Charlotte softball returned to the diamond for the first time in 2021 to take on Appalachian State.
The 49ers hosted the Mountaineers on Friday, Feb. 12, and Tuesday, Feb. 16. Weather-related cancellations resulted in the need for a doubleheader on Tuesday.
The Niners didn't start their first game well. They allowed App State to score two runs in the first frame and didn't score a point until the fifth inning.
By the bottom of the seventh inning, they looked at a loss if they didn't get two points to tie the game. After two walks and a single by Garrett, Charlotte had the bases loaded with Henderson up to bat. She hit a grounder to second and got herself out, but it brought Bowman home to make it a one-score game.
A single from Gray during the next batting attempt brought Mitchell home to tie the game at three. The inning ended tied to bring the game to extra innings.
A 1-2-3 inning set up Charlotte to complete the comeback victory. Devereaux was first at bat and got a double to left field. Swafford grounded out on the next at bat but brought Devereaux to be third with only one out. An error by the third baseman who dropped a throw from the catcher allowed for Devereaux to reach home to win the game.
Walljasper pitched in all eight innings for her 49ers debut. Head coach Ashley Chastain had positive things to say about Walljasper in a post-game interview.
"She (Walljasper) settled in nicely, and every inning she threw got better, which you can't ask for more than that. After the second inning, they had two hits the rest of the game," said Chastain. "She kept the momentum on our side from the middle of the game on."
In the comeback effort, Chastain was delighted to back on the diamond.
"It feels great to be back. It means a lot to win the first game of the season, but also, after everything we've been through, it feels good to win the first time you're out there against somebody else," said Chastain. "It was a total team win, and we got almost everybody in the game."
The Niner's next game came four days later against App, and the 49ers had a tough opening inning. They allowed eight runs from App in the first frame alone, causing them to play catch up the entire rest of the game.
Despite being down by eight, there was still plenty of fight left in Charlotte. In the next two innings, the Niners put up six points. Their first two points came from a two-run homer by K. Garrett. Then singles from Gremillion, Rochelle and Henderson gave them the next four.
After three innings, Charlotte brought App's eight-point lead down to just two points. Nothing happened in the fourth inning, but in the fifth inning, App State's Catcher, Morton, hit a home run, soon followed by another run coming off a bunt.
App's lead was up to four which they extended to five in the top of the fifth. Gray hit a double to bring Henderson home and keep Charlotte's hopes alive. Morton hit a second homer for App to begin the seventh inning and bring App's lead back to five. Charlotte failed to score in the bottom of the seventh, which resulted in their first loss of the season.
For the third straight game, App State scored in the first frame, but Charlotte only allowed one, the least three games. The Niners refused to play catch up for the third straight game though, doubles by Devereaux and Gremillion in the bottom of the first gave Charlotte a 2-1 lead.
App State had scores in the top of the 2nd and 3rd to take a 3-1 lead, but again Charlotte answered back immediately with two runs to put them back on top. These two scores came from a double from Vannoy to allow Gremillion to score and a throwing error by the third baseman after Walljasper allowed Vannoy to reach home. Walljasper didn't allow hits for the next three innings to secure the second victory of the year for Charlotte.
Charlotte (2-1) will hit the road and head to Gainesville, Florida, for the Bubly Invitational. They will play Georgia Southern and No. 6 Florida on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20-21.