WINONA LAKE, Ind. – A tough week continued for the Goshen College softball team as they dropped a pair - including a 10-inning thriller - at Grace College Thursday evening.
"Even though we lost two heartbreakers, they still played hard and left it all on the field," head coach Lee Mast explained. "Once again, we were unable to execute at some critical times and made some mental mistakes which hurt us."
The opener of the Mid-Central College Conference series was a classic softball pitcher's duel. Freshman Farrah Mitchell was on early for the Maple Leafs. She retired the first seven Lancers she faced and did not give up a hit until the fourth inning.
Grace sophomore Olivia Winget was matching her pitch-for-pitch, though, giving up just two hits through the seven regulation innings.
Goshen was the first to strike, but they did not need a hit to get on the board. Freshman Devon Ownby led off the fifth inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Jana Beitler. After a Grace error, freshman Melanie Meyer grounded out to short, scoring Ownby for the 1-0 lead.
The hosts got the run back in the sixth when a pair of singles, including Tiffany Featherston's RBI single, knotted the score at 1-all. Both teams had multiple opportunities to score in extra innings with a combined seven runners stranded between the eighth and tenth innings.
The Maple Leafs best chance came in the eighth when a leadoff double by Meyer was followed by a Melissa Hershberger single. Grace was able to gun down a base runner and induce back-to-back pop outs to get out of the jam, though. They then took advantage of the international tiebreaker (starting the inning with a runner on second), a sacrifice bunt, and Goshen error to score the decisive run in the 2-1 victory.
Mitchell gave up just seven hits and one earned run over nine-plus innings, while Beitler posted a team-high two hits in the loss. Winget pitched all ten innings for Grace and gave up just five hits and one run.
In game two, the Lancers did all their damage in the third and fourth innings scoring seven runs on nine hits and a Goshen error. The Leafs attempted to come back late, but only were able to put single runs on the board in the fifth (Meyer RBI single) and seventh (Kat Berg RBI single).
After playing six conference games in three days, the Maple Leafs will head to the University of Saint Francis (Ill.) Tournament for four more games on Friday and Saturday.
"I told the players that I know this has been a tough week, but there is still a lot of softball to be played," Mast continued. "Just continue to keep things in perspective, that in life there will be ups and downs. Several players did a great job filling in at different positions due to injuries and illness."