TITUSVILLE, FL - The Bay College Norse (1-5) got their wake-up call Sunday evening as they battled the Community College of Rhode Island Knights (2-5) as the second day of their Florida trip came to a close.
Unfortunately for the Norse, the wake-up call came a little bit too late.
The Norse fell behind by six runs in the first inning before battling back twice late in the game. The Knights held on to post a 9-7 win to drop Bay to 0-4 on the trip.
Earlier in the day, Bay also put on a late rally against the Macomb Community College (MI) Monarchs (6-3), erasing a 5-2 deficit to tie the game, only to see the Monarchs win in walk-off fashion, 6-5.
"As much as I want to talk about their character, which is phenomenal, and their abilities, which are phenomenal, I hate losing," Bay College Head Coach Heidi Charon said. "Anyone who plays sports does. We can believe in them and their abilities, but they have to believe in themselves. They're just a little too hesitant right now; a little too doubtful of themselves. And so, they've just got to figure it out, and they're starting to."
In the first game of the day, it was an all-Michigan battle in the sunny 70-degree Florida weather. Brittany Schwartz (FR, Rapid River, MI) got the scoring started with a long solo home run in the second inning for the Norse, and freshman Lexi Chaillier (Escanaba, MI) followed with a solo home run in the third inning to make it a 2-0 game.
The Monarchs battled back with two runs in the bottom of the inning as Taylor Jones (FR, Washington, MI) smacked a bases-loaded double to make it 2-2. Then in the fourth inning, Macomb put on a two-out rally with back-to-back-to-back RBI hits by Avieri Ludwig (SO, Chesterfield, MI), Elisabeth Westrick (FR, Westerick, MI) followed with a two-strike single that hit off the front of the pitcher's circle and hopped high into the air into the outfield.
Oswald took the loss, allowing six runs on eleven hits. She walked four and struck out one. Chaillier ended up 4-for-4 at the dish, with three runs batted in and three runs scored. Vandeville also gad two hits in a losing effort.
The Norse found themselves behind the eight-ball in the first inning of the next game, as the Knights scored six runs in the top of the first inning, chasing Brittany Schwartz out of the circle.
Bay got one run back in the bottom of the inning when Chaillier singled, stole second, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Madison Griffin (SO, Escanaba, MI).
After the Knights scored once in the second inning without a base hit, the Norse got two runs in the bottom of the third inning as Hardwick smacked a single to bring home Oswald and Chaillier.
CCRI opened up a six-run lead in the sixth inning when Braelyn Beffre (FR, North Providence, RI) launched a two-run homer, the only extra base hit Oswald would allow in her second appearance of the day.
The Norse weren't done. They started to hit, one after another, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Morgan Letteriello (FR, Gladstone, MI) smacked a two-run double, then two Eskymos, Georgia Lehto (FR, Escanaba, MI) and Heather Bergstrom (FR, Escanaba, MI) followed with back-to-back run-scoring doubles to make it 9-7.
But Knights pitcher Dayna Jackrony (SO, Cumberland, RI) was able to get out of trouble when Chaillier sharply sent one toward the outfield. Shortstop Emily McNeil (FR, West Warwick, RI) stabbed the ball and threw Chaillier out.
The Norse still weren't done. In the bottom of the seventh, Kaitlyn Hardwick (SO, Gladstone, MI) smoked a double to the fence, and with one out, Richelle Vandeville (SO, Rapid River, MI) followed with a double. Hardwick was held at third base, and the Norse had the tying run in scoring position with one out.
Tatiana LaFave (FR, Bark River, MI) was called on to bat in the big spot because Letteriello left the game with an injury, and she battled the count to 2-2 before popping up. With two out, Korey Kaukola (FR, Ishpeming, MI) sent a long fly ball to left field that could have at least tied the game. Knights left fielder Hannah Northup (SO, Warwick, RI) reached back and caught it, crashing into the fence and hanging on, to end the game.
"They had great defense," Charon said of the Knights. "The best we've seen so far. Give the credit to them."
Schwartz took the loss, with Oswald turning in 6 1/3 innings of solid relief.
"She definitely pulled through and it was fun to see because she got stronger at the end of the game," Charon said. "She was striking them out and getting ahead in the count, which we need to see more of earlier in the game."
Bay College will try to crack the win column for the first time on the trip on Monday with a tripleheader against Itasca Community College, St. Cloud Technical College, and a rematch against Macomb. The action starts at 10:30 Monday morning in Titusville.
Story by Jack Hall, RRN Sports