April 22, 2018
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton Beaver softball squad took to their home turf to face off against the Hanover College Panthers in a Sunday afternoon doubleheader on April 22. Bluffton struggled to get anything going in the first game as the Beavers fell, 6-2, before turning the table with a 6-2 win in game two. The Sunday split moves the Beavers to 8-21 overall and 3-9 in the HCAC.
Hanover would get on the board with a run in the top of the first, but a JOSIE MCELROY (Mt. Orab/Western Brown) homer to left evened the score at 1-1. The dinger by McElroy gave her the school record with 12 long balls this season!
The Panthers took advantage with four unearned runs in the top of the third for a commanding 5-1 lead. They extended it to 6-1 following a RBI single in the fourth. Bluffton was able to get some offense going in the bottom of the fifth after MAKENZIE SCHMIDT (Caledonia/River Valley) drove in a run to cut the deficit to 6-2, but that was all the home team could muster in its 6-2 game one setback.
Pacing Bluffton at the plate was Josie McElroy who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Freshman SYDNEY BOWEN (Convoy/Crestview) added a hit and scored a run. Schmidt stole second in the top of the seventh, giving her a school-record 21 steals for the season!
Taking the defeat on the mound was senior hurler NICOLE THOMAS (Tontogany/Otsego) who dipped to 5-9 on the season following the loss. Thomas allowed only two earned runs off 12 hits in her 7.0 innings of work. The senior struck out three batters in her ninth complete game on the year.
After a 20-minute break, the teams jumped right back into action. The Beavers struck gold in the bottom of the first after an RBI by COURTNEY JASINSKI(Edgewood/Northmont) put the home team ahead 1-0. Following another tally thanks to a Panther error and a two-run double by CAYLIN MORSTADT(Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes), Bluffton took a 4-0 advantage heading into the second inning.
The Beavers would continue to add to their score in the third as a Nicole Thomas RBI single extended their lead to 5-0. Caylin Morstadt was able to cross home plate after a wild pitch which gave Bluffton the 6-0 advantage. Hanover was able to get on the board and score a pair in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit to 6-2. The Beaver defense held strong as Bluffton secured the split with a 6-2 victory.
Bluffton tallied a total of 10 hits in the contest while the Panthers only connected on six. Going a perfect 2-for-2, Caylin Morstadt led the Beavers with two RBI and a run. Josie McElroy and Brittany Huff would each add a pair of hits in the outing while Nicole Thomas collected her first hit and first RBI of the season.
On the hill for Bluffton was JESSIE MADZIA (Massillon/Tuslaw) who improved to 2-10 on the season following the win. Going the full 7.0 innings, the senior surrendered no earned runs and only six hits in the contest. Tallying 107 pitches, Madzia fanned two batters while walking three.
Bluffton will look to pick up a pair of wins on the road when the Beavers travel to play Manchester University on Wednesday, April 25, with the first pitch set for 3:30 p.m. in North Manchester, Ind.