After dropping their first Ohio Athletic Conference double header to Capital last Saturday, the Heidelberg University softball team found redemption against Bluffton University sweeping the Beavers, 8-6 and 5-3
Freshman righty Nicola Gabriele (Boardman) earned her sixth start of the season for the Berg in the first contest.
The young Student Princes threw five complete innings, facing 22 Beavers and surrendering five hits, five runs and tabbing one strikeout
Bluffton struck early with two runs in the first but the Berg ladies answered with three runs in the bottom of the first.
The three run inning began with a Jami Wagner (Alvada/New Riegel) single that was followed by two Bluffton errors loading the bases for cleanup hitter, freshman catcher Mikaela Mitsch (McHenry, IL.). The powerful freshman ripped a line drive into right center field, clearing the bases.
Mitsch finished with two hits and three RBI’s in game one.
The Berg added to their lead in the bottom of the second when freshman Lisa Simmons (Westerville/Westerville North) smacked a triple into left center scoring Wagner from first.
The Student Princes continued to extend their advantage in the third inning with two more runs off of the Bluffton starter, Chloe Shell.
Entering the sixth inning the Berg led 6-2 but the Beavers brought the game to a tie, 6-6, with a four run rally. However, the Student Princes were quick to answer with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth.
Wagner ignited the Berg comeback with a singled up the middle that she stretched into a double on a shoddy throw. Wagner scored on the next play when Simmons singled and advanced to second on another poor throw.
Freshman shortstop Kayla Zachrich (Defiance/Ayersville) sent Simmons home from second with a deep shot to right-center. Zachrich was thrown out at third trying to stretch her double.
Senior lefty Ali Sayre (Sylvania/Northview) surrendered only one single in the Bluffton half of the seventh to protect the Berg’s two run lead propelling the Student Princes to their first home victory, 8-6.
Game two remained scoreless until the Bluffton half of the fourth inning when Jessica Kuzara scored from first on a long double into right field. With two outs the Beavers loaded the bases off of starter Nicola Gabriele. Like in game one, Ali Sayre came on in relief for the Berg and worked out of the jam without surrendering another run.
Down 1-0, the Berg took the lead in their half of the fourth inning with three runs of their own.
A Mitsch single began the inning followed by a pair of singles from freshmen Marissa Smego (Parma/Trinity) and Bri Sinden (New Philadelphia). Sinden's single scored Jordan Crase (Bucyrus/colenal-Crawford) from third. Crase came on to pinch run for Mitsch earlier in the inning. With two runners on Jessica Lieberth grounds into a fielder's choice and the Beavers tag out Smego on her way to third.
Sinden and Lieberth advance to second and third on wild pitches leaving freshman Andi Lowe (Westerville/Westerville Central) with two runners in scoring position. Lowe bashed a ground ball through the middle to score Sinden and advance Lieberth.
Another single from Lydia Stover (Norris City, IL/Olney Central College) drove home Lieberth from third and propelled the Student Princes to a 3-1 lead.
Bluffton struck back with a run in the fifth and sixth inning to tie the game once again, but Besty Hada's ladies stood tall and dropped another two runs on the Beavers in the bottom of the sixth. Following an error on Bluffton's Airianna Muffo that awarded Stover first base, Wagner smacked an inside the park home run to left field granting the Berg a 5-3 victory.
The home run marks Jami's second of the year. Wagner is hitting .442 in her junior campaign and has already stolen base 14 times this season.
The Berg is led offensively by Mikaela Mitsch who is batting .550. Mikaela has collected two home runs, a team-high 14 RBI's and seven doubles and owns a team-high slugging percentage of .875.
On the mound, freshman Paige Atterholt (DeGraff/Riverside) owns the lowest ERA, 1.91. Sayre currently holds the most wins with five and complete games with four while owning an ERA of 2.69 through nine appearances.
The Heidelberg softball team will resume OAC competition tomorrow afternoon against Wilmington College. First pitch of the OAC double header is slated for 1:00 p.m. from Jocko Huffman Field inside Hedges-Boyer Park in Tiffin, Ohio.