WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Capital University softball team saw its season come to an end after host Otterbein University defeated the Crusaders in the final round. Capital defeated the University of Mount Union earlier in the day to get the chance to play Otterbein. After finishing as the tournament runners-up, Capital saw three of its own named to the OAC All-Tournament Team following the final game.
GAME 1 – No. 3 Capital 7, No. 4 Mount Union 1
To begin the day, Capital had to first play a waiting game to find out what team it would play in its first game of the day. Four seed Mount Union took the field against No. 3 Heidelberg University in an elimination contest. The Purple Raiders defeated the Student Princes to advance and play Capital.
Capital wasted no time in getting on the board when sophomore Kristen Mellott (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) launched her second home run of the season, a three-run shot to dead center field. Marisa Koss and Morgan Fadel scored on the blast after reaching base via a double and single, respectively.
Two innings later, Cap loaded the bases and called upon Natalie Mabry (Grove City, Ohio/Grove City) to pinch hit. The senior answered with a run-scoring single to right center field to put Cap up, 4-0. Mount Union cut one run down at the plate on a fielder's choice, but sophomore Chevonne Hayslett (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg East) ripped a single up the middle to score Emily Cantley and Sarah Jasinski to double Capital's lead, 6-0. The base hit prompted a pitching change, ending Mount Union pitcher Ali Scali's day early.
Amber Martinelli (Alison Park, Pa./Hampton) cruised through five innings of work, earning her 16th win of the season. She allowed just four hits and one unearned run in her time in the circle. She struck out four and walked one before exiting after the fifth inning.
Sophomore Brianna Reardon (Fremont, Ohio/St. Joseph Central Catholic) mopped up the final two innings and allowed just two hits while keeping Mount Union off of the board.
Hayslett finished the day with three RBIs and hit 3-for-4 from the plate. Mellott also went 3-for-4 with three ribbies, and scored once.
Capital gained passage into the finals round of the OAC Tournament with the win and was set to play defending champion and top seed Otterbein.
GAME 2 – No. 1 Otterbein 13, No. 3 Capital 2
As was the case in their loss to Otterbein the previous day, the Cardinals scored in bunches but this time in the early innings of the game. Reardon was given the nod to start the second game of the day. Otterbein scored seven runs in the first two innings, setting the tone for its 13-2 victory over the Crusaders.
The Cardinals scored twice in the first inning, first when Alyson Shaw doubled and later scored after two wild pitches. Maddie Flasco singled and later scored on a ground out to the right side, but the real damage was done in the next inning.
Otterbein notched five hits, four of them for extra bases, to help induce two Capital pitching changes. Rachel Owens and Natalie Weaver hit back-to-back doubles, prompting an appearance from freshman Kayla Wild, but the Brooklyn, Mich. native lasted just three batters after surrendering three hits and two runs. She was also responsible for a third run, which scored on a ground out to Jasinski at second.
Sophomore Stephanie Hunter (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) had her longest outing of the season and had a serviceable relief appearance through her first five innings of work. After getting Cap out of its jam in the second inning, Hunter retired the Cardinals in order in the third and fourth innings. Until the seventh inning, Hunter had given up just five hits and one run.
Kristen Mellott temporarily energized the Cap bench by blasting her second home run of the day, a solo shot over the left center field fence against Otterbein ace, Gabby Johnson. It was one of just four Capital hits against Otterbein pitching.
Otterbein went on to score five more runs in the seventh inning to put the game on ice. With the final out recorded, the Cardinals won its second straight OAC Tournament championship and earned the automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.
Capital had three players earn a spot on the 10-person OAC All-Tournament Team.
Amber Martinelli earned her place on the all-tournament team after going 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA over 16.0 innings pitched. In that time, she struck out six and walked two while the opposition hit just .231 against her.
Chevonne Hayslett hit a team-best .545 (6-11) over the course of the tournament. She plated three runs and scored once while also walking twice.
Kristen Mellott had a solid weekend at the plate by hitting .417 (5-12) with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.
Capital ends the season with an overall record of 27-17 and finishes the season as OAC Tournament Runner-up.