Fire catcher, which allowed both Holman and Diaz to score, unearned.
The Lions crossed the plate again in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Fire pitcher Angel Heglin allowed Saint Leo centerfielder Chelsey Steedley to take first base on walk. Steedley stole second on the next pitch, and after Gremoe sent a double over the left-fielder, Steedley quickly took home.
In addition to five runs, the Lions' offense collected eight hits, seven walks, and three stolen bases on the afternoon.
The Lions will return to action tomorrow for day two of the Saint Leo Challenge, when they take on Francis Marion from University Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.
For more information on the Saint Leo softball program, please visit Saintleolions.com. Also, be sure to 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram and 'Like' the Lions on Facebook.