Norse Softball Can't Catch Sinclair

Lexi Chaillier diving for a catch in the outfield

TITUSVILLE, FL - The Bay College Norse Softball Team (1-3) opened the 2020 Florida trip with a pair of losses on Saturday, falling to Sinclair (Ohio) Community College (7-8), 3-1 and 10-1, at Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville.

The Lady Tartan Pride entered the game ranked 13th in the nation in NJCAA Division Two and are defending regional champions. They were wrapping up their Florida trip and improved to 7-8 on the season. The Norse are just starting their trip to the Sunshine State and are 1-3 overall.

In the opener, the Norse broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning when with two out, Lexi Chaillier (FR, Escanaba, MI) lofted a long fly ball into a 30-mile-per hour north wind. The wind held it in the park, and Chaillier raced around to third base with a triple. She scored on an infield error moments later.

It stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth when the Tartan Pride got to Norse starter Eden Oswald (FR, Bark River, MI). A wind-blown double for Hailey McEldowney was followed by sharply-hit singles by Molly Schweitzer and Brooke Sommers, with the latter bringing in the tying run.

Oswald was able to get two outs, but with the bases loaded, she got ahead of Olivia Place in a 1-2 count before losing her on a bases-loaded walk. That made it a 2-1 lead.

Oswald struck out Lilly Gibbons to end the inning and worked a scoreless sixth inning before Jenna Popplemann came off the bench to launch a solo home run to make it 3-1.

The Norse had two golden opportunities to get the runs back, putting runners on first and second with no outs in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Beth Gannigan (SO, Coleman, WI) and Madison Griffin (SO, Escanaba, MI) drew leadoff walks, but Richelle Vandeville (SO, Rapid River, MI) lofted a fly ball to shallow center field that was caught. On the play, runner Tatiana LaFave (FR, Bark River, MI) was doubled off of second base and Morgan Letteriello (FR, Gladstone, MI) struck out.

In the seventh, Georgia Lehto (FR, Escanaba, MI) and Taylor Hunter (SO, Gladstone, MI) led off with back-to-back hits to start the inning, bringing Chaillier to the plate. She went after the first pitch and popped it straight up, and the catcher couldn't catch the ball. Runners were thrown out at second and third bases as the ball landed in fair territory. The umpires ruled that the infield fly rule did not apply on that play because it was not a "routine play" and the runners could go on their own discretion.

Kaitlyn Hardwick (SO, Gladstone, MI) then struck out to end the game.

Oswald threw all six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. She struck out five, and walked only one, the one that brought in the eventual game-winning run.

Carly Fugett earned the win, throwing five-plus innings, allowing one run on one hit. Cassidy King earned the save by tossing the final two innings, allowing no runs on two hits.

In the second game, the Norse had a rough first inning, allowing seven runs on four hits, and they made four errors in that inning. The Norse got one run back in the bottom of the first when Chaillier led off with a hit and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Griffin.

Sinclair added three more runs in the fourth inning as Schweitzer had a two-run double and Audrey Massenheimer contributed an RBI hit. Schweitzer went 3-for-4 with three RBI in that game.

The Norse did not get another hit off of King, who threw a five-inning one-hitter. Gannigan walked twice and Heather Bergstrom (FR, Escanaba, MI) drew a free pass for Bay's other baserunners.

Brittany Svhwartz (FR, Rapid River, MI) took the loss for the Norse, allowing all ten runs on seven base hits. Only three of the runs were earned runs as the Norse committed five errors. Schwartz struck out five and walked two as the game ended on the mercy rule after five innings.

The Norse will try to bounce back on Sunday with two more games in Titusville, against Macomb (Mich.) Community College at noon and the Community College of Rhode Island at 2:30.

Story by Jack Hall, RRN Sports