TITUSVILLE, Fla.---The Bay College Norse softball team held a late lead in both of their games against Spoon River (Illinois) College Snappers on Thursday, but dropped both ends of the doubleheader, 8-6 in nine innings, and 6-5, in Titusville.
The Norse entered the doubleheader on a six-game winning streak, but lost to a Snapper team that has routinely beaten its opponents by wide margins so far this spring.
In the opener, the Norse trailed, 2-0, into the late innings as they struggled to hit pitcher Hailey Robinson. Finally, in the sixth inning, Maddy Griffin singled home a run to make it a 2-1 game. The Norse stranded two runners that inning, but rallied in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead.
Taylor Hunter and Georgia Lehto both walked to start the inning, then Morgan Letteriello singled to load the bases. That's when Lexi Chaillier launched a grand slam home run to left field to put the Norse in front, 5-2.
But the Snappers (15-3) rallied in the bottom of the inning as Norse pitcher Eden Oswald was within one strike of a victory on two occasions. With two out and the bases loaded, Tina Foglesong popped one up that Oswald dove for just outside of the circle, but it landed. Two runs scored, and a third runner tried to score but was tagged out at the plate. It was tied at 5-5.
The international tiebreaker was in effect, giving each team a runner at second base to start the inning, The Norse cashed in when Beth Gannigan's ground ball scored Richelle Vandeville with the go-ahead run, as the fielder threw to the plate late.
But Spoon River came back again in the bottom of the eighth when the bunt back to Oswald was thrown over the third baseman's head for an error. The Norse managed to get it to the ninth inning when Paige Collopy ripped a bullet that Griggin caught for a 5-4 double play.
In the top of the ninth, a pair of walks loaded the bases for Chaillier. She popped it up to short, and the runner between second and third, Kourey Kaukola, collided with the shortstop. That meant two outs, and Kaitlyn Hardwick's pop up ended the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Italian student Guillia Cianfriglia launched a two-run homer to center field to win it for the Snappers.
The Norse got off to a great start in the second game as they scored a run in the first inning and three runs in the second to take a 4-0 lead. In that second inning, Chaillier had an RBI double, and two runs scored on grounders by Kaukola and Hardwick.
But Spoon River came back again in the fifth inning against Norse pitcher Brittany Schwartz. A walk and a hit-batsmen put two on, and Cianfrigila smoked another three-run homer to center field, making it 4-3.
The Snappers tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth inning when Daisy Bejarano ripped a double to center field when Chaillier robbed a home run by knocking the ball back onto the field.
Bay regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Chaillier walked, stole second, and scored on a double up the right center field gap by Hardwick.
But Spoon River rallied in the top of the seventh,as Mackenzie Hedges doubled and Lindsey Stenger singled. In a bunt season, Fogelsong put down a nice bunt and the throw to the plate was late. That tied the game, and after a walk loaded the bases, Noelle Hobbs ripped one up the power alley that Chaillier dove for and caught. The go-ahead run did score on the tag-up hoeever.
In the bottom of the seventh, Chaillier made a bid to tie the game but her long fly ball to center field was caught near the fence. Hardwick sent a bullet toward right field but it was caught, and that's how the game ended.
Story by Jack Hall, RRN Sports