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Softball faces elimination in state playoffs: Huskies fall to Gannon in Quakertown during opening round of PSAC tournament

      After sweeping Clarion last weekend to secure a spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship tournament, the Bloomsburg University softball team lost to Gannon in the opening round of play by a final of 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon from Veterans Park in Quakertown, Pa.  

      With a regular season record of 19-20 and a conference record of 11-9, the Huskies entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed from the Central division just behind 19-16 Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Lock Haven captured the No. 1 seed in the Central with a 35-10 record and a perfect 20-0 conference record.

      Gannon entered the PSAC tournament as a No. 1 seed coming out of the West with a 26-12 overall record and a 15-5 mark in conference play. The postseason matchup with the Golden Knights was the first time Bloomsburg had seen them this year, as they had not faced Gannon in the regular season.

      Sophomore Madi Beining took the circle for the Golden Knights to open up the game. Beining was a reliable option for Gannon all season, as she finished her 2018 campaign with an 11-6 record, racking up 48 strikeouts in 107 innings.

      Beining kept the Huskies’ offense at bay early as she retired the whole side, allowing no hits in the top of the first.

      Bloomsburg’s redshirt junior Alyssa Davies did not have the same success on the mound as Beining did, as Gannon strung together some hits to take an early 1-0 lead. With Gannon’s Jackie Martinez on second, Davies gave up a double to left field off the bat of Sarah Ingerick that scored the run.
Beining would continue to shut out the Huskies until the top of the third when Bloomsburg’s bats began to wake up. A lead-off single from BU’s Taylor Winkleman got the offense going early in the third. After Maggie Hall flew out, senior Emily Mayhew connected with a pitch, sending a ball to center field and putting Winkleman in scoring position. A fly out from outfielder Kalynn Wheeland advanced Winkleman to third and Mayhew to second, and Winkleman would tie the game scoring on a throwing error to make the score 1-1.

      Both teams would stay deadlocked at one run each until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Golden Knights would go on a game-deciding scoring run. After going four innings and allowing just one run, Davies would give up two runs in the fifth before she was pulled and replaced by Alexa Erney.

      Erney would also give up another run in the fifth before forcing a groundout to end the inning as Gannon took a 4-1 lead over the Huskies.
Both teams would go scoreless until in the top of the seventh when, with the game on the line, Bloomsburg began to battle back.

       Junior Emily Getz got the offense going early as she led off with a single to right field before Erney came in to pinch-hit for Davies. Erney was able to connect with a pitch that appeared catchable but was dropped by Gannon’s shortstop to allow her to advance to first. With runners on first and second, Winkleman batted into a fielder’s choice that allowed Getz and Erney to advance to third and second.

      With one out, Hall singled to center field to bring in Getz, cutting the deficit with the Golden Knights to 4-2. Mayhew followed right behind Hall with a single of her own to center, moving Winkleman and Hall to third and second. A sacrifice fly from Wheeland at the next at-bat brought Winkleman home and Hall to third, putting the Huskies within one run of tying the game at 4-3.

      With two outs, Marissa Shelhammer stepped up to the plate with the tying run on second. Unfortunately for the Huskies, Shelhammer grounded out to third as Bloomsburg was unable to complete the comeback.

       Although the Huskies fell to Gannon, their season is not over yet as the PSAC tournament is a double-elimination contest, meaning the Huskies have a chance to compete in the consolation bracket.

     As of this writing, the Huskies are scheduled to play either West Chester or California University of Pennsylvania today at noon. If the Huskies win, they will advance. With the double-elimination format, a loss officially eliminates the Huskies from the state tournament.

       On the season, Wheeland leads the team offensively. In 118 at-bats, she is hitting .441 with 52 hits, nine doubles, 10 home runs, and 44 RBI. Mayhew follows, hitting .378 in 127 at-bats with 48 hits, six home runs, and 20 RBI. In the circle, Davies (8-7) has a 3.62 ERA in 90.1 innings, allowing 57 runs (50 earned) on 111 hits, 23 walks, and 71 strikeouts.


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Evin Hartsock, Author

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