Lady Sailfish Sweep Home Opener Over Rival Northwood University

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Welcoming in West Palm Beach rival Northwood University on Tuesday evening for their home opener, the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team came through with a pair of wins, including a second game in which they won in extra innings on a game-winning single by sophomore Chelsea Gravini.

After trailing 5-2 entering the sixth inning, PBA came through with three runs, highlighted by a two-run homerun by freshman sensation Caitlin Bouschet (Lake Worth, Fla.) that put the Fish within striking distance.

Trailing by only one run entering their potential final at-bats, the Sailfish were able to push across a single run in the seventh to force extra innings. Gravini would start the rally this time by reaching on an error and move up to second base on a Northwood passed ball. After moving up once again on a groundout, Gravini would come home to score and force extra innings on an RBI sacrifice fly by senior Cheryl Stephens (Canton, Ga.).

After sophomore Heather Laird (Venice, Fla.) was able to retire the Seahawks in order in the top-half of the eighth, the blue and white offensive attack would once again go to work.

After recording the first out fairly quickly, Northwood hurler Erin Lambros (Toronto, Canada) would run into trouble as freshman Sarah Bronson (Cape Coral, Fla.) laced a hard single into right-field before being replaced by pinch runner Mellissa Wallach (West Palm Beach, Fla.).

Speedster and PBA dual-sport standout Katie Medder (Miami, Fla.) would quickly follow with a perfectly executed bunt single followed up by a sharp single by third-baseman Dani Perrotti (Orlando, Fla.), which would load the bases and set up Gravini’s heroics. Going the opposite way, Gravini smashed the Lambros offering into leftfield and sending the Sailfish faithful into celebration as Wallach came home easily with the winning run.

Gravini’s game-winning hit would never have been possible had it not been for the stellar pitching performance of Laird. A right-hander out of Manatee Community College, Laird went the full eight innings for her first win of the season while totaling a career high nine strikeouts. Appearing to get stronger as the came went on, Laird allowed five runs but only three were earned while allowing nine hits.

Inserted into the leadoff spot in the lineup, Medder responded with three hits to pace the Sailfish 13-hit attack while four other teammates registered multiple hit games including: Perrotti, Gravini, Bouschet, and Bronson. Bouschet reached base three times as she added in a walk to go along with two hits, including her first collegiate homerun and stolen base.

Now 3-5 to start the season, PBA will look to continue their momentum as they travel for a pair of double-headers this weekend by going to the University of Tampa on Friday, February 8th and then on to Eckerd College on Saturday, February 9th. First pitch for Friday’s game versus the Spartans is set for 4 pm followed up by a 1 pm start time on Saturday against the Tritons.

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