App State softball

Appalachian State softball coach Shelly Hoerner talks about the Mountaineers’ upcoming season.

CULLOWHEE — Appalachian State’s softball team reached the 30-victories plateau April 23 by splitting a doubleheader with former Southern Conference rival Western Carolina

The Mountaineers won the first game 8-2, but fell in the second game 3-2. The twin bill left App State with a 30-17 record. It is the second time in school history that Appalachian State has posted 30 wins in a season. The last time the Mountaineers reached the mark was 2013 when they finished 31-22 and won the SoCon regular-season championship under coach Shae Wesley.

Western Carolina left the two games with an 18-27 record.

“Any win is a good win, especially when you hit the 30 mark for only the second time in program history,” App State coach Shelly Hoerner said. “I continue to be so proud of what this team is accomplishing. Their fight amazes me; their love for each other is even greater. They have played with passion and for each other every day and I can’t ask for anything else.”

Hoerner is in her second season with the Mountaineers. After going 14-34 in 2017, Hoerner led the Mountaineers to an improved 17-35 record in her first season in command. The improvement jump to 30 wins is the largest margin of improvement since 2009.

The Mountaineers are currently 12-8 in Sun Belt play as they head into their final six regular season conference games. For the first time in program history, the Mountaineers have punched their ticket to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

In game one of the doubleheader, App State pitcher Sydney Holland picked up the win in the circle bringing her record to 13-8 on the year. Holland struck out five Catamounts in pitching her 11th complete game of the season.

The Catamounts scored two runs with help from a double and a sacrifice bunt, but it would be the last time they would touch home in game one.

In the top of the fourth, the Mountaineers responded scoring five runs on four hits. Haley Stewart, Alison Durrence and Megan Walker each singled to jump-start the offense.

After Gabby Burauto on the single by Durrence, Baylee Morton’s walk drove in Stewart. Keri White’s double cleared the bases by scoring Walker, Morton and Sydney Russell to give the Mountaineers a 5-2 lead.

In the top of the sixth, White singled and scored on Caylie Kifer’s single. Mackenzie Parker drove in two runs to give the Mountaineers an 8-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning.

Watauga’s Maddie Seimer took the loss in the circle after recording four strikeouts in the loss, bringing her record to 2-4. Taylor Nichols also picked up a strikeout after finishing the sixth inning with bases loaded without allowing a run to score.

The doubleheader marked the end of non-conference play for the Mountaineers.

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