Becca Shipper about to slap at the ball as it comes to her at the plate. Photo by Chris Crews

The Charlotte 49ers softball team had a long weekend at the D. L. Phillips Softball Complex with a total of five games starting Friday through Sunday. The women started the weekend off strong bringing home two wins on Friday against Bowling Green with the final score of 2-0 and Bonaventure with 4-1. They then captured two close wins on Saturday as they played against Canisius in consecutive games with final scores of 9-8 and 4-3.

Charlotte won the tournament with a 7-3 victory on Sunday over Bowling Green, bringing their record to 8-3 so far this season.

Game 1:

The 49ers started their first game of the First Pitch Classic against the Bowling Green Falcons.

When sophomore Erin Powers stepped up to bat in the bottom of the second inning, both teams had yet to score. Powers would fix that as she hit her first career home run. She then helped Charlotte score yet another run in the bottom of the fourth by hitting the ball right along the  foul line so Junior Haley Pace could bring it home.

Haley Wiseman had a strong day in the circle, striking out seven of the Bowling Green batters. The 49ers finished off the game with a total of 2 runs, leaving the Falcons with 0. The win gave Charlotte some momentum as they headed into their second game of the day against Bonaventure.


Game 2:

The 49ers started off strong in the second game of the tournament as shortstop Pace gave Charlotte their first home run at the top of the first. Spencer Gray made it back to home plate in the second  inning when Taylar Byrne bunted the ball, which allowed her other teammate Kiersten Berrier to advance to third.

Charlotte scored again at the top of the fifth when Meredith Harris bunted a single, giving teammate Haley Pace enough time to cross Homeplate for the second time that game. Grace Beatty gave Charlotte their final run of the game when she homered the ball into left field at the top of the seventh inning.

In only her second career start as a 49er, Lauren Riley was able to keep the Bonnies from scoring a single run until the bottom of the 7th.  St. Bonaventure tried to rally back, but came up short after only getting 1 run.

The  49ers capped off their Friday with 2 wins and a lot of confidence as they headed into their double header on Saturday.

Haley Pace waiting to greet her teammates outside the dugout. Photo by Chris Crews

Game 3:

Coming off an extremely dominating performance on Friday, Charlotte went into day two of the First Pitch Classic with a lot of confidence. The women hit the field at 12:15 on Saturday for their first game against the Canisius Griffins.

Freshman pitcher, Allison Green, started with the ball for the second time in her Charlotte career. Both teams started off strong, each scoring three runs in the first inning. The 49ers lost the lead at the top of the third, but they kept the game close. By the top of the seventh inning, Charlotte managed to tie it up.

Relief pitcher, Lauren Riley, was able to keep the Griffins scoreless as they entered the bottom of the seventh.  Junior Grace Beatty and sophomore Erin Powers had both gotten on base when Taylar Byrne stepped into the box to bat. The junior hit a bunt that give teammate Beatty enough time to make it from third back to home plate, scoring the winning run for the 49ers.

The final score was a close 9-8, but they had very little time to celebrate before their next game.

Game 4:

Immediately following their game at 12:15, Charlotte and Canisius hit the field once again at 2:30. Both teams were extremely competitive in the first game, which made for a much more interesting rematch. Unlike the previous game, neither team scored in the first inning, but Charlotte quickly set the pace during the second.

Haley Pace hit a homer into left field at the bottom of the second inning. Meredith Harris launched one way out into center field, giving teammate Beatty the perfect opportunity to score a run from third.

Again, the Griffins went scoreless at the top of the third, and the 49ers scored another two runs when the bases were loaded, due to a throwing error by Canisius. It looked like the 49ers had this game locked up again as they headed into the fifth inning.

The Griffins scored their first home run at the top of the fifth, and scored a double home run at the top of the sixth. With the game almost tied again heading into the final inning, it was up to junior Pitcher, Haley Wiseman, to keep Canisius from scoring another run.

With the help from everyone on base, the lady 49ers were able to strike out one of the Griffins, and tag 2 others on base, leaving the score at 4-3, Charlotte. Unlike the previous one, the women had more time to celebrate this victory and their dominating performance before they headed into their final game on Sunday.


Game 5:

The final game of the First Pitch Classic started at 12:25 on Sunday afternoon. Having won every single game of the tournament thus far, the 49ers hit the field with a lot of energy.

Matched up against Bowling Green, their first opponents from Friday’s game, Charlotte took the lead right off the bat as Sophomore Becca Shipper advanced from third base back to home plate with the help of teammate Beatty’s single into right field. They continued their momentum into the second  inning as Lizzy Birch scored her first run of the game.

After Charlotte gave up one run in the top of the third, Meredith Harris and Haley Pace made up for it when Harris hit one out to center field, giving Pace the chance to score her first run of the day.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, both Berrier and Ocker were able to make it around the bases, giving Charlotte an impressive lead of 5-1 over Bowling Green. In the bottom of the sixth with Ocker on base, Junior Grace Beatty homered the ball into left field, putting the 49ers another two runs ahead of the Falcons.

Bowling Green had an impressive seventh inning by making up two runs, which brought their total up to three. However, they were still trailing by four runs, and the lady 49ers rounded off the First Pitch Classic with a dominating sweep of the tournament.

Charlotte heads into the Green & White Tournament next weekend here at the D. L Phillips Softball Complex where they hope to have a similar performance.

Haley Wiseman in the midst of throwing a pitch. Photo by Chris Crews
Veronica Shoemaker is a sophomore at UNC Charlotte from Livonia Michigan. She packed up her life and moved down to North Carolina to chase a career in NASCAR. She is working towards a Communications and Spanish double-major with a minor in Journalism. She is also a huge sports fan, a part-time artist, and a writer for the Niner Times sport section.