By Kyle Wills
Fifth-year outfielder Yazmine Romero etched her name into the Youngstown State University record book as the new all-time hits leader during the Penguins’ doubleheader April 15.
The achievement occurred when the softball team continued its busy schedule with its third doubleheader of the week, ending with a split to Northern Kentucky University.
Romero’s fifth-inning single in game one of the doubleheader gave her career hit No. 234 and sole possession of the school record. The previous mark of 233 hits stood since Hailey Thomas donned a Penguin uniform from 2009-12.
Romero said the record was her goal for the last couple of seasons.
“I’ve been eyeing it for a while, and I wouldn’t have it without my team behind me. It’s really exciting,” Romero said. “The day my freshman season ended, I’ve been calculating every hit I’d need to break it. The fact that it’s today is not even real.”
The women were defeated in game one to the Norse 5-1 before finishing the evening strong with a 2-1 win.
In the opener, Youngstown State came out of the first inning with a 1-0 lead following an RBI knock from fifth-year infielder Nikki Saibene, but Northern Kentucky took advantage of timely hitting with a two-run double in the third inning and a second two-run double in the fifth.
Junior Megan Turner and freshmen Taylor Truran and Bree Kohler also had hits for the Penguins.
In the nightcap, Youngstown State took advantage of a rocky fifth inning by the Norse. Kohler scored on a throwing error after she reached base on a one-out double. After a sacrifice bunt from senior infielder Alex DeLeon to move the runner, Romero drove in Kohler with an RBI hit.
Head coach Brian Campbell said recording consecutive hits led to game one’s loss.
“The difference between the two [games] — we didn’t put our hits together back-to-back. We had five, six hits the first game. We didn’t put them back-to-back, we spread them out,” Campbell said.
However, game two featured the third stellar outing of the week for sophomore Sophie Howell. She finished her night with a complete game while allowing only one run and striking out six. Her previous two outings during the week were just as phenomenal as she pitched a complete game with zero earned runs allowed and six strikeouts in each start.
Howell said her stellar sophomore season is because she has been more relaxed on the mound.
“I’ve calmed down my nerves a lot more. I’ve really settled in. Last year, I was just a relief pitcher, so I got innings, but it wasn’t the same as actually going out and starting games,” Howell said.
On April 16, eight seniors were recognized prior to the series finale against the Norse. Romero, Saibene, DeLeon, Elle Buffenbarger, Kayla Rutherford, Grace Cea, Milena Lacatena and Sarah Bader all were honored for their time and effort spent in the program.
Unfortunately, the celebration ended there as the Penguins only scored a lone run from Turner’s fourth-inning home run. Northern Kentucky used a three-run opening frame to help claim the three-games and a 4-1 victory.
Kohler had a solid day at the plate as she hit 2-for-3, including a double.
The women returned to action April 19 in a doubleheader versus Cleveland State University. For news, stats and highlights, visit ysusports.com
The softball team will return home for its final three home games of the regular season with a three-game series versus the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on April 22-23.