By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Columbus, Ohio---The Owens Community College softball team fought from behind all day, and it resulted in a 3-2 win over Kalamazoo Valley Community College in today's opener, but a 16-12 loss to Kellogg Community College in the Region XII District I loser's bracket semifinal resulted in the end of their season.
With the loss, Owens finishes the season at 26-14 overall. Furthermore, with the impending suspension of the program beginning next year, the team finishes with a 549-256-1 record in 806 games since 1999.
Loser's Bracket Quarterfinal: Owens d. Kalamazoo Valley 3-2 in 8 Innings
Ericca Herzog's (Southview/Sylvania, Ohio) game-winning single to centerfield with one out in the eighth inning scored Michayla Barga (Bradford/Bradford, Ohio) as Owens picked up a 3-2 win in come from behind fashion in today's first game.
Kalamazoo Valley's Kayli Brown hit a solo home run to center in the first inning off Owens starter Kailey Minarchick (Columbia Station/Columbia Station, Ohio) to give her team an early lead.
The Owens offense then struggled to get things going against KVCC's starter, Bailey Clements. After Jacey Gray (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) reached on an error in the first inning, and a pair of second inning singles from Angelique Prunty (Elyria/Elyria, Ohio) and Lindsey Wiggins (Bradford/Brooker, Fla.), Owens went down 1-2-3 in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Minarchick, meanwhile, allowed single base runners from the third through sixth innings, but stranded them all to set up a sixth inning rally by her offense.
With one out, Gray singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Cassidy Rolf (Eastwood/Pemberville, Ohio) followed with a game-tying double to right field. Haley Kreger (Bedford/Temperance, Mich.) pinch ran for Rolf, and Herzog came up with a pinch hit go-ahead single to right field to give Owens a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh inning, KVCC got a one out single and steal. Then, with two outs, Ashley Miller lofted a fly ball to right, which would have ended the game, but the ball was dropped, the run scored, and the game was knotted at two.
Wiggins got a one out single in the bottom of the seventh, but she was stranded to send the game to extras.
Minarchick allowed a two-out double to right center by Amber Foerst in the eighth. The next batter produced what would have been a go-ahead single, but Foerst was called out for leaving the base early and the game remain tied.
Barga took a high pitch and slapped it the opposite way through the left side for a single to lead off the home half of the eighth. Gray then laid down a bunt single in front of the plate, and Rolf followed by sacrificing both runners up. Herzog then scored Barga in the next at bat with the game-winner.
Minarchick (15-7) picked up the win with her complete game performance. In eight innings, she allowed 10 hits, two runs (one earned) and zero walks while striking out four.
Herzog (2-for-2, 2 RBI), Gray (2-for-4, R) and Wiggins (2-for-3) led the Owens offense.
Loser's Bracket Semifinal: Kellogg d. Owens 16-12 in 8 Innings
Both teams combined for 40 hits in today's second game as Owens saw its season end.
In the first inning, Kellogg exploded for five runs on a pair of two-run home runs and an RBI single off Owens starter Miranda Benschoter (Elmwood/Bloomdale, Ohio). With two outs and two on, Minarchick entered in relief and struck out the inning's final batter to escape further damage.
Herzog then produced an RBI double, followed by a sacrifice fly from Prunty as Owens got two runs back in the bottom of the first.
After neither team pushed across a run in the second, they combined for five more in the third. Kellogg got its runs on a squeeze bunt and an RBI triple, while Owens got its runs on RBI singles from Jordan Hanf (Whitmer/Toledo, Ohio), Rolf and Wiggins as Kellogg held a 7-5 lead through three.
Each team then scored three times in the fourth. Kellogg picked up a two-run triple down the left field line, followed by an RBI single through the left side to take a 10-5 lead, but Owens answered with an RBI double from Rolf, another RBI single from Hanf and a sacrifice fly from Herzog.
Minarchick kept Kellogg scoreless in the fifth by stranding two runners, and her offense picked up one more run in the bottom half. With the bases loaded, Rolf grounded back to the pitcher, who threw home for the force out, but Rolf beat the ensuing throw to first. On the play, Barga didn't stop from second and scored on the play.
Two unearned runs in the sixth inning gave Kellogg a 12-9 lead, and then Owens finally tied the game in the home half, but could have had more. Hanf walked to lead off the inning. Prunty advanced her with a single to center. Wiggins then laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt, but Kellogg's pitcher threw late to third and the bases were loaded with no outs.
During the next at bat, Kreger scored from third as a pinch runner. After a wild throw from Kellogg's catcher to their pitcher on Kreger's run, Prunty tried to score, too, but was thrown out for the inning's first out.
On the very next pitch, Emily Young (Maumee/Maumee, Ohio) hit a two-run, game-tying home run to center.
Neither team scored in the seventh as Owens went to extras for the second straight game.
Kellogg's Kelsey Konko broke that tie in the eighth with an RBI single off Minarchick. Moments later, Kara Suwarski hit a three-run home run to center to push the lead to four.
Owens would get a pair of singles from Hanf and Olivia Myers (Elmwood/Bloomdale, Ohio) leading off the bottom of the eighth, but two strikeouts and a foul out ended the game.
Kellogg, which had its leadoff runner reach in six of the eight innings, had five players produce at least three hits, including three with four apiece. They finished 23-for-46 as a team from the plate with two triples, three home runs and four walks.
Owens was led offensively by Hanf (4-for-4, two RBI, BB), Barga (3-for-4, 3 R, 2B), Rolf (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, SB) and Gray (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, SB). They finished 17-for-36 as a team with three doubles, a home run and four walks.
Both teams also combined for seven stolen bases.
Benschoter picked up the no decision after allowing five hits, five runs and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Minarchick (15-8) took the loss. She allowed 18 hits, 11 runs (nine earned) and two walks along with three strikeouts in 7.1 innings.
Minarchick faced 77 batters over 15.1 innings today. She closes the season with 15 complete games, as wells as a 1.87 ERA and 133 strikeouts over 146.1 innings pitched. Benschoter finishes with a 2.90 ERA in 96.2 innings. She went 10-6 with two saves.
Gray finished her sophomore year with a .518 batting average and closed her two-year career with a .489 batting average. Also, in her career, she produced 95 runs, eight doubles, two triples, 42 RBI, 26 walks and 88 stolen bases.
Hanf's four-hit game was her first of the season. She previously had two three hit games - March 8 vs Delta and April 20 vs Lakeland.
Rolf, with her big day today, finishes the season with a .417 batting average. She closed her two-year career with a .366 batting average, 71 hits, 30 runs, 13 doubles, five triples, two home runs and 36 RBI.
Barga (.374), Herzog (.361), Myers (.315) and Prunty (.315) also finished the season with at least a .300 batting average. Herzog, who only hit .189 as a freshman, vastly improved offensively and closed her career with a .313 batting average.