GOSHEN, Ind. – The Goshen College softball team made several valiant comeback efforts, but they could not hand visiting Bethel College its first Mid-Central College Conference defeats of the season, losing to the Pilots 8-6 and 3-2 in extra innings.
The Maple Leafs twice rallied to tie the score in a well-played and well-pitched nightcap. Bethel struck first, taking advantage of a pair of Goshen errors to score a single run in the top of the first inning. The Leafs first response came in the bottom of the fourth. A two-out double to left by junior Kat Berg knocked in classmate Ame Blankenship to knot the score at one-each.
The next half-inning, top of fifth, the Pilots took the lead again. This time, Natalie Newell had the big hit, ripping a single up the middle to put Bethel up 1-0. In the bottom of the frame, the Leafs answered again. Sophomore Jenna Nofziger hit a 1-1 pitch to deep right-center just clearing the fence for her second home run of the year tying the game 2-2.
For the third time in the game, the visitors took a one-run lead in the eighth and Goshen went down in order in the bottom half to lose 3-2. Blankenship and Berg each had two hits, while junior Maria Koshmider threw all eight innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs. Kendra Zache got the win for Bethel, giving up two runs in seven innings before Giana Zimmerman pitched a perfect eighth to earn the save.
In game one, Bethel got off to a hot start. They scored four times in the first and three more times in the fourth to build a 7-0 advantage.
Goshen began its comeback late, scoring in each of the last four innings. The first came on a solo home run by Berg in the fourth. An inning later, A Blankenship RBI single sparked a two-run rally. In the sixth, Devon Ownby singled home another run to cut the gap to 8-4 before another rally in the seventh.
Freshman Melanie Meyer started the final frame with a solo homer and two more hits plated the Leafs sixth run. With the potential tying run up to bat, Newell struck out three straight to close out the 8-6 victory.
Berg was 3-for-4 and finished the day 5-for-6. Meyer, Hershberger, and Blankenship each had two hits for the Leafs, while Melissa Gunderson went 3-for-4 for Bethel. Newell threw five innings for the Pilots, striking out 12.
Goshen finishes MCC play at 4-14 and will conclude the 2012 season with a non-conference tilt at Calvin College on Tuesday.