Hanover College’s softball team dropped both ends of a key Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader at Bluffton University (Ohio).
Hanover, a seeking a berth in the league's four-team post-season tournament, built a 7-2 lead in the opener before Bluffton rallied for an 8-7 victory. The Panthers fell 9-1 in the second contest.
Hanover scored twice in the first inning and added three runs in the second to bolt to a 5-0 lead in the first game.
Bluffton trimmed the margin to 5-2 with a pair of runs in the fifth, but the Panthers countered with two runs in the top of the seventh to head into the Beavers’ final at-bat with a 7-2 advantage.
With one out in the seventh, Bluffton had eight consecutive batters reach base by either hit or walk, eventually leading to the game-winning six-run rally.
Junior shortstop Danielle Merrick (Eminence, Ind.) finished with three of Hanover’s nine hits. She also scored twice and knocked in one run. Junior pitcher Leah Kemmerer (North Vernon, Ind.) and senior third baseman Shelby Overton (Greenwood, Ind.) had two hits apiece.
Kemmerer (13-3) was pinned with only her third loss of the season after allowing 12 hits and eight runs in six and one-third innings. She walked four and had four strikeouts.
Hanover (17-15; 6-6 HCAC) jumped out of the gate with a run in the first inning of the second game. Bluffton, however, answered with five runs in the bottom half of the inning, one in the third and three more in the fourth to post the 9-1 win.
The Panthers were held to four hits, with Overton and sophomore catcher Victoria Wilson (Camby, Ind.) each swatting a double.
Junior Christina Davidson (Cincinnati, Ohio) worked two thirds of an inning in the circle. Davidson (3-7) surrendered five hits and five runs (two earned).
Freshman Mattie Varvel (Fillmore, Ind.) pitched the final three and one-third innings. She allowed three hits and four runs (two earned) with two walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Published Saturday, April 19, 2014