Storm Drops Pair to Ashland in Season Finale

Storm Drops Pair to Ashland in Season Finale
PAINESVILLE, Ohio – After getting no-hit in the opener of Thursday's (April 29) home doubleheader against regionally-ranked Ashland, the Lake Erie softball team battled in game two, but fell to the Eagles, 4-2. Lake Erie dropped game one, 12-0. The games served as the regular season finales for both teams.
 
In the nightcap, sophomore catcher Megan Foley (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) led off the bottom of the first inning with a blast to center field that landed about 30 feet beyond the outfield fence to tie the game at 1-1. The homer was her eighth of the season.
 
The Eagles (33-11) put up a pair of runs in the third inning off Storm starter Pam Bykowski (Perry, Ohio/Perry/Armstrong Atlantic) with a sacrifice fly by Alyssa Kelley and an RBI double to right by Ashland starting pitcher Logan Hursey.
 
Lake Erie (8-34) cut the lead to one, 3-2, in the fifth after defensive miscue by the Eagles. Jessica Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Whitehall) drew a one-out walk and Foley ripped a single down the right-field line. Smith charged for third, while Foley tried to advance to second on the throw. The third baseman, though, overthrew back to second base trying to get Foley and Smith was able to score the unearned run as the ball trickled into the outfield.
 
That was all the offense the Storm could muster, though. After Haley Rathge (Edon, Ohio/Napoleon) drew a two-out walk, Ashland turned to its ace Emlyn Knerem, who had just come off the perfect game in the first game. Knerem struck out all four batters she faced for her fifth save.
 
Lake Erie pitcher Sam Ronde (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) was very good in relief of Bykowski, allowing just one run on three hits in four innings of work.
 
Knerem was lights-out against the Storm lineup in the opener, striking out 12 of the 15 batters she faced, including eight in a row at one point. She entered the game ranked fifth in the country in ERA and second in strikeout rate.
 
The Ashland offense pounced on the Storm early, getting five runs in the first two innings and tacking on a seven-run fourth to put the game out of reach.
 
The Storm upped its win total from last season by three wins in its second season at the Division II level. Lake Erie will join Ashland and 10 other schools in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the 2011 season.