Facing one of the top teams in the GLIAC, Lake Erie College softball (5-13, 0-6 GLIAC) nearly pulled off an upset but was fought off by Grand Valley State University (19-4, 5-1 GLIAC), 11-6 and 5-4, in a pair of cross-divisional contests on Sunday (Mar. 27) and Kiwanis Recreation Park in Painesville, Ohio.
In the first game, the Storm struck first with a leadoff home run from freshman designated player Juliana Brotzman (Madison, Ohio/Madison), the first long ball of her career. The Lakers posted runs in the second and third innings and the Storm tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third when junior catcher Megan Foley (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) singled in freshman first baseman Jeniffer Gratz (Richwood, Ohio/North Union). Grand Valley jumped back on top with a run in the fourth and three runs in the fifth, two of which came on a home run blast, sent freshman starter Sara Shields (Randolph, Ohio/Waterloo) from the game. Lake Erie picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth on a triple from senior third baseman Brittany Sostre (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) but the Lakers scored five in the seventh inning to put the game away. Lake Erie scored two in the seventh on another Foley single but could not make up any more ground in the loss.
Brotzman and Foley each had three of the Storm's 12 hits in game one while Sostre added a pair. Shields lasted 4.1 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) while striking out five.
In game two, the Storm to advantage of playing as the road team with three runs in the top of the first, as freshman second baseman Fayth Atkins (Holland, Ohio/Springfield) singled in a pair and junior outfielder Haley Rathge (Edon, Ohio/Napoleon) followed to bring in another. Grand Valley State hit a pair of home runs in the second and third innings, accounting for four of the Lakers five runs in those two frames.
Those would be all the runs GVSU would get in the game as freshman Dawn Ondercin (Sheffield, Ohio/Brookside) went the distance, allowing five runs on eight hits while punching out a pair.
Lake Erie was able to get an unearned run in the fifth inning as Sostre singled home senior outfielder Danielle Finkler (Chardon, Ohio/Berkshire), but the Storm had just five hits in the game and two after the first inning. Their only other strong scoring opportunity came in the top of the seventh, as Foley and Sostre reached base with only one out but a fielder's choice and strike out sealed the victory for Grand Valley.
Lake Erie's back in action Tuesday as they travel to Walsh University for a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 2:30 p.m.