PIKE CREEK – Padua’s second-ranked softball team had suffered its first loss last Thursday in Milford, but the Pandas didn’t let that bad taste linger any longer than it had to. Padua scored two unearned runs in the first inning and went on to a 4-2 win over Ursuline on May 9 at Midway Softball Complex.
Padua had eight hits on the afternoon, but none in the first inning. Hannah Williams drew a walk to lead off the contest and promptly stole second. Caitlin Baxter laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw from Raiders catcher Grace Nordmeyer eluded first baseman Gina Hallman. That allowed Williams to score and Baxter to reach second. Baxter stole third and came home on another Ursuline error.
Ursuline battled back to tie it up in their half of the first. Julia Hallman doubled, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Rory Kendle. Kendle came home on a long double to the right-center field wall by Gina Hallman.
Pandas pitcher Abby Cunningham settled down after that, however, striking out the side in the second and setting the Raiders down in order in the fourth and fifth innings as well. Ursuline did manage to get two runners on in the third, and they had a runner reach in both the sixth and seventh innings. The Raiders were unable to bring them in.
Alex Musial had the play of the day, and perhaps one of the plays of the year, to help Cunningham in the fifth. With one out, Julia Hallman sent a laser down the third-base line for what looked like a sure double. But Musial, the third baseman who was playing a few feet in front of the bag, reached quickly to her right to make the stab, keeping the bases empty.
She also was involved in a strange play on offense in the top of the sixth inning. Browning brought one inside, and Musial sent the ball foul down the third-base line. The unusual part was that the barrel of her bat helicoptered toward third base, leaving Musial holding the handle as a souvenir.
The Pandas scored what proved to be the winning run in the third. Amelia Giordano singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Williams grounded out to Ursuline pitcher Toni Browning to move Giordano to third, and Baxter picked up the run batted in with another groundout. Padua added an insurance run in the seventh when Kierstin Fallers beat out an infield single for an RBI.
The recent rain means a busy schedule continues for Padua (10-1) on Wednesday, when Hodgson visits Midway Softball Complex for a 3:45 p.m. start. Ursuline’s record fell to 4-6. The Raiders continue with the second of their four games this week Tuesday night at Red Lion at 7 p.m.