Senior center fielder Bekah Kastning went 5-for-8 on Monday when the Chargers matched up with the Tiffin Dragons. (Photo: Sarah Klopfer / Courtesy)

After beginning con­ference play over the weekend, the Hillsdale College softball team split dou­ble­headers against Uni­versity of Findlay and Tiffin Uni­versity, leaving the Chargers 2 – 2 in con­ference and 12 – 15 overall on the season.

The Chargers opened the con­ference season with a 4 – 2 win against Findlay on Friday, when freshman pitcher Dana Weidinger’s four strikeouts and no earned runs allowed were paired with Hillsdale runs in three con­sec­utive innings by freshman right fielder Vic­toria Addis, freshman shortstop Sam Catron, and senior cen­ter­fielder Bekah Kastning. In the sixth inning, sophomore left fielder Katie Kish scored Kastning for the final run of the game.

“We hit better than we did in Florida,” junior third baseman Jessica Taylor said. “Seeing the pro­gression of the hitting off GLIAC pitchers helped us see we’d be a com­pet­itive team in the GLIAC.”

Though the Chargers matched the Oilers’ hitting in game two, they began the game with an early 3 – 0 deficit that stuck for the first five innings. Getting runners around the bases proved dif­ficult until the top of the sixth, when hits from senior catcher Cassie Asselta and junior third baseman Kelsey Gockman brought in Kastning and Kish, bringing the score to 3 – 2. The game ended abruptly after a Findlay double play ended the top of the seventh inning, pre­venting any further scoring oppor­tu­nities for the Chargers.

“It’s frus­trating to lose the second game after you win the first, but it really just comes down to hitting better,” Kastning said. “We played fairly solid defense, but we do need to hit better.”

Hillsdale won the opener against Tiffin 4 – 2, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third. Gockman’s two-out, two-run double scored Kastning and freshman catcher Sydney San Juan, giving the Chargers a lead they main­tained for the rest of the game. 

“It was the kind of hit we’ve been missing for the most part this year,” head coach Joe Abraham said.

Later in the inning, Gockman scored on an Asselta single, and in the bottom of the fifth, a walk drawn by Addis with the bases loaded scored Kish. 

Though the Chargers outhit Tiffin in the nightcap, timely hitting proved dif­ficult. The only runs came in the second and fifth innings off singles from Catron and Gockman for a 3 – 2 loss — the second of the weekend. 

“We need to start car­rying over the excitement and energy from the first game into the second game,” Taylor said.

Abraham said the team will work on improving pressure hitting, smart baserunning, and bunting — and he hopes the team will be able to get some key wins this weekend.

“We’re hitting decently, we’re just not doing it with people in scoring position,” Abraham said. “We’re right on the verge of being a really good team, but we just have to play a clean seven innings and we’ve had trouble doing that so far.”

Next week, the Chargers will play home dou­ble­headers against Grand Valley State Uni­versity on Sat­urday and against Ferris State Uni­versity on Sunday. 

“It’s going to be two tough dou­ble­headers,” he said. “We need to pick up at least two or three wins in these four games, so it will be a good chal­lenge for our girls.”