By David Hughes
TERRE HAUTE — “Senior Day” at St. Mary-of-the-Woods must have looked like so much fun that junior teammate Ashley Loomis thought she’d join the party.
Loomis, a former Riverton Parke High School standout, pitched a complete game in the opener, went 6 for 6 at the plate and hit an opposite-field home run to help The Woods sweep visiting cross-county rival Rose-Hulman 5-2 and 11-2 in college softball Wednesday.
The Pomeroys struck first in the first game. With two outs in the first inning, Theresa Alley walked and Loomis singled, setting the stage for senior Amanda Daniel’s RBI double to right field.
Rose answered with a run of its own in the top of the second. Katie Frey led off with a double and moved to third base on Kristin Greer’s sacrifice bunt before scoring on Ashley Montgomery’s single to right-center.
The Woods tallied twice in the fourth to move ahead 3-1. Loomis led off with a double to left-center. Two outs later, Jessica Ketner of Terre Haute belted a two-run homer to right-center.
Montgomery homered to left-center off Loomis to open the Rose-Hulman fifth, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
But the home team racked up two more runs in the sixth when senior Stacy Kutcher doubled to left-center with two outs, sending home Loomis and Daniel.
Loomis, who finished 3 for 3 offensively, held the Engineers scoreless in the sixth and seventh to improve her pitching record to 9-1.
“Ashley Loomis pitched a real good ballgame,” Woods coach Gary Rodgers said. “And when we needed it, our bats stepped up. Out hitting has been consistent for about six games now.”
In the second game, the Pomeroys’ hitting went beyond consistent. It was outstanding, although it took a while to get started.
The Woods pushed across one run in the first again. This time, senior Erica Ketner singled with one out and advanced to second on Alley’s sac bunt. The red-hot Loomis followed with an RBI single to left.
The visitors chalked up their only two runs off Woods pitcher Alisha Mosier in the top of the second. Frey led off with a single and Greer sac-bunted her to second. With two outs, Montgomery reached on an error, allowing Frey to score, then Amy Viles slapped an RBI single into right field.
The Pomeroys’ attack kicked into high gear in the fourth. The right-handed Loomis led off with a homer over the right-field fence and Daniel followed with a single. Although Daniel got doubled up when Lindsey McNulty lined out to third baseman Greer, Casey Simmons of Linton kept the inning going with a single and Kutcher walked. Whitney Haase then hit a grounder that was mishandled, enabling Simmons to score an unearned run.
The Woods erupted for six runs in the fifth. Erica Ketner led off with a double and McNulty later lined a two-out RBI double to left-center. Simmons slapped a two-run single between shortstop and third and Kutcher contributed an RBI double off the third baseman’s glove. Senior Allison Tomey completed the outburst with a two-run double into the right-center-field gap.
Daniel ended the game early in the sixth when she blasted a two-run homer over the center-field fence to plate Loomis, who had singled, and herself with the final runs.
“Alisha Mosier did a very good job of pitching for us,” Rodgers said of the nightcap. “And our bats picked up where they left off in the first game.”
Afterward, seniors Kutcher, Tomey, Erica Ketner, Mosier, Daniel and Erin Brackney were honored on the field after playing their final collegiate home games ever.
“This was really fun,” Loomis said. “We’re really going to miss all of our seniors. We all played really well today.”
“It was real exciting to beat Rose-Hulman two games because they are a good team,” Daniel mentioned after the postgame festivities.
Daniel admitted she was so glad to get an opportunity to bat in the sixth inning of the second game because she had popped out one inning earlier and she didn’t want that to be her last home at-bat.
“That [home run] was the perfect way to end my home softball career,” she said.
The Woods (18-10) will compete in the University of Illinois-Springfield tournament Saturday and Sunday.
Rose-Hulman (8-18) will be at home Friday to face Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Manchester for a doubleheader, starting at 5:30 p.m.
“The difference in the first game [Wednesday] was they hit the ball at the right times and we didn’t,” Rose coach Brian Shearer noted. “The second game was a good game for a while. But our pitching location wasn’t on and they took advantage of it.”