Lake Erie College softball (7-21, 0-12 GLIAC) again came tantalizingly close to its first GLIAC victory but was turned back again, 4-3 in nine innings and 9-1 in five innings, against the University of Findlay (16-11-1, 4-8 GLIAC) by the at Kiwanis Recreation Park.
Game one started off as a pitcher's dual as Lake Erie freshman Sara Shields (Randolph, Ohio/Waterloo) and Findlay's Jackie Messersmith as neither allowed a run in the first four innings. The only strong scoring threat came in the top of the third when Findlay loaded the bases with one out.
In the fifth, the Oilers finally struck for two using three hits, a walk and a hit batter. Shields kept the game close at 2-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, as the Oilers left 10 runners on base in the seven frames while Lake Erie just had a solo hit in the first six innings. In the bottom of the seventh, junior catcher Ali Heming (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) got a one out single and junior outfielder Haley Rathge (Edon, Ohio/Napoleon) followed with a double. Findlay went to the bullpen but a sacrifice fly from Shields and a two out wild pitch sent the game to extra innings.
In the eighth, Shields retired Findlay in order but freshman Juliana Brotzman (Madison, Ohio/Madison) was the only Storm member to reach base, via a hit by pitch.
Findlay finally struck again in the top of the ninth with a pair of runs on a Kara Hochevar home run which proved to be the game winner. Lake Erie did not go down quietly however as senior third baseman Brittany Sostre (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) hit a solo shot to lead off the inning. It was her 10th of the season, tying Lake Erie's single season home run record. Heming got her second hit of the game and after a wild pitch and Shields reaching on a wild pitch strike out, was just 60 feet away from tying the game with one out. Freshman Becca Havrilla (Willowick, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) grounded to shortstop Hochevar who gunned down Heming at the plate on a close play which was overturned by the umpiring crew twice. Findlay endued a grounder to first to seal the victory.
Shields worked all nine innings for Lake Erie, allowing 10 hits and four runs while striking out eight.
Findlay carried that momentum into the second game and never looked back, scoring three runs in the first inning, three more in the second and solo runs in third and fourth innings. Lake Erie got on the board in the fifth inning when Brotzman singled home freshman Krista Haley (Holland, Ohio/Springfield Holland). The Oilers ended the game with run in the bottom of the fifth.
Lake Erie just had three hits in game two, as Brotzman led off the game with a double and singled. increasing her hitting streak to eight games, going 16-of-25 (.640) over that stretch. Haley also singled in the game.
The Storm will be back in action tomorrow with another doubleheader with Findlay scheduled for a noon start.