By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chevonne Hayslett had a memorable day both in the box and in the circle as served as an integral part of Capital Softball's two walk-off wins over Wilmington College, but also doing so while demonstrating the true definition of a Division III student-athlete.
Capital was forced to shuffle the lineup in both games due to multiple players having class commitments during the day. One of those players, Chevonne Hayslett (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg), put forth a standout effort on the field, broke away to fulfill said commitment, and then returned to help guide the Crusaders to victory.
GAME 1 - Wilmington 2, Capital 3
The first shuffle of the day came when Capital's normal game one starter Brianna Reardon was moved to pitch game two due to a class commitment. That forced Hayslett to start game one, where she went the distance and gave Cap an honest chance to pull out the victory.
Capital was also without its offensive leader, Alyx Slusher, for half of the first game due to a class commitment. Due to the excess shuffling, Kristen Mellott earned the start at first base and Allie Saulnier was asked to take on the catching duties with Hayslett pitching.
The theatrics began when sophomore Erica Ogden (Grove City, Ohio/Bishop Ready) ripped her first home run of the season, a solo homer that clear the fence in center and hit off of the yellow boundary of the baseball field's wall.
Hayslett retired the Wilmington lineup in order in both the second and third innings and allowed just one base runner in innings two through four, combined. The Quakers tied the game when a leadoff walk came around to score on KenDahl Bowles' one-out single, but Hayslett ended the inning with a strike-out, throw-out to retired Kennedy Clifton at the plate and Bowles trying to steal second base.
In nearly the same fashion, Capital retook the lead when Maria Keller led off the fifth inning with a walk and came around to score on Hayslett's RBI single down the left field line. The Quakers once again put the leadoff hitter on and a sacrifice fly tied the game again, 2-2.
Wilmington nearly took the lead in the top of the seventh, but what would have been a sacrifice fly to give the Quakers the lead was called back and turned into an inning-ending double play. Mariah Burk worked a leadoff walk and was replaced by pinch runner Micalah Hens. Hens was moved to third base via a sacrifice bunt and then beat the throw to third when Hayslett fielded a grounder and tried to get the lead runner. Megan Crager then hit a deep fly ball to center and Hens tagged from third, but after she crossed the plate the Crusaders appealed that Hens left early. The appeal was upheld and Hens was ruled out for the third out of the inning.
Capital decided the end it before extra innings kicked in. Junior Morgan Fadel led the inning off with a single and was moved the second with a sacrifice by Barrett Littman. A ground out to the right side moved Fadel to third, and then senior Kristen Mellott (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) strolled to the plate. With a 1-0 count, Mellott roped a single up the middle that easily scored Fadel and ended the game, 3-2.
Hayslett earned the win in the circle after tossing 7.0 innings and surrendered just two runs on seven hits and three walks. She did so in less than 100 pitches.
GAME 2 - Wilmington 3, Capital 4 (final/8 innings)
Reardon returned to Clowson Field to get the start for game two, but this time it was Hayslett that needed to leave for a class commitment. Saulnier again stepped in to catch for Reardon, but Hayslett would return and make a major impact on the outcome of the game.
Wilmington struck first with a three-run first inning fueled by three extra-base hits, including a two-run homer by Mariah Huff. It was the last time Wilmington would score that day.
Alyx Slusher reentered the starting lineup and hit a two-out single to get Cap started. An error extended the inning and Ogden once again came through with the hit that put Capital on the board for the first time. It took the Crusaders four more innings to mark up the scoreboard again.
For the second time that day, Slusher got on base and began a rally that helped Capital tie the game. She and Mellott hit back-to-back singles to force Wilmington into a pitching change. They went to Grace Shell, who pitched all of game one. Shell loaded the bases with a walk to the first batter she faced. After retiring the next batter, Lauren Kachure rolled a single through the left side and pinch hitter Haley Grau hit an infield single deep into the hole at short, each scoring a run and tying the game, 3-3.
Hayslett had returned from her class presentation prior to the start of the second inning and came back to catch, but when the Crusaders tied the game they asked her to shed the gear and return to the circle for the second time that day. She went on to retire all nine batters she faced in succession.
Both teams failed to score in the final three innings which forced an eighth frame to be played. After Hayslett went 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, she stepped up to the plate. The senior wasted no time and on the first pitch she faced from Shell, Hayslett blasted a no-doubter, walk-off home run over the center field fence to end the game.
Not only did Hayslett rip the game-winning hit, but she also earned her second win in the circle that day. Hayslett (W, 4-9) came in for three innings of work and dropped the Quakers in order in each inning.
Slusher finished the game hitting 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Ogden went 2-for-3 and was one of four different Crusaders to record an RBI in game two.
Following its sweep of Wilmington, Capital (12-24, 4-10 OAC) will now prepare for a matchup with Baldwin Wallace on Good Friday, April 19. Should weather not interfere, the games will be played at 1 and 3 p.m. in Berea.
As a side note, the class presentation Chevonne Hayslett partook in was part of a group public relations project that was designed to raise awareness of homelessness in Columbus and Franklin County. It was presented to the leadership of Fahlgren Mortine Integrated Marketing and Communications Agency, which is also a partner of Capital University. It was a very busy, but great day for the senior from Miamisburg.