The Heidelberg University softball team and fifth year head coach Betsy Hada opened Ohio Athletic Conference competition at home against the Crusaders of Capital University on March 23, 2013. The double header was the first OAC contest for both teams and the Berg’s 2013 home opener.
Both games were close contests, but the Crusaders topped the Berg, 3-1 in the first game and despite a four run rally in the sixth inning, the Student Princes dropped the second game to Capital 7-5.
Senior lefty Ali Sayre (Sylvania/Northview) received the starting nod for the Berg in the first home contest and threw a complete game. Sayre face 33 batters, surrendering nine hits and two earned runs.
Following the loss, Sayre’s earned run average stands at 2.72 with three victories and three losses. Ali has tallied 16 strikeouts and four complete games in her seven appearances.
Offensively, the Berg bats were kept silent in the first game only claiming two hits off of the Capital hurler, Brooke Billings.
Capital took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, which remained until the top of the fourth when the Crusaders added another run to their lead.
The Student Princes earned their only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Marisa Smego (Parma/Trinity) reached first on an error, scoring freshman catcher Mikaela Mitsch (McHenry, IL./McHenry) from third base.
Capital dropped another run on the Berg in the top of the seventh putting the game out of reach.
After taking the first game of the afternoon, Capital kicked off the second contest scoring five runs in the first five innings. The Berg did not stop the bleeding until the bottom of the fifth inning when junior outfielder Jami Wagner (Alvada/New Riegal) scored the only run of the inning.
Wagner began the Heidelberg half of the fifth with a single up the middle that was followed by freshman Lisa Simmons (Westerville/Westerville North) earning a walk. Freshman shortstop Kayla Zachrich (Defiance/Ayersville) stepped up to the plate with runners on the corners and ripped a double up the middle scoring Wagner and advancing Simmons to third.
Despite two Student Princes sitting in scoring position, Capital’s pitcher Alyssa Patznick would escape the inning before the Berg could add to their rally.
The Student Princes tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a four run inning that began with a triple from freshman left fielder A.J. Stuck (Antwerp). Following the Stuck triple Patznick walked Jessica Lieberth (Aurora) and Wagner.
With the bases loaded for the gerth of the Berg lineup, the Crusaders made a pitching change that brought in the starter from the first contest, Brooke Billings.
The pitching change did not faze the Berg as they continued their offensive rally. Simmons smashed an RBI single up the middle scoring Stuck and advancing the Berg runners. Zachrich followed the Simmons single with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Lieberth from third to bring the score to 3-5.
With Simmons at first and Wagner on third Mitsch swung away and connected on single up the middle to score Wagner. The final Heidelberg run came when Simmons scored from third on a wild pitch tying the ballgame, 5-5.
In their final at-bat, the Crusaders dropped two runs on the Berg with an RBI double followed by an RBI triple. The two run deficit proved too much for the Berg in the bottom of the seventh and Billings escaped the inning surrendering only one hit.
With the two losses, the Berg ladies move to 6-6 overall and 0-2 in the OAC.
The Heidelberg softball team will hit the diamond again on Wednesday, March 27 when the Beavers of Bluffton University travel to Tiffin. The first game from “Jocko” Huffman Field in Hedges-Boyer Park is slated for 3:00 p.m.