Point Park falls in AMC Softball Tournament Finals with two losses to Carlow
April 29, 2012
Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.
KENNEDY TWP., Pa. -- Point Park University entered Sunday's American Mideast Conference Softball Tournament Championship Round versus Carlow University with a 5-0 record versus its cross-town rival this year.
But Carlow came from the loser's bracket to win the two that counted most this season.
Needing two victories to win the title in the double-elimination tournament, No. 2 seed Carlow beat No. 1 seed Point Park 10-2 in six innings and then 10-9 in 10 innings to win the conference championship at Fairhaven Park.
Carlow (30-12, 8-6 AMC) advances to the Unaffiliated Group Series next weekend with a chance to qualify for the NAIA national tournament while the season comes to an end for Point Park (25-24, 11-3 AMC).
Point Park had beaten Carlow, 7-3, in the winner's bracket final on Friday. Also, Point Park swept all four regular season games from the Celtics.
Carlow scored the final 10 runs of the first game on Sunday to force a deciding game. Ashley Morran's two-run homer -- her 10th of the year -- gave Point Park a 2-0 lead in the third inning. But the Pioneers couldn't push across any more runs as that was one of only five hits versus winning pitcher Emily Pritts.
Trailing, 2-1, Carlow scored three runs in the top of the fifth and then six more in the top of the sixth to go ahead, 10-2. With the eight-run mercy rule in effect, Point Park could not extend the game.
Carlow pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of three Point Park errors in the the opening game.
In the second game, Carlow came out on top, 10-9, after 10 innings of sloppy, error-field ball from both teams. After a myriad of fielding, throwing and baserunning errors, it was Carlow that came away with the title in a wild game.
Carlow scored five runs in the top of the first. The big blow was a grand slam home run by Sarah Sevcik to make it 5-0. Sevcik's blast continued a string of 15 consecutive runs scored by Carlow on the day.
Point Park made a comeback and was ahead, 6-5, after two innings but not without some help from Carlow. Trailing, 5-0, in the first inning with runners at first and third, Point Park scored three runs with one swing of the bat, and that swing produced a groundball to third by Sara Guffey.
A run scored from third as Guffey legged out the infield single. Then Carlow had two throwing errors across the diamond that allowed Morran to score all the way from first and Guffey to make it all the way around the bases from the batter's box to crossing home plate.
Down, 5-3, Point Park took a 6-5 lead with three runs in the second. An outfield error allowed a run to score after Nichelle Navarro's base hit, and Olivia Sorce followed with an RBI triple off the fence in left. An illegal pitch then allowed the go-ahead run to score.
Point Park sat on its 6-5 lead until Carlow tied it up in the sixth and pushed across two more in the seventh for an 8-6 lead. All three of those runs were unearned. Point Park made six errors in game two, one more than Carlow.
Carlow's run that tied it at 6-6 came without a ball leaving the infield, and Carlow playing small-ball would prove the difference in the end. With runners at second and third with two outs, Carlow's Shelby Rodgers flicked a nubber back to the mound, and pitcher Kate Reese's only play was to the plate. But Samantha Kemock beat the throw.
Carlow went up 8-6 in the seventh after a single, an error and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out. Another Carlow slap to the mound -- this time by Kemock -- could not be handled, and two runs scored on the play as a throw got away at first.
Point Park got two runs in the last of the seventh to force extra innings, and the game was extended in bizarre fashion.
The rally started with three straight singles by Olivia Sorce, Amanda Ardinger and Morran, the last of which drove in a run and cut the deficit to 8-7. A groundout to the pitcher moved Ardinger and Morran but to third and second, respectively.
Then Teresa Davis grounded out to Carlow shortstop Rodgers, who successfully held Ardinger at third before throwing to first. On the play, Morran ran all the way to the third base bag as she expected Ardinger to be going home on the throw across the diamond. But Ardinger stayed put, and Morran was hung up.
Carlow needed only too tag Morran and/or Ardinger to seal the championship. Instead, a throw went to the second-base bag, and Ardinger darted toward home. Carlow then threw home, but the toss was wild as Ardinger scored the tying run.
Point Park had its chances in the extra innings with runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth frames, and the tying run at first in the 10th, but it could not push across the winning or tying run.
Ultimately, Carlow got the runs it needed in the top of the 10th by going to small ball. Meghan Dulaney and Kaysie Young each pushed a bunt single through a crack in the infield to start things. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up, and a fielder's choice loaded the bases. A base on balls forced in a run, and it was followed by a sacrific fly for a 10-8 lead.
Point Park's 10th inning got a spark when Zoe Hughes was hit by a pitch with one out. She came home on Sorce's RBI single with two outs, cutting the deficit to 10-9. But Sorce was stranded at first as the potential tying run.
In the second game, Point Park had 14 hits and six errors. Carlow had 13 hits and five errors. Sorce and Ardinger were both 3 for 5 in the final game, and Sorce had two RBIs.
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