The Muskingum softball team clinched a berth to the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament following its split with Ohio Northern on Saturday afternoon. The Polar Bears won the opener 3-1, while the Muskies took game two, 8-1.
Muskingum will be the four-seed in the tournament, which is scheduled for May 4-6 at Otterbein. They play top-seed Otterbein in the opening game on Friday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. The double-elimination tournament, which features Muskingum, Otterbein, second-seed Ohio Northern, and third-seed Heidelberg, will culminate with the tournament champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
- Records: Muskingum (24-10 overall, 10-8 OAC), Ohio Northern (27-7 overall, 13-5 OAC)
- Location: Ada, Ohio – ONU Softball Field
Inside the Numbers- Game One:
- Muskingum scored one run on eight hits.
- Freshman Karsyn Shaffer paced the Muskie offense by going 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.
- Senior Haylea Debolt, junior Krissy Hughes, sophomore Jolyn Shunk, freshman Jaelyn Meade and fresman Riley Powers each tallied a hit. Debolt also scored a run.
- Debolt scored the lone run of the contest off a single from Shaffer in the top of the second inning. Debolt opened the second inning with a single to center field.
- Freshman pitcher Gabrielle McNeil took the loss after allowing three runs on six hits.
- Ohio Northern scored three runs on 10 hits.
- Hailee Loughman led the Polar Bears by going 3-for-3 at the dish with an RBI.
- Kirsten Lightel posted the win after pitching a complete game, allowing one run on eight hits.
Inside the Numbers- Game Two:
- Muskingum scored eight runs on 14 hits.
- Meade paced the Muskies offense by going 3-for-5, which included a home run, two runs scored, and two RBIs.
- Hughes also went 3-for-5 at the dish with two runs scored.
- Shunk went 2-for-4 at the plate.
- Debolt notched two hits, two runs scored, and an RBI.
- Junior Rachel Eberling collected a hit, which was a three-run homer, a run scored, and finished with a team-high three RBIs.
- Shaffer produced two RBIs and a hit.
- Powers had one hit and a run scored.
- The Muskies spurted four runs in the top of the first inning. An RBI single by Debolt allowed Hughes to score the first run. On the next play, Eberling smashed a three-run dinger. Powers singled down the right field line to reach base.
- Meade singled to right field, which brought in Hughes across the plate in the top of the second inning. Hughes reached first on an error by the first baseman to open the inning.
- Meade hit a solo goner to open the top of the fourth inning.
- A single to left center by Shaffer in the top of the sixth inning gave Debolt and Meade the opportunity to score the seventh and eighth run. Meade singled to the shortstop to open the inning, while Debolt singled to center field.
- Eberling recorded her 10th win of the season from the circle after pitching a complete game, allowing one run on six hits. She also tossed three strikeouts.
- Ohio Northern scored one run on six hits.
- Laura Burden went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI for the Polar Bears.
- Kaitlin Surdej tossed the loss after allowing eight runs on 14 hits.
In game one, Ohio Northern jumped on the scoreboard off an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. The Muskies tied the contest at the top of the second inning when Shaffer singled to the pitcher, allowing Debolt to score the run. The Polar Bears scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to retake a 3-1 advantage. In the sixth inning, Shunk opened with a walk, then freshman Alexia Dowdle came in to pinch run. Junior pinch hitter Kierstyn Czuchran struck out looking, while Shaffer singled to the shortstop. Shaena Mayer was the next batter up and struck out looking. On the final play of the inning, Hughes singled to left center, which advanced Shaffer to second and Dowdle to third, but was called out at home plate. In the seventh inning, Powers grounded out to third base, Meade walked, Debolt lined out to shortstop, Meade advanced to second on the wild pitch, and Eberling struck out swinging to end game one.
An RBI single by Debolt in the top of the first inning got the Muskies offense rolling in game two. On the following play, Eberling smacked a three-run dinger to lift Muskingum to a 4-0 lead. An RBI single by Meade in the top of the second gave the Muskies a 5-0 advantage. The Polar Bears scored their lone run of the contest in the bottom of the second off an RBI single. A solo home run by Meade in the top of the fourth and a two-run single by Shaffer in the top of the sixth secured the Muskies victory in game two.
- Muskingum will travel to Washington, Pennsylvania as they play against non-conference opponent Washington & Jefferson on Tuesday, May 1. Game time is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.