Softball Wins Two at the 2022 Grand Canyon Kickoff Tournament


Sophomore Bailey Enoch was reeking havoc from the batter’s box and the pitcher’s circle this past weekend. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Fordham Softball began their 2022 season in the desert at the Grand Canyon Kickoff Classic, which began Friday with a double header matinee against Grand Canyon University (GCU)  and Weber State. Junior Devon Miller took center circle for the Rams against fifth year Arissa Henderson for the Weber State Wildcats.

It took Weber State just two thirds of an inning to get to Miller, when the Fordham star allowed a solo home run to fifth year Chloe Camarero, pushing the Wildcats out to an early 1-0 lead. In the top of the second, Miller gave up another rocket, this time to senior Lauren Hoe to push Weber State out 2-0. 

The Rams would show some life, but it would be the only production they would manufacture in the entire contest; graduate student Briana Pinto drove in sophomore Bella Ayala with an RBI single up the middle. 

As Miller took the circle in the top of the fifth, Camarero struck again with a two-run blast pushing the lead to 4-1. Arissa Henderson would add an RBI double off senior Makenzie McGrath to add to her complete game in the circle. Henderson’s final pitching line was 10 strikeouts and three walks, retiring 26 of the 31 batters she faced to go along with only one earned run.

Miller would finish the first game going five and two thirds innings with four earned runs, five punchouts and four walks.

Game two of the matinee against Grand Canyon University saw sophomore Bailey Enoch take the start against sophomore Jacie Hambrick. Like Weber State, (GCU struck early as they scored five runs in the first inning. Fordham showed some life as Enoch provided her own run support in the second inning, with freshmen Sydney Wells slicing a single which drove in Enoch and the first run of the game for Fordham.

In the third, Enoch would show off her two way prowess with an RBI single that sent Pinto in to score the second run of the game. Enoch would finish with two hits, a run scored and one run driven in. 

Grand Canyon would tack on five more runs in the game, generating 10 runs on 11 hits total enroute to a 10-2 victory for GCU. Graduate student Denae Chatman would drive in three RBI’s, while sophomore Katelyn Dunckel and graduate student Stephanie Reed would drive in two runs a piece.

Enoch went 4.2 innings, giving up nine earned runs and walking five batters with no strikeouts in the five inning 10-2 loss. Hambrick went three innings of two run ball while punching out three batters and walking one. Sophomore Kaila Eastburn came in to pitch the final two innings where she struck out three, allowed one hit and walked none.

On Saturday, the Rams broke the dry spell and notched their first win of the season, enacting revenge against Weber State with a 4-1 victory. 

Senior gunslinger Makenzie McGrath went the distance in this game; going seven innings and allowing four hits and one earned run. McGrath also struck out two and walked three after facing 28 batters. 

McGrath also received some help from the Fordham bats, as Enoch knocked in Pinto in the first inning to push the Rams out 1-0 early against the aforementioned Henderson. In the fourth inning, Pinto won the game with one swing of the bat. She knocked in a three run double that included junior Amanda Carey, graduate student Kelly Bright and freshman Allie Clark all crossing home plate to push Fordham out 4-0.

Weber State would get one run in via a double from Faith Hoe, but that would be the only run of this rematch that the Wildcats would produce.

The penultimate and second game of the Saturday double header, would be against a Big 12 opponent the Kansas Jayhawks. Devon Miller would take the circle for her second game in the Grand Canyon Kickoff Classic. Miller faced off against freshman Olivia Bruno of the Jayhawks.

Once again, the Jayhawks struck early from above with a three-run second inning. Sophomore Lyric Moore knocked in Bruno to make it 1-0. Then, with three runners on, senior Cheyenne Hornbuckle took off for home plate on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Junior Haleigh Harper had a sacrifice bunt to drive in Moore to make it 3-0 in the second.

After a scoreless third, Fordham got on the board with a two-run home run by Enoch which drove in senior Gigi Speer. That single swing put the Rams right back in the contest 3-2 in the fourth inning.

But Kansas would come roaring back with a homerun by Bruno in the 5th inning, providing her own run support. The Jayhawks also received help from an RBI single by fifth year senior Shelby Gayre and a sacrifice groundout from Hornbuckle to drive in run number six.  

Bruno on the mound tossed six innings and two strikeouts, with her lone hit being the Enoch two-run blast. Sophomore Savanna DeRochers came in to pitch the final inning of the game and close out the 6-2 Jayhawks win.

Miller went the distance for the Rams, tossing seven innings, striking out eight, allowing five earned runs and walking two batters.

The Rams, in the final game of the tournament, would end on a high note, with a 3-2 victory over Northern Colorado. Enoch took center circle once again for the Rams, while Northern Colorado sent junior Erin Caviness to start the game.

Fordham’s offense exploded in a big way, getting help from graduate student Rachel Hubertus’ RBI single that scored junior Michaela Carter in the third inning. Following her round trip, Carter took matters into her own hands with a solo home run in the fourth to make it 2-0 Fordham. 

The Bears would storm back with their own run support, with freshman Peyton Gale reaching home on a fielder’s choice in the fifth. Then in the sixth, the Bears manufactured another run through a groundout that knocked in junior Jayden Gandert to tie it up at two.

Finally in the top of the seventh, Michaela Carter willed the Rams to victory with her walk off homerun to secure the 3-2 victory for the Rams. That’s not bad timing for Carter’s first career home run at Fordham.

Fordham started their season off 2-3 at the Grand Canyon Classic, and while it took them a little bit to wring out the sponge, the Rams found themselves a bit in the games against Weber State and Northern Colorado. Playing such competition in a tournament like this will only benefit the Rams come the regular season.

Their next trip will be to Conway, South Carolina for the Battle at the Beach where the Rams will take on the University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina and Marshall University next weekend.