WESTERVILLE, Ohio – On day one of the Ohio Athletic Conference Softball Tournament, Capital University dominated play for 10 innings. The Purple and White, seeded third in this year's tournament, trounced No. 2 Heidelberg University in five innings to open up weekend action. Top-seeded Otterbein University came back and with two explosive innings, delivered Capital a 9-1 loss. Capital is still alive, but will have to win three games on Sunday in order to win its first OAC Tournament in 20 years. Capital will play the winner of No. 4 Mount Union and No. 2 Heidelberg at the Otterbein Softball Field in Westerville at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning.
GAME 1 – No. 3 Capital 10, No. 2 Heidelberg 1 (F/5)
Heidelberg scored the first run of the game in their first at bat, using a leadoff single and some small ball to take a 1-0 lead. Taylor Hicks put down an infield single to the third base side and then advanced to third by way of a sacrifice bunt and another infield single. Hicks scored on a safety squeeze put down by Abbey McKee. Martinelli fielded and retired McKee, but the Student Princes went up by one run.
Capital responded swiftly and strongly with a nine-run top of the second inning in which all the runs were scored with two outs. Despite the Crusaders' attempt to use small ball to get in position to score, Heidelberg pitched Erin Chapman walked three batters to load the bases. A fourth walk tied the game, and then Capital cued the offense.
Recently-named all-conference selection Morgan Fadel (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Brecksview-Broadview) toped a two-run double into the right center field gap, scoring Bailey Walter and Chevonne Hayslett. Up 3-1, Heidelberg allowed the inning to continue after left fielder Bailey Smith committed an error on a hit by sophomore Kristen Mellott, allowing two more runs to score. With one runner on, freshman Emily Cantley launched the first of two home runs in the inning by Capital hitters. After completely one trip through the entire Capital lineup, senior Sarah Jasinski came back up to hit and reached base for the second time in the frame, this time by way of a single. Junior Haleigh Luce (Greenville, Ohio/Greenville) then launched a moon shot that hit off the roof of the Rike Center, located beyond the left field fence, to put two more runs on the board. Following Luce's shot Capital found itself up, 9-1.
Capital tacked on another run in the following inning, cashing in on another walked batted. Walter drew a leadoff walk and after moving to second on another sacrifice, Fadel ripped her second double of the game, scoring Walter from second and bumping Cap's lead to 10-1 after three innings.
With a sizable lead in hand, Martinelli rolled the rest of the way. After surrendering two hits and one run in the first inning, Martinelli shut down the Student Princes, in order, in each of the next four innings. Martinelli retired 14 straight to end the game and send Capital into the winner's bracket of the ongoing tournament.
Fadel went 3-for-3 behind two doubles and a single and posted three RBIs. Cantley and Luce each finished with one hit and two RBIs, all of those coming off their respective home runs.
GAME 2 – No. 1 Otterbein 9, No. 3 Capital 1
Martinelli continued her strong performance in the circle by turning down the Cardinals in order in each of the first two innings. She topped out the number of consecutively retired batters at 21. An Otterbein single in the third disrupted that streak, but the senior got out of the inning stranding the Cardinals runner.
Capital continued its assault with the long ball with another home run, this time a solo shot by senior first baseman Marisa Koss (Ostrander, Ohio/Buckeye Valley). She ripped her fourth homer of the season over the left center field fence to put the Crusaders up 1-0.
Capital threatened to score in each of the next three innings, but stranded a total of six runners on the bases, three of those in scoring position.
The Cardinals took back the lead in the top of the six inning with aid by two Capital errors in the inning. Bailey McElwain and Kendall Lloyd each recorded run-scoring hits out of the middle of the lineup. Rachel Owens also added an RBI single to put Otterbein up 3-1 heading into the seventh.
Otterbein added to that lead by running out six runs in the top of the seventh. Martinelli began the inning by hitting the nine batter, Savannah Sarkine, and then surrendered two more hits, one scoring a run. Back-to-back fielder's choices put two outs on the board, as well as two more runs. Molly Riggs' run-scoring base hit plated another run and ended Martinelli's day.
Freshman Kayla Wild (Brooklyn, Mich./Tecumseh) entered and after giving up a base hit to her first batter faced, she recorded all three outs to get the Crusaders out of the inning. However, the Cardinals built a 9-1 lead after the dust settled.
Otterbein pitcher Gabby Johnson improved to 16-0 on the season, surrendering just one run on seven hits. She went 5.1 innings before turning it over to Rachel Owens who struck out two and surrendered just one hit in relief.
Capital will now wait to see what team it plays in an elimination game to open the final day of the OAC Softball Tournament. They will play the winner of the No. 4 Mount Union and No. 2 Heidelberg contest, which was scheduled to be played Sunday evening. That game has been postponed due to weather and will be played at 9 a.m. Capital will take the field at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, tentatively. An update to provide Capital's opponent will be provided when it is available.