Capaldi sisters enjoying college experience together at Bethany

STEUBENVILLE — Nothing is more important than family.

Sisters Fran and Gabby Capaldi spent two seasons playing softball together at Catholic Central, and the sisters are in their second season together at Bethany College. The sisters had stellar careers for the Crusaders, and they are both contributing to the Bison this season.

Younger sister Gabby, who is a sophomore, pitched seven strong innings to lead Bethany to a 1-0 victory against Franciscan University of Steubenville in the first game of a doubleheader Monday afternoon on the road.

The Barons bounced back to win Game 2, 11-2, in six innings.

“Gabby pitched well in Game 1,” Bethany (8-20) head coach Cassie Moore said. “I think she got a little bit tired in Game 2.”

Gabby took the loss in relief in the second game. Fran, a senior, scored the first run of the game for Bethany.

In the opener, Gabby struck out four, walked four and allowed seven hits. She went the distance, resulting in her sixth win of the season. She faced 30 batters and threw 110 pitches — 69 of which were strikes.

“I pitched well in the first game,” Gabby said. “I hit my spots. I got outs when I needed to. I had some big strikeouts. I had a strikeout to end the game.”

The Bison scored the only run of the game in the top of the sixth inning when catcher Jennifer Oberthur singled home center fielder Emily Folk, who singled and stole second before scoring on Oberthur’s two-out hit.

Sarah Keating took the loss for Franciscan. Freshman center fielder Rachel Cooper singled and stole second in the third inning for the Barons. The Indian Creek graduate also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the first.

“It was nice to get a split,” Franciscan (18-9) head coach James Walker said. “We struggled offensively in the first game. We had a week off due to the Easter holiday. We were a little bit sluggish, but Gabby had a lot to do with that. She did a nice job.”

Andi Queen picked up the win for the Barons in the second game in relief.

Senior Amanda Pulice started for Franciscan, and the Madonna graduated allowed two runs on two hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

Cooper also produced at the plate in Game 2, as she contributed a single, a double and an RBI, while also scoring a run. Freshman Tori Luyster, a Buckeye Local graduate, collected a pinch-hit single.

Bethany scored two runs in the third to take the lead, before Franciscan scored one run in the fifth and 10 in the sixth to end the game.

“It was exciting to play on this field again,” Fran said.

“It was fun,” Gabby said. “I played against girls I played against in high school. I played against a coach who I had a good relationship with when I was in high school.”

Walker wanted Gabby to go to Franciscan, but she ended up going to Bethany with her sister.

“I don’t remember Fran too much, but I wanted Gabby,” he said. “I was disappointed we were not able to get her. I thought she would be one of the local kids we would bring in to help the program. It was nice to see her do well today.”

Moore is thankful the Capaldi sisters ended up at Bethany.

“Gabby is very solid defensively,” Moore said. “She has a short-term memory. If she messes up at the plate, on the field or as a pitcher, she forgets about it and moves on. She is ready for the next play. She knows how to execute.

“We don’t have a lot of pitchers. I knew Gabby pitched in high school. Having her on the team has worked out well for us.”

Fran has also brought a lot to the team during her career.

“Fran has the same Capaldi mentality,” Moore said. “She scored the first run for us in the second game. She is a clutch player. She comes though in key situations. She is a senior. She is a competitor.”

Gabby played shortstop and pitched for the Crusaders, but is at third for Bethany. Fran played right field. Fran is the Bison’s No. 3 pitcher.

“I played shortstop in high school, and it has been an adjustment playing third base in college,” Gabby said. “The reaction time is different. I have put in a lot of work on my reaction time. I have to move my legs quicker.”

The Capaldi sisters are enjoying their time together in college.

“It is fun,” Fran said. “We have different roles now.”

“It is fun,” Gabby said. “She gives me lots of encouragement. It is nice having the chance to play together again.”

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