The Huntington University softball team opened the Crossroads League Tournament with a 7-0 win over Spring Arbor before coming up short against Bethel, 8-7, at Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday, April 30.
The loss dropped the third-seeded Foresters, 27-20, to the losers bracket. As the tournament is double elimination, Coach Doug Gower's squad can still claim its bid to nationals provided it wins out.
In game one, Huntington hurler Emily Puterbaugh limited six seed Spring Arbor to four hits in six innings to earn the win.
Emily O'Leary smacked a three-run home run to put the exclamation point to the win.
In the second contest, The Foresters wasted a grand slam and six runs batted in by senior Katie Knous as they finished one run shy after starting in an 8-0 hole after three innings.
The Forester offense wasted no time giving Puterbaugh run support in the first game, with Knous banging out a two-run double in the first frame. Huntington increased its advantage in the third when sophomore Annie Weaver scored on a single by senior Lindsay Shellabarger and Katie DePew scored on a groundout by Knous that pushed the Foresters' lead to 4-0.
Huntington made Spring Arbor's hole even deeper in the fifth when sophomore O'Leary smacked a three-run homer that took the game to its final register.
Bess Fiechter and Knous contributed two base pokes apiece to the Foresters' nine-hit total, with the latter adding as many runs batted in, just behind the three RBI O'Leary produced with her long ball.
Freshman Lea Buckenmyer tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Huntington found itself down early in game two after No. 2 seed Bethel roughed up sophomore Ariel Sheets for four runs in the first inning. With an out to go in the opening frame, Buckenmyer relieved Sheets, but didn't end up faring much better, allowing four runs over the next 1.2 innings to put the Foresters in an 8-0 hole heading into the bottom of the third.
HU put up a run in the third ining, and then added four more on Knouse's slam over the left field fence to slice the Pilots' lead to 8-5.
Knous continued to be a thorn in Bethel's side in the sixth inning, belting her second two-run double of the day to bring the Foresters within a run at 8-7.
Huntington's Marcie McDougle blanked the Pilots in the seventh frame to cap 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, but Bethel's Natalie Newell responded in kind, sitting the Foresters down in order to silence their comeback attempt and preserve the win.
DePew, Fiechter and Weaver supplied two base pokes apiece to help Huntington finish with nine overall.