Hamm twirls a shutout, Kenyon Owls earn split

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Kenyon College softball team used brilliant pitching and dependable defense to defeat Hilbert College, 1-0, in Thursday’s first game at Central Park Sports Complex. Game two was a battle of the bats and Albion College held on to defeat Kenyon, 9-7.

Kenyon first-year pitcher Kylie Hamm was the center of attention in game one as she turned in a veteran-like performance, shutting out previously unbeaten Hilbert (4-1) on three hits. She walked just one and struck out eight.

Hilbert got a lead-off runner on board in each of the first three innings, but Hamm remained poised and worked through it. After a Hilbert lead-off single in the third, Hamm went on to retire 11 straight batters, including five by strikeouts.

Kenyon, which had six hits in the game, got the only run it needed in the top of the sixth inning. Brooke Avila started things off with a single up the middle and Maeve McLaughlin poked a single through the left side, putting runners on first and second with one out. Madison Buckwalter then singled up the middle and Avila raced home, beating the throw from center field.

Hamm gave up a lead-off single in the bottom of the seventh and that runner, who represented the tying run, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Hamm then coaxed a pop-up and closed the door with her final strikeout of the game.

Sophia Lynch had two hits in game one and shortstop Arianna Jalomo made multiple defensive plays that thwarted any Hilbert momentum.

In game two, hitters prevailed over pitchers. Albion (6-3) raced out of the gate with four runs in the first two innings, knocking Kenyon starter Amanda Harris out of the game. Hamm came on in relief, but she just didn’t have the same stuff she had in game one.

Kenyon’s offense overcame the early struggle. In the third inning, the Owls tallied four runs to knot things up. Lynch got the rally going with a single. She advanced two bases on wild pitches and then scored on a sacrifice bunt from Celia Torino. After Jalomo singled and Avila got on base via an Albion error, McLaughlin stroked an RBI single and Buckwalter followed with a two-run double to left.

Things quieted down during the next two innings, but Albion batters started timing up Hamm and got to her for two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, giving the Britons a 9-4 cushion.

Facing that five-run deficit in the top of the seventh, Kenyon rallied again and put a scare into Albion before the final out was recorded. The Owls had three hits in the inning and benefited from a pair of Albion errors to score three times. The big knock came from Keala Montgomery, who smashed a two-run double to the left field wall.

Montgomery, Jalomo and Natalya Delsante all had two hits in game two. Jalomo also scored twice and had a RBI. Both Montgomery and Buckwalter had two RBI.

Kenyon (2-4) has Friday off and will return to action Saturday with an 11 a.m. game against UMass Boston and a 1 p.m. contest against St. Joseph’s University, New York.

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