Swearingen's big day at the plate propels Panthers to doubleheader split

Ashley Swearingen

CLERMONT, Fla. – The Hanover softball team rallied from a day-opening loss to Milwaukee School of Engineering (Wis.) by defeating Neumann (Pa.) 10-5 in the afternoon portion of its Monday doubleheader in Florida.

The Panthers (3-1) received five multi-hit performances in the win over the Knights, led by freshman Ashley Swearingen (Clarksville, Ind.), who went 3-for-5. Swearingen finished the day with a .714 batting average, successfully posting a hit in five of her seven at-bats.

Hanover, who did most of its offensive damage early, also received six combined runs from freshman Mackenzie Smith (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and sophomore Shelby Edington (New Goshen, Ind.). The duo combined for three hits in the win over Neumann as well.

Seniors Sidney Powers (Indianapolis, Ind.) and McKenzie Writt (Franklin, Ind.), along with junior Carlie Roark (Hebron, Ky.), also logged two hits in the second half of the doubleheader.

Swearingen drove in the first run of the Neumann contest with a two-out, RBI single to center field, scoring Smith, who led off with one of her two walks. The two-out rally continued with a single from Edington and a double from Powers, which drove in both Swearingen and Edington.

Junior Sydney Griffin (Cambridge City, Ind.) worked her way out of a jam in the bottom half of the first to secure the 3-0 lead. Griffin allowed just two runs over the first four innings and the Panther offensive backed her up with seven more runs, including four in the top half of the third frame.

Sophomore Taylor Merrill (Brownsburg, Ind.) highlighted the scoring spurt for HC, tallying all three of her RBI in the middle innings. Merrill drove in one run on a sac fly in the third and her other two RBI came on a bases-clearing double in the fourth.

Despite three runs from the Knights (0-1) in the fifth, Griffin retired six the final eight batters she faced, allowing just two walks, to secure the win.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (1-0) scored the opening three runs of the game in the opener, but a double from Edington in the bottom of the fourth inning cut the Panther deficit to 3-1, as sophomore Bailey Miller (Charlestown, Ind.) crossed home plate after appearing as a pinch runner.

The Raiders however, tacked on six more runs on five hits in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 9-1. The Blue and Red lined into a double play in the bottom half of the inning to conclude the game.

Hanover, who is now 17-9 in Florida games over the past four seasons, will return to action Tuesday. Feb. 27, before taking a day off. The Panthers will face York (Pa.) and Cabrini (Pa.) at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Contact: Tyler Jester