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Macy Hamby
Macy Hamby went two-for-three with a run scored.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Softball Falls to James Madison

The App State Mountaineers dropped their Friday contest to the James Madison Dukes 10-2 in six innings, despite a multi-hit effort from Macy Hamby and a seventh-inning run. App State cranked five hits in the contest and played well defensively, but a strong start from the Dukes powered them to the win.

The Mountaineer (17-22, 4-12 SBC) bats started the contest hot with three hits in the first two innings but hits with runners in scoring position were hard to come by as James Madison (27-16, 9-7 SBC) stranded eight runners on the basepaths.

In 3.2 innings of relief, Alannah Hopkins did well to keep the hot Duke bats at bay as she retired eight in a row at one point and struck out a batter. It was her first appearance since March 23.

Grace Barrett continued her recent hot stretch at the plate with her fourth RBI of the week and her third hit in the last two games. Barrett has hit safely in six of her last seven contests. Hamby’s two-hit day marked her second consecutive multi-knock outing as she has tallied five hits in her last three games.

JMU started the game red-hot at the plate, striking for five runs on five hits to take an early lead. Hopkins came in with the bases clear and one out and after giving up a hit, she retired the next hitter she saw via a flyout to end the inning.

Needing an answer, the Mountaineers tallied two hits and put runners at second and third with two outs in the bottom of the first. Barrett’s single up the middle helped start the rally and Peyton Darnell’s single through the left side put two runners on. Facing pressure early, the Dukes were able to force a groundout to end the inning and keep their advantage.

Hopkins came back out for the second and fired a perfect inning, picking up the first strikeout of her outing on a nasty pitch. Addie Wray led off the bottom of the second inning with a line-drive single into left, but nothing came of the leadoff baserunner as play moved to the third.

The Dukes went down in order again as Hopkins induced three flyball outs to make it seven in a row retired by the sophomore. Feeding off the energy from Hopkins’ clean inning, the Mountaineers sent the top of their order to the plate in the third looking to start a scoring chance.

Barrett led off the inning by working into a hitter’s count and drawing a walk to mark the third straight inning the Mountaineers put their leadoff hitter on. After a groundout advanced the runner to second, Darnell worked a walk, her second time aboard, and a two-out walk to Killian Roberts loaded the bases for Wray. The lefty put the ball in play sharply, but the Duke defense made the play ending the inning.

App State’s defense shined bright in inning No. 4 as a one-out double put a runner in scoring position for the first time since the first inning. Working to keep the Dukes at bay, Hopkins induced a sinking liner into center that was run down on a diving effort by Wray in center. Coming back to her feet, Wray fired back into second base to double off the runner and make it three straight scoreless frames for the Mountaineers.

Hamby led off the fourth inning with an infield hit and was immediately advanced to second on a wild pitch, the third time in the first four innings that App State had a runner reach second base. After a strikeout, Abby Cunningham was hit by a pitch which forced a James Madison pitching change. Keeping the pressure on, both Hailey Webb, who pinch-ran for Hamby, and Cunningham moved up a base on a wild pitch, giving Barrett a chance to score a run. She did just that, putting the ball in play to shortstop to score Webb, trimming the deficit to four.

Despite the run from App State, JMU answered with three runs in the fifth on four hits. It was the Dukes’ first runs since the opening frame. The Mountaineers sent the heart of their order to the plate in the bottom half of the fifth, but they couldn’t answer.

Another pair of runs crossed the plate for James Madison in the sixth inning to push its lead to eight. Needing two runs to extend the game, Hamby’s second hit of the game helped start a rally as she came around to score in the seventh, but the Dukes retired the final two hitters to claim the win.

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}