Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Not all doubleheader splits are created equal.
Sure, the primary goal is a sweep. But when you’re looking for a confidence-boosting win and you’re playing the No. 12 team in the country, a key victory over one of the nation’s best teams and best pitchers makes for a pretty good day. The Fort Lewis College softball team, behind perhaps Kassie Haubert’s best pitching performance of the season, topped star hurler Kelly Unkrich and Colorado Mines 2-1 in Game 1 before dropping Game 2 6-3 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader Friday at Aspen Field.
Haubert was as nimble as a ballerina in the circle in the opener, deftly dancing out of danger on multiple occasions to move to 3-7 on the year. She allowed just one earned run on eight hits with six strikeouts and four walks, the only run coming home to roost in the first inning on a wild pitch.
Later in that first inning, she stranded two runners in scoring position with a strikeout of Melissa Marshall. She got out of a bases-loaded situation in the second with a fielder’s-choice groundball from Kamee Vessey.
But Haubert saved her best effort for the fifth inning to hold the 2-1 lead. Two doubles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. But she retired the next three batters with a strikeout and two popouts to second base to escape unscathed.
“We had the momentum on our side. ... And that’s really what it does when you get out of jams,” Haubert said.
The Skyhawks (7-14, 5-11 RMAC) went up 2-1 in the second inning off Unkrich (14-1) despite not recording a hit. Mariah Stuart reached on an error by first baseman Marshall, scoring Haubert to tie the game. Then, Erica Conley grounded to Courtney Derus, whose throw home skipped and handcuffed catcher Sami Springer, allowing Hayley Bolyard to slide in with the eventual winning run.
“It was huge. Just having those couple of errors. ... I said, ‘Keep putting the ball in play because you never know what could happen.’ And that’s what they did,” said FLC assistant coach Erin Holloway, who’s handling head coaching duties this weekend after the unexpected death of head coach Kira Zeiter’s father earlier this week. FLC wore black armbands with Bruce Zeiter’s initials on them Friday, and there was a moment of silence observed before the first game to honor his memory.
Mines (23-4-1, 14-2 RMAC) went up 2-0 in Game 2 on an RBI single by Vessey in the first inning and a solo home run by Morgan Anderson in the third.
FLC, however, bounced back with an RBI single by Kaitlyn Bending and a two-out, two-run triple from Kaylynn Harmon to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third.
The Orediggers brought the power bats out to battle back in front. The big blow was Derus’ pinch-hit, three-run homer with two outs in the fifth off FLC starter Victoria Johnson (2-5) to give Mines a 5-3 lead. Derus added a solo shot in the seventh to cap the scoring, going 2-for-2 with two homers and four RBIs in Game 2.
“They weren’t pitches that typically get hit out. ... Got to give the props to them. They’re a great hitting team,” Holloway said. “We’ve got the potential to be that good,” Haubert said. “It’s obviously a confidence booster, and I think it was good for us to see that.”