Bluffton vs. Defiance/Transylvania
Beavers wrap up 2007 season at Heartland Conference tournament
May 4, 2007
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Bluffton University softball team found hits tough to come by in the Heartland Conference tournament opener on Friday, May 4, 2007. Defiance College finished the contest with only five hits, but it used a three-run second inning to spoil the Beavers' bid for an upset at Sal Hench Field. The Yellow Jackets dropped Bluffton into the loser's bracket with a 3-1 victory over the Beavers. The second contest had a flair for the dramatic as Bluffton rallied from five runs down in the seventh to overtake the Pioneers, but Transylvania knotted the contest in the home half and ended the Beavers' season with a heartbreaking 9-8 victory over Bluffton in 10 innings.
Game 1 - Defiance 3, Bluffton 1
The Yellow Jackets threatened with two runners in the first before Kelsey Sugg lined into an inning-ending double play with Yellow Jackets at second and third.
In the home half of the second, Defiance took advantage of a hit batter, a free pass and a Bluffton error to paste three runs on the scoreboard. Krystle Skaziak dropped in a run-scoring single for the Jackets and Aarika Davis followed with a sacrifice fly to center which plated Stephanie Lieto for the 3-0 lead.
Brooke Babcock (Findlay/Findlay) came on with one out in the second and limited Defiance to only two baserunners over the final 4.2 innings.
Justine Johnston was in command from the start for the Yellow Jackets, hitting her spots and keeping Bluffton off balance and off the basepaths.
Freshman standout Katie Ammons (Findlay/Findlay) tried to jump start Bluffton with her bunt single in the top of the fifth. She moved into scoring position on Laura Brown's (Sullivan/Black River) second sacrifice bunt of the game. With Babcock at the plate, Ammons broke for third and when the throw careened off of her and into foul territory, she motored home for what wound up being Bluffton's only score in the contest.
Johnston was unfazed by Bluffton run and she went back to work in the sixth, mowing down six straight Beavers, the last three of the game on strikeouts swinging for the 3-1 victory in the first game of the HCAC tournament.
Kellie Kenney (Toledo/Emmanuel Baptist) took the loss, giving up three runs, only one earned, on three hits in 1.1 innings of work. Babcock held Defiance in check the rest of the way, limiting the Jackets to no runs on two hits with two strikeouts.
Ammons scored Bluffton's lone run as she, Babcock and Jenna Mayer (Lima/Shawnee) were the only Beavers to record hits against Johnston.
Game 2 -Transylvania 9, Bluffton 8 (10 innings)
In the top of the third, Ammons reached safely on a fielder's choice. She stole second and came around to score when the Yellow Jackets' throw to first on Amanda Bartz (Columbus Grove/Columbus Grove) sacrifice bunt went awry.
Transylvania cashed in when Fitzpatrick drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth inning. One out later, Lanham picked her up with a triple to right and Safstrom plated Lanham with a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Pioneers a 2-1 lead after four.
With one out in the home half of the sixth, Transylvania seemingly put the game on ice. Leach drove in Fitzpatrick with a single to center and she moved to second when the throw went home. A Lanham base-hit down the right field line scored Leach, but Transy was not finished. With Lanham at first, Safstrom hit a grounder to third and when the throw sailed to the right field fence, the Pioneers had the game in control, 6-1, with only one frame to play.
A Bluffton lineup chock full of freshman refused to allow their season to end. A one-out Ammons base hit ignited the Beavers' bats after Brown reached on a Defiance error. Kenney smoked a Lanham offering to the right center field fence for a two-RBI double. Babcock took Kenney's advice and followed suit with a two-bagger to the same spot, knocking in Kenney to cut the deficit to two runs. Carrie Weisbecker (Okeana/Ross) singled to center and took second, putting two Beavers in scoring position. Jayme Marbaugh (Ohio City/Parkway) delivered with a single to center which plated Tonya Dean (Kettering/Kettering) and Weisbecker to tie the game at six. Another Defiance miscue allowed Marbaugh to give the Beavers a 7-6 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Transylvania took advantage of a leadoff single by Broadhead in the home half of the inning. A Holloman sacrifice bunt moved her to second before Sharpe's single up the middle sent the game to extra innings.
Two innings later with Fizpatrick on second and one out, Leach launched what looked to be the game winning hit to the deepest part of the ballpark, but Katie Ammons made a diving catch into the center field fence for the second out and although she left the game as a result of her smashing into the wall, Fitzpatrick was forced to retreat to second, unable to move up a base. With a shuffled group of players on the field, Kenney induced Lanham into an inning-ending groundout to Amanda Harris (Arcanum/Arcanum) who moved over to second base.
With the international tie-breaker in place for the tenth inning, Gretchen Handley (Ashland/Ashland) drove home Marbaugh for the 8-7 lead, however, Mayberry ended the contest with a two-run double to left center in the bottom of the frame for a 9-8 victory over the Beavers.
Ammons went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to pace the Bluffton offense. Kenney and Marbaugh picked up two RBI each and Marbaugh scored twice for the Beavers.
Kenney (8-10) took the loss, working the final 3.2 innings. She gave up four runs, two earned, on seven hits. Babcock surrendered five runs on seven hits with two strikeouts in 5.1 innings on the mound.
Following the losses at the Heartland Conference tournament, Bluffton's 2007 season is complete as the Beavers finished their first campaign under Head Coach Heather Bruder with a 14-17 mark overall and a berth in the first HCAC softball tournament that included only four teams.