Softball Splits with Bluffton in Low-Scoring Contests

Photo by Jeff Mills
Photo by Jeff Mills

BLUFFTON, Ohio – The Capital University softball team split its doubleheader against the Bluffton University Beavers on Saturday afternoon. The Crusader defense stepped up in game one, holding Bluffton without a run after Capital took an early lead. In game two, Bluffton used a three-run inning late in the contest to top the Crusaders.

Game 1—Capital 1, Bluffton 0

Capital (6-8) struck first in the opening stanza to score the only run in the game. Brooklyn Staten (Grove City, Ohio) led off for the Crusaders before getting on base due to a fielding error by the Bluffton (7-7) defense. After reaching first base, Staten stole second, her fifth stolen base on the season.

Pam Vickers (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) then hit a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher to advance Staten to third. During the next at-bat, Staten made Bluffton pay for a wild pitch, reaching home plate.

The Crusader defense held strong throughout the rest of the game, securing the shutout victory.

Marisa Koss (Ostrander, Ohio) led the way on defense with 11 putouts as Staten contributed with a team-leading four assists.

Capital held a 6-4 advantage in hits while both teams committed a pair of errors. Kat Boyer (Huber Heights, Ohio) and Vickers both went 1-for-2 at the plate.

Amber Martinelli (Allison Park, Pa.) started and finished the game on the mound for the Crusaders, walking one batter and striking out three players. The junior pitcher's record improves to 2-1 on the season.

Game 2 – Capital 1, Bluffton 3

The Crusaders scored another early run, this time in the second inning as Katie Hurst (Macedonia, Ohio) put things in motion with a shot through the left side. Hurst reached second base on a passed ball and then got to third on a fielding error off an Therese Becker (South Euclid, Ohio) at-bat.

 Hurst scored her seventh run of the season as Kristen Mellott (Clear Spring, Md.) grounded out to second base.
 
The Crusaders held Bluffton scoreless until the Beavers found its offense in the sixth inning. Sophomore Josie McElroy reached first base on a muffed throw by Capital's defense. The error allowed McElroy enough time to get on second. The Beavers entered Ashley Knippen into the game to pinch run for McElroy.

Following another Bluffton substitution that put Kelsi Wilson in the game to pinch hit, the sophomore outfielder singled to right field, the hit sent Knippen in for the game-tying run. A fielding error allowed Wilson to get to second base.

After the score, head coach Nan Payne shuffled the lineup, entering Bailey Walter (Ashland, Ohio) to left field, Ashley Knowles (Canton, Ohio) to right field and Haleigh Luce (Greenville, Ohio) at pitcher.

 The next two batters scored runs for Bluffton as Mercedes Burns grounded out, allowing a Beaver run to be scored, followed by an RBI single by Carly Levindofske.
 

The Beavers out-hit the Crusaders 8-4 as freshman Kelsey Reeder tied with teammate Levindofske for the game lead of two hits.

Bree Kilgus (Grove City, Ohio) pitched five innings, allowing six hits and a pair of earned runs. The freshman pitcher did manage to strike out five Bluffton batters.

 Capital will play in its first home doubleheader of the season on Tuesday, March 22 against Wittenberg University. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Clowson Field.