Softball flights through flurry of close games

David Hoffman, Staff Reporter

It was a busy week for the Spartans softball team, featuring a trio of doubleheaders against some tough competition.

The craziness began with a trip to Ohio Wesleyan University, shortly after the team had been ranked second in its respective region by the NCAA. The first game wound up being an instant classic, with the Spartans engaging in a back and forth slugfest with Ohio Wesleyan. OWU struck first, scoring single runs in the second and third innings to put the Spartans in an early hole.

The team battled back in their half of the fourth, tying the game on RBI singles by shortstop Makenzie Lein and outfielder Ashley Parello. Ohio Wesleyan immediately responded with two more runs in the bottom of the inning to go back out in front 4-2. Naturally, the Spartans roared back with three runs of their own in the fifth to take their first lead 5-4.

However, a run in the sixth for OWU tied the game at 5. The teams traded zeroes on the scoreboard until the top of the tenth, when catcher Amy Taylor singled in the game winning run for the Spartans to give them a dramatic 6-5 victory.

The second game didn’t go quite as smoothly, however. OWU stormed out of the gate with four runs in the first inning, building up a 10-0 lead by the fourth and never looking back as the Spartans fell 10-5.

The team returned home to Mather Park for a doubleheader against Allegheny College on Monday. This doubleheader would prove to be better to the Spartans, as they easily swept both games and got back on track. In the first game, the offense broke out to score five runs in the third inning. The Spartans just strung together hit after hit in the inning, with a pair of two run singles providing most of the damage. Allegheny scored in each of the next two innings in a spirited comeback bid, but the Spartans ultimately held on to win 6-3.

The second game saw yet another offensive explosion from the team, highlighted by a six run third inning. Rebecca Molnar pitched effectively, crafting a complete game three hit shutout as the Spartans capped a doubleheader sweep with a 9-0 triumph in just five innings.

Finally, on Tuesday the Spartans went across town to play local rival John Carroll University. The first game was a thriller, with both starting pitchers throwing masterpieces. Annie Wennerberg for the Spartans and Tabitha Murray for Baldwin Wallace matched each other pitch for pitch, with the game still tied 0-0 after seven innings. In the top of the eighth Wennerberg provided some offense for herself, socking a two run home run to put the team ahead 2-0 with three outs to go.

Unfortunately the lead wouldn’t last as BW rallied for three runs in their half of the inning, capped by a walk-off double by Alison Fiorucci, to win 3-2. The Spartans got their revenge in the second game, though. The second game remained scoreless through the first five innings, but the teams traded barbs the next three innings. The Spartans went on to win 4-3 in eight innings, staving off a BW rally after scoring twice in the top of the frame.

In the process, Lein broke the school record for most career hits. The split capped a 4-2 week for the team.

The team is back in action on Sunday, hosting Heidelberg University for a doubleheader at Mather Park. Results from the team’s doubleheader on Thursday against Otterbein University can be found online.