Ohio Wesleyan’s softball team lost to Muskingum last Wednesday in a non-conference doubleheader. The first game left the Bishops behind by one run, while the second game had Muskingum 10 runs ahead of OWU’s six.
In the top of the seventh inning, Muskingum scored twice and withheld the Bishops rally in the bottom of the inning to win the opening game.
In the first game, sophomore Danielle Haley got locked up in a pitchers’ duel with Muskingum pitcher Ashley Price.
Haley trapped a runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings, working out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth, and got an inning-ending play from junior Lauren Elkins. He got Price out at home plate when he attempted to score from second.
Elkins said the team played really well against Muskingum, but their hits wouldn’t fall at the right times with runners on base.
“Muskingum is always a pretty solid team, because they are such strong hitters. But we just couldn’t follow through with timely hits,” said Elkins.
The Muskies took the lead in the seventh inning when Samantha Aguilar hit a double to right center and scored when Aly Mazzei trailed with a double. Muskie pinch-hitter, Jessica Saporito, then hit a single which brought home Mazzei, giving Muskingum another run on the board. Bishops’ junior Stefanie Rieder hit a single, and one out later, took second on an infield out by Elkins. OWU junior Brooke Nethers hit a single, which took Rieder to third base.
“We played a great game against Muskingum,” said Haley. “It was 0-0 until the seventh, and their hits fell when they needed them to.”
Sophomore Erica Bryan bunted, letting Rieder score and make the tally 2-1 as Nethers hurried all the way to third base. At the end of the first game, Price got senior Jackie Kolovich on a game-ending out.
In the second game, Kolovich started the Bishops out strong with a double, bringing two teammates home, to make the score 2-0. After Kolovich had OWU on top, Muskingum came back with nine consecutive runs. They withstood a pair of Bishop rallies and swept the game.
OWU took the lead with a walk from Nethers who then went on to steal second base in the first inning. Following Nethers, Bryan hit a single for the team.
Freshman Chelsea Denman bunted but was unsuccessful when Muskingum third basemen Kellie Coy caught the ball and then swung it over to get Bryan out, bringing the Bishops two outs.
Kolovich sent a double to an opening in the left center, which gave the Bishops a 2-0 lead.
Muskingum got back on the board in the top of the second inning. They scored on an RBI triple by Kayley Brevard and a two-run homer by Patterson. The Muskies then added a run in the third on Coy’s RBI double.
Haley said she gave her team 110 percent that game, as she does every game, and that is what matters.
“The game really could’ve gone either way. It just happened to fall their way this time,” she said.
The Muskies had five runs in the fifth, with Brevard and Jendy Weppler hitting in runs and Weppler stealing home.
“As a team we played really well, we just had a couple moments where we did not capitalize on some opportunities,” said Nethers. “When you play good teams like that you have to use every opportunity they give you or you create.”
In the bottom of the inning, OWU came back, scoring on Denman’s RBI ground out and a fly from Haley. They added two more runs in the sixth on RBI singles hit by Nethers and Denman. Nethers left second base too early to end the inning, and Muskingum’s Rachel Bannister retired the side of order in the seventh to lock up the win.
Nethers was 2 for 2 with two runs scored, while Bryan went 3 for 4.
Nethers said the team will play DePauw on Wednesday, and that will be a very big game for their season. She said it would be a great way to see where OWU stands in the region.
Elkins said their whole schedule is pretty tough for the season, so it would be hard to name their most difficult matchup.
“Conference is always a really tight race and our non-conference schedule is pretty tough as well,” she said. “Most of the non-conference teams we play are ranked in the region and some even nationally, so it’s hard to pick the toughest game.”
Elkins said that it’s good that they have such a hard schedule, because it is going to prepare and force OWU to play consistently.
OWU faces Denison on April 14 at 1 p.m. and Hiram on April 17 at 3:30 p.m.