Jackets Drop Below .500 with Pair of Losses at Bluffton
Thursday, April 4, 2013 | by Martin Kluk
Defiance (9-10, 2-3 HCAC)
Bluffton (12-11, 4-1 HCAC)
4/4/2013 | Bluffton, OH | Attendance: 75
Win: Shell (7-4) 7.0139511
Loss: Rowland (3-3) 6.01211421
Neanen (DC) 515200
Nikitas (BU) 433301

BLUFFTON, Ohio – One day after earning a huge win over the No.5 team in Div. III, the Defiance softball team was battered by the rival Bluffton Beavers in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action on Thursday, April 4. The Beavers topped DC by scores of 11-9 and 12-4 on the afternoon and improved their record to 13-11 (5-1 HCAC), while the Jackets fell to 9-11 (2-4 HCAC).

Things started well for the Jackets in game one, as they opened up with four-straight singles by Macy Ferrall (St. Marys, OH / Memorial), Maggie Neanen (Eaton, OH / HS), Katie Miller (Archbold, OH / HS) and Katie Patchin (West Farmington, OH / Bristol Local). The last hit brought home Ferrall to give DC the early 1-0 advantage. However, Bluffton starting pitcher Chloe Shell made it through the rest of the inning unscathed.

Then in the bottom of the frame, the game of fielding miscues began. Three DC errors allowed the Beavers to score a trio of unearned runs off starting pitcher Alli Rowland (Westerville, OH / Westerville North). This put Bluffton back on top 3-1.

After a scoreless second inning, a crazy third frame followed. The Yellow Jackets poked four more singles and used two throwing errors on the Beavers pitcher to chalk up five runs for a 6-3 lead. Unfortunately, errors continued to haunt the Purple and Gold. Three more DC mishaps on the diamond attributed to the home team scoring five unearned runs and going back on top 8-6.

Bluffton would extend its advantage to 11-7 by the top of seventh and give the Yellow Jackets one last shot at coming back. Tori Plummer (Perrysburg, OH / HS) got the rally attempt started with a single and made her way over to third base. Ferrall than made it safely to first on an error that also scored Plummer. This brought Neanen to the plate and the junior second baseman roped an RBI double to left center that cut the deficit to 11-9. But arch-rival Bluffton got DC to ground out and end the game with a tight victory for the home team.

In the game, the two squads accounted for a total of 10 errors in the field that led to 11-of-20 runs scored being unearned.

At the plate, Neanen led Defiance with a career game, as she racked up five hits in a perfect performance. The Eaton, Ohio, native also chipped in with one score and a pair of runs batted in. Also, Patchin came up with a solid outing of three hits and two RBI, while Ferrall added a pair of base knocks and three runs scored.

For tilt number two of the rivalry series, the Purple and Gold started strong once again by getting on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Neanen continued her hot hitting streak with a single to get things rolling. Miller then stepped up to the dish and belted a two-run blast over the center field wall to give DC the 2-0 lead.

The advantage didn’t last long however, as the Beaver bats continued to rake with a run in the bottom of the first and then six more in the second off of the Jackets starting pitcher Lauren Dicke that put the home team up 7-2.

Defiance chipped away at the deficit by bringing in two runs off of a Bluffton wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. This trimmed the Bluffton advantage to only three scores.

However, that was all that the Yellow Jackets could muster in the contest and the Beavers put the game away with four more scores in the bottom of the fourth. They then tacked on a run in the fifth to earn the win in five frames by a score of 12-4.

Neanen (2-for-3, two runs) and Miller (2-for-3, two RBI) were the only bright spots for DC in the tilt.

The DC softball team will return home and take on the Anderson Ravens in its next HCAC matchup. The games are set for Saturday, April 6, with the first pitch being thrown at 1:00 p.m.