KISSIMMEE, FLA. -- The Lake Erie College softball team saved its best for last as it piled up a season-high 18 hits to take the final game of its spring break trip, 13-4, over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (0-5) at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Storm (3-5) got a strong start from senior Lauren Malicki (Independence, Ohio/Independence) , who did not allow a run in four innings of work. Malicki (1-1) picked up the victory as she scattered five hits while striking out a pair of Rockets and not allowing a walk.
At the plate Lake Erie struck first with a single run in the second inning. Senior third baseman Brittany Sostre (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) led off with a single to right field and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by junior shortstop Lindsey Pennell (Columbus, Ohio/Westland). After a walk by freshman designated player Juliana Brotzman (Madison, Ohio/Madison), junior outfielder Haley Rathge (Edon, Ohio/Napoleon) singled in Sostre.
In the third inning, Lake Erie plated a pair of runs as freshman first baseman Jennifer Gratz (Richwood, Ohio/North Union) led off the inning with a walk and was brought in by junior catcher Megan Foley (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick), who singled to center. Foley was brought in later in the inning on a groundout by Pennell.
The Storm added another run in the fourth inning to take a 4-0 advantage as Foley drove home freshman second baseman Krista Haley (Holland, Ohio/Springfield Holland).
Entering in relief for Malicki, junior Sam Ronde (Reynoldsburg, Pa./Reynoldsburg) ran into a jam in the fifth inning. Two Lake Erie errors led to an unearned run, one of two Parkside plated in the inning. The damage could have been worse as Parkside still had the bases loaded and one out but Ronde worked out of it, forcing a dribbler back to the mound and a strikeout looking.
The Storm struck back in the top of the six, countering those two runs and adding a third for a 7-2 lead. Senior outfielder Danielle Finkler (Chardon, Ohio/Berkshire) led off with a walk and was brought home on a Gratz double off the wall in left. Haley and Foley each singled to big in Gratz, and Pennell capped the rally with a RBI single.
The Rockets scored a run in the sixth, but Lake Erie broke out for a big final frame, putting a six spot on the board. Pennell and Finkler each had a double as part of Lake Erie's seven hits in the inning, and Brotzman reached base twice in the frame with a single and walk. Parkside tacked on a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh for the final 13-4 margin.
The first seven hitters in the Lake Erie lineup – Gratz, Haley, Foley, Sostre, Pennell, Brotzman, and Rathge, all had at least two hits in the game with Foley and Sostre accounting for three each.
Following its return north, Lake Erie is in action next Friday, March 18 at the Salem Tournament in Salem, Va. hosted by West Virginia Wesleyan.