CLERMONT, Fla. – Lake Erie nearly won for the first time in a calendar year but a heart-break loss to Cedarville paved the way to the Storm being swept in a split doubleheader on Monday.
In the opener, Lake Erie let a late 5-2 lead slip away and, in comeback fashion, Cedarville scored a 6-5, extra-innings victory. Gannon (Pa.) downed the Storm, 7-5, in game two. Both games were played early in the day on Monday, LEC's second day of competition in Central Florida.
Lake Erie's first game was a well-pitched, well-played contest against Cedarville (4-2), a program that has been over .500 in each of the last three seasons (2011-13). And with one out remaining in that game Lake Erie (0-4) looked like it would pull off its first win since beating Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.), 7-6, on March 7, 2013. But late heroics for the Lady Jackets spelled a loss for LEC.
In the Storm's second game, Lake Erie had a 4-3 lead after four innings, but Gannon (3-1) plated two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Game One The visitor-batting Storm were kept off the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the first, Cedarville got two-out RBI hits from Kelsey Chapman and Carlyn Hanzel to take a 2-0 lead over starter Katarina Davis and the Storm.
Lake Erie made some noise in the second but failed to score after having runners on first and second with no outs. In the third the Storm broke through for a solo run when freshman catcher Elizabeth Karako picked up a two-out RBI, knocking in Maddi Klemp with a single to center. That run was aided by a Cedarville error. The Lady Jackets would commit four errors in the ballgame.
An LEC error got Davis into a jam in the bottom of the third, but the sophomore southpaw wriggled out of that jam with a ground out and a fly out. The Storm bats then evened the game in the top of the fourth when Lindsay Valvoda led off the inning with a double to center. Valvoda was plated by a Courtney Hawk RBI ground-out two batters later.
With the score knotted at 2-2 and with Davis still hanging zeroes on the CU side of the ledger, Lake Erie then did some two-out damage in the top of the fifth. A Karako single and a big two-run double by Darrian Yanek were the key hit of the inning, and the Storm came out of that frame with a 4-2 lead.
Davis allowed a base runner but no damage in the bottom of the fifth. Then, in the sixth, Lake Erie tacked on an insurance run when a Lady Jacket error and a wild pitch plated Courtney Hawk. Davis pitched a scoreless sixth. In the seventh she allowed a lead-off single and then a two-out RBI double. Junior shortstop Jessica Palm then hit a two-run home run to left to tie the game, 5-5.
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, Valvoda was placed on second to begin the eighth. She advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded after a pop up and two strikeouts. In the bottom of the eighth, the Lady Jackets loaded the bases and then won the game when freshman second baseman Christina Kirkpatrick singled to right with one out.
Cedarville outhit Lake Erie, 12-8. Four CU players logged multiple hits in the game, and Elizabeth Karako had half of LEC's eight hits; she went 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Lake Erie went just 2-of-15 with runners in scoring position.
Davis went the distance, allowing six runs (five earned). She walked three and struck out three.
Game Two Gannon scored a lone run in the first and two in the second to take a 3-0 lead against freshman starter Hannah Shevenell and the Storm. Golden Knights starter Alison Benz pitched scoreless frames in the first, second and third, working around GU errors in the first and second.
After Shevenell held Gannon scoreless in the third and fourth, the Storm came through with four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Shevenell helped her own cause with a double in the inning; Lindsay Valvoda, Kate-Lynn Urgo, Maddi Klemp and Darrian Yanek split the four RBIs, and two runners were in scoring position when the rally ended.
A double and an error fed a key comeback inning for the Golden Knights in the fifth. A pair of sacrifice flies plated two runs for Gannon, vaulting the visitors back in front, 5-4. In the bottom of the fifth, Lake Erie put together a single and a GU error to counter with one run.
Then, with the score tied, 5-5, Gannon scored a solo run in the sixth while keeping the Green & White off the scoreboard in the sixth. GU again traded one for one in the seventh to close out the 7-5 victory. Lake Erie left five on base over the sixth and seventh stanzas. They left 12 runners in the game.
Amanda Anderson pitched the seventh for LEC. Shevenell went six innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on nine hits and a walk.
Shevenell had two hits in the game and three on the day. Lindsay Valvoda went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in the Gannon game. She also had three base hits on the day.
Lake Erie will continue its play in Clermont on Tuesday. The Storm are slated to face Lynn (Fla.) at 3 p.m. and Quincy (Ill.) at 5 p.m.
Notes: Lake Erie played in just three games decided by 1-2 runs last season. The Storm went 2-1 over those three contests. … Karako's four-hit game in the opener marked LEC's first four-hit game since Megan Foley went 4-for-4 on April 6, 2012. … Shevenell has reached base seven times in her first four games.